It’s impossible to do justice to The Water Dancer (2019) in a book review. The story is powerful and haunting, the characters are expertly and thoughtfully portrayed throughout, and the time period and settings are drawn such that I felt that I was viewing the horrors of slavery on a Virginia plantation and experiencing the terrifying dangers of the flight to freedom.
Lone Women (2023) by Victor LaValle is a historical slow burn horror set in 1915 Montana. After losing her parents, Adelaide Henry travels alone from California to settle a claim of land in Montana supplied with very little - namely the heavy burden she has carried all her life.
If you enjoy dual narratives, flawed characters, and twisty plots, try The Lost Apothecary (2021) by Sarah Penner. Alternating between the late 18th century and contemporary London, the story is told from the perspectives of three women. In the 1790s, a secret apothecary shop caters to women seeking poisons to rid themselves of men who have wronged them.
A League of Nobleman (2023) is a Chinese historical mystery TV series. It follows Zhang Ping, a poor orphan from the countryside who is making his living as a noodle seller in the capital while studying for the exam to become a government official. His dream is to someday join the Ministry of Justice and solve crimes. In the meantime, he has earned the nickname “Noodle Detective” through his efforts to solve minor everyday mysteries for his neighbors.
Fans of "queen of the beach read" author Elin Hilderbrand or historical fiction lovers in general will want to read Daughters of Nantucket (2023) by Julie Gerstenblatt, set during the Great Fire of 1846. Much like Chicago during the time of its Great Fire, Na
I loved this bittersweet epic love story that covers history spanning from WWI through to the present day. The Book of Everlasting Things (2022) follows the story of Samir, a Hindu perfumist, and Firdaus, a Muslim calligrapher, who fall in love in Lahore just before it is torn apart by the partition of India and Pakistan.
If you’re looking for a sprawling novel that spans much of the twentieth-century and enters the twenty-first, features an array of distinctive points of view and complex relationships, ventures to far-flung places, and explores big ideas, then I invite you to consider reading Maggie Shipstead’s most recent release, Great Circle (2021).
There is something about Margaret Atwood's writing that I just find eminently readable, and this selection of short stories is no exception. Old Babes in the Wood (2023) is a mixed collection of stories. Many of them follow the lives of an elderly couple – Nell and Tig, with themes of aging, death, and loneliness.