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Blast from the Past

A list of outstanding historical fiction.

Boyle, T.C.
The Road to Wellville
Boyle satirizes the origins of the American health food craze by taking readers to Battle Creek Michigan in the beginning of the 20th century. The action takes place at the Sanatorium, run by none other than John Harvey Kellogg, inventor of the corn flake.
 
Brooks, Geraldine
March
Inspired by Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, Geraldine Brooks imagines and develops the character of Captain March, who leaves behind his family and idealistically acts on his convictions to become a chaplain in the Union army. Although his letters home to his family do not reflect the brutalities he has witnessed, March’s idealistic dreams are shattered as he realizes that even his beloved North is capable of inflicting terrible injustices.
 
Browne, Rita Mae
High Hearts
Examining the social structure of the American south during the Civil War, High Hearts is the story of a young woman poses as a boy in order to follow her husband into battle with the Confederate army.
 
Chance, Megan
An Inconvenient Wife
Set in turn of the century New York, An Inconvenient Wife is the story of a woman who mysteriously becomes prone to nervousness and fits. Her husband sends her to doctor after doctor in search of treatment, but when the source of her affliction is discovered, she learns that the cure may ruin her comfortable society life.
 
Chevalier, Tracy
Girl with a Pearl Earring
At sixteen Griet is chosen by Johannes Vermeer to work as a maid in his household after he observes the way she arranges food according to color in her mother's kitchen. Griet's father, a tile maker, was hurt in an accident, and her family needs the income that her work will provide. Griet's emerging sense of independence becomes intricately interwoven into her interactions with Vermeer's crafty, controlling mother-in-law, who involves her in Vermeer's work by having her clean his studio. Beautifully written, Chevalier's novel evokes the ambiance of seventeenth century Delft, while creating a remarkable story about an enigmatic painter and painting.
 
Diamant, Anita
The Red Tent
Exploring the trials and rituals of womanhood in the age of the Bible, The Red Tent chronicles the life story of Dinah, the tragic Biblical figure that finds herself alone and pregnant after her lover is murdered by her brother.
 
Faber, Michaael
The Crimson Petal and the White
A young prostitute in nineteenth century London aspires to lead a better life, but when she finds herself involved with a wealthy perfume magnate, she must reconcile her newfound comfort and security with a life of stifling servitude.
 
Follet, Ken
Eye of the Needle
When a ruthless Nazi spy known as "The Needle" discovers the Allied plot to launch the D-Day invasion at Normandy rather than Calais, a retired British Intelligence Officer becomes the last line of defense against a crushing German victory.
 
Frazier, Charles
Cold Mountain
Frequently heralded as an American homage to The Odyssey, Cold Mountain follows a wounded Confederate deserter as he journeys over 300 miles from the battlefields of war, to his home in the mountains where the love of his life may still wait for him.
 
Gregory, Phillipa
The Other Boleyn Girl
Young sisters Mary and Anne Boleyn compete for the affections of King Henry VIII in this medieval tale of high-stakes sibling rivalry.
 
King, Laurie R.
The Game
Join super-sleuth Mary Russell, wife and partner to Sherlock Holmes himself, as she travels to 1920's India in search of a famed literary character whose life may well be in danger.
 
Mason, Daniel
The Piano Tuner
In 1886, piano tuner Edgar Drake must travel to Burma from his home in London to repair a rare piano used to keep the peace between hostile Burmese and the occupying British army.
 
Roth, Phillip
The Plot Against America
Philip Roth explores what might have happened if Charles A. Lindbergh had defeated Franlkin Roosevelt in the 1940 presidential election, and formed an alliance with Adolf Hitler.
 
Saylor, Steven
The Judgment of Caesar: a Novel of Ancient Rome
Set primarily in Alexandria, Egypt, The Judgment of Caesar chronicles Julius Caesar attempt's to consolidate his power as Emperor of Rome, while maneuvering between Cleopatra and Ptolemy, rivals for the throne of Egypt.
 
Shaara, Michael
The Killer Angels
An outstanding and surprisingly sentimental account of the battle of Gettysburg, as told through the eyes of some of the key figures from both sides of the battlefield, including General Robert E. Lee and Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain.
 
Williams, Sherley Anne
Dessa Rose
Centering on the relationship between a fugitive slave and the wife of her former owner, Dessa Rose examines the divisions and ties created by race, gender, and property.
 

Updated:08/17/2009