Historical Fiction Recs

Do you need more ideas to fill your summer reading log? Amy, Head of Circulation, has some thoughts for you – and they involve historical novels. Check out her list below.

The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue

This novel tells the story of nurse Julia Power who works in an understaffed hospital in Dublin’s center where expectant mothers who have come down with the “terrible new flu” are quarantined together in 1918.  Two outsiders come into Julia’s world, Kathleen Lynn and Bridie Sweeney.  Over three days in this tiny ward, they change in unexpected ways as they lose patients to the flu pandemic and bring new life into this uncertain world.  But in it all, they do their work with compassion and tenderness.  Finding light in the darkness, Donoghue tells a story of hope and survival against all odds.

Atomic Love by Jennie Field

In Jennie Field’s book Atomic Love, a physicist, Rosalind Porter, has always defied expectations.  During the war, she worked on the Manhattan Project and had a passionate love affair with colleague Thomas Weaver.  After the war, she turns to a more traditional life of a woman of the 1950s but she misses her life in the lab.  However, when Weaver comes back into the picture, so does the FBI.  Special agent Charlie Szydlo wants Rosalind to spy on Weaver, who is believed to be selling nuclear secrets to Russia.  Charlie is haunted by his past as a POW during the war just as Rosalind is haunted by hers.  As her affections deepen for each man, so does the danger she becomes a part of the deepening.  This page-turner will have you guessing…which will she choose?

The Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett

In The Evening and the Morning, the prequel to The Pillars of the Earth, Ken Follett tells an epic story of 3 people who find their lives intertwined.  Set in England at the dawn of the Middle Ages, a young boatbuilder, a Norman noblewoman, and a monk each come into conflict with a shrewd and merciless bishop who would do anything to increase his wealth and power.  This novel ends where The Pillars of the Earth begins, bringing an epic journey through an intensely rich past, and adding yet another chapter to the Kingsbridge series.

The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel

Inspired by a true story of World War II, The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel recounts a story of a young woman with a talent for forgery help Jewish children flee the Nazis to Switzerland.   Eva is a semi-retired librarian in Florida, who comes across a magazine with a picture of a book cover she hasn’t seen in over 6 decades.  Now housed in Berlin’s Zentral- und Landesbibliothek library, it appears to contain some sort of code, but researchers don’t know where it came from—or what the code means. Only Eva holds the answer, but it means revisiting a past to reunite those lost during the war.

Find More Historical Titles on the Shelves at PWPL

If you’re a fan of these titles, there are many more available in the stacks. You can also find some of these titles for your eReader or audiobook on Libby.

Historical Fiction Recs From Amy
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