Historical Fiction

The Prophets, by Robert Jones Jr.

A cotton plantation in the deep South does not seem a likely place for a tender romance. But amidst all of the horror and hardship, Isaiah has Samuel and Samuel has Isaiah. Separated from the rest of the slaves by their roles working in the barn with the animals, the two men have created a place of refuge, intimacy and hope for themselves. Their relationship is acknowledged but mostly ignored by the rest of the plantation. Until that is, a fellow slave seeks to gain the Master’s favour by preaching the gospel.
Suddenly, Samuel and Isaiah’s love, which was once so pure, is seen as sinful and a danger to the harmony of the wider plantation. As the enslaved begin to turn on one another, the two men’s future on the plantation becomes more and more uncertain. Read More »

The Simple Wild, by K. A. Tucker

Calla Fletcher was born in Alaska, but she has not been back since leaving with her mother at the age of two. Unable to handle the isolation and the extreme conditions of the Alaskan wilderness, Calla’s mother also left behind her husband, and Calla’s father, Wren; and she never looked back. Now 26 and estranged from her father, Calla only knows a comfortable Toronto lifestyle. Until an unexpected phone call and the news that Wren is seriously ill brings the past right back into her life. With time running out, Calla journeys to Alaska to rekindle a relationship with her father.
Adjusting to the living conditions in rural Alaska is hard enough, not to mention the roaming wildlife, sky-high prices and the less-than-ideal plumbing situation. But Calla’s return to Alaska is made even more arduous by Jonah, the proud, stubborn and unkempt pilot who helps keep her father’s charter business afloat. Calla is determined to prove to Jonah that she is not the spoiled city girl he thinks she is, and as their fraught relationship turns to friendship, she begins to wonder if there could be something more there. But she is only in Alaska for a short time, and Jonah will never leave. Would it be wise to venture down the same path her parents tried and failed, many years ago? Read More »

Five Little Indians, by Michelle Good

Five children, Kenny, Lucy, Clara, Howie and Maisie, taken from their families at a very young age, to a remote church-run residential school. After years of horrible treatment, abuse and malnutrition, they are simply released into the world at age 18. Without any skills, qualifications or life experience, the young people find their way to the seedy world of Downtown Eastside Vancouver. Their paths cross over the decades as they all strive to survive and find a place within this world that doesn’t want them.

Fuelled by rage, Clara finds her way into the dangerous world of the American Indian Movement. Maisie internalises all of her past pain but keeps putting herself in dangerous situations. Famous among the children for his daring escapes from the residential school, Kenny can’t stop running. Moving from job to job, trying to outrun his memories and find a life. Lucy finds peace in motherhood, but struggles with a compulsive disorder, fuelled by the years of cleaning at the school. After beating one of his tormentors almost to death, Howie serves some time in prison, before being released and trying to re-enter society once again. Read More »

The Great Believers, by Rebecca Makkai

In 1985, Yale Tishman, the development director for a Chicago art gallery, is about the pull off the coup of his career. The collection of extraordinary 1920s paintings will not only secure his career but make a name for the gallery. But as his professional life is soaring, the world around him is crumbling. At the height of the AIDS epidemic, his friends are dying one by one. After his friend Nico’s funeral, the virus circles ever closer and soon the only person Yale has left is Nico’s younger sister Fiona.
Thirty years later, Fiona is in Paris trying to reconnect with her estranged daughter Claire. Staying with a friend from Chicago, a famous photographer who captured the AIDS crisis in all of its raw details, Fiona can finally start to explore how much the epidemic affected her life. Read More »

Celestial Bodies, by Jokha Alharthi

Three sisters, Mayya, Asma and Khawla live in the small Omani village of al-Awafi. Life is harsh in this tight-knit community, ruled by powerful slave-owning Shayks and centuries of tradition and superstitions. A young girl’s aspiration and purpose in life are only to get married and have children.
Mayya marries Abdallah after a heartbreak. Asma marries from a sense of duty and the desire to experience motherhood. And Khawla daringly refuses all marriage proposals, determined to wait for her beloved who has emigrated to Canada. The three young women and their families stand witnesses to the coming-of-age of Oman to its complex present. Read More »

Songbirds, by Christy Lefteri

Petra, newly widowed and struggling, hires Nisha to care for her daughter. Nisha left her own daughter behind in Sri Lanka to find work in Cyprus and has not seen her for many years. Yiannis rents the upstairs apartment in Petra’s house, has a secret relationship with Nisha and another secret: he is a poacher, hunting the tiny songbirds which migrate past the island each year.
When Nisha suddenly vanishes, nobody cares, she is only a domestic worker after all. The only people desperate to find her are Petra and Yiannis, although for different reasons. As they search for Nisha, both realise how little they actually knew her and what they uncover will change them all. Read More »

Castile for Isabella, by Jean Plaidy

History remembers her as a legendary Queen of Spain, but what about Isabella’s life beforehand? Fifteenth-century Spain was a country at war with itself and rife with intrigue and manipulations. Isabella became the pawn of her half-mad mother and, alongside her young brother, a virtual prisoner in the debauched court of their half-brother, King Henry IV.
From a very young age, Isabella knew that one day she might be Queen of Spain and that she should always act accordingly. But her young life was marred by grief and fear, and surrounded by the ambitious and power-hungry, who could she trust? Through all of this, she remained strong and determined to marry Ferdinand, the young and handsome prince of neighbouring Aragon. Read More »

The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah

When Ernt Albright, a former prisoner of war, returns from Vietnam he is a changed man. When he loses yet another job, he makes a drastic decision: he will move his family to Alaska. They will be free to live as they want there, in America’s last true frontier, nobody will bother them and they will all be happy once more.
For thirteen-year-old Leni, the move to Alaska is just the most recent in a long string of moves and changes. Caught in the middle of her parents’ tumultuous relationship, Leni remains hopeful that maybe Alaska will be the answer to their problems. At first, the beauty of the Alaskan summer and the support of the local community make up for the Allbrights’ inexperience and lack of preparation. But as winter sets in, with its impassable snowdrifts and 18 hours of darkness, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates. Soon Leni and her mother Cora discover that they are on their own and that the Alaskan winter is not the most dangerous thing they are facing. Read More »

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell her life story and spill the tea on those infamous seven marriages and countless scandals. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant to write the story, no one is more surprised than Monique herself. Monique’s personal and professional lives are going nowhere at the moment, so she jumps at this opportunity to make a name for herself as a writer.
Invited into Evelyn’s sumptuous apartment, Monique is quickly absorbed and fascinated by the actress’ incredible story. From poverty in Brooklyn to a life of fame and fortune in Los Angeles, Evelyn Hugo seems to have lived a charmed life. But her story is also one of ruthless ambition, fear, determination and forbidden love. As her story comes to a close, Evelyn’s reasons for choosing Monique become clear, as do her motives behind finally sharing her story. Read More »

The Sealwoman’s Gift, by Sally Magnusson

In 1627, Barbary pirates raided the shores of Iceland and captured over 400 of its people, including 250 from a small island. Among that number were the island’s pastor, his pregnant wife and their three children. Although the raid is well-known, the fate of the captives, the women and children in particular, is not. Ásta, wife and niece to Lutheran Icelandic pastors, finds herself ripped from her quiet life on a small island, sees her friends and neighbours killed around her and is forced onto a stinking ship. To add to her hardships, Ásta gives birth on the slave ship, on the way to her uncertain future. Upon reaching Algiers, Ásta is bought by a wealthy man and set to work in his house. Ásta deals with the loss of her freedom and her children by escaping into the stories of her homeland. Read More »