‘The Yankee Widow’ by Linda Lael Miller is a fabulous historical fiction novel filled with ordinary people who do extraordinary things

yankee widow

“The Yankee Widow” by Linda Lael Miller takes place during the Civil War and takes readers right through the Battle of Gettysburg in all its horror and death. Caroline Hammond, the main character, becomes a widow at the start of the story when her husband, young Jacob, dies after becoming grievously injured at the Battle of Chancellorsville. She travels to Washington City, as it was known then, and finds him at the point of death.

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‘When We Left Cuba’ by Chanel Cleeton is a beautiful historical fiction espionage romance

when we left cuba

“When We Left Cuba” by Chanel Cleeton is the gripping story of Beatriz Perez, daughter to a sugar baron in Cuba whose family fled when Castro’s army took over the island paradise. Living a grand but reduced lifestyle in Palm Beach, Beatriz’ mother is constantly scheming for her daughters to marry well and restore the family name and fortune.

But Beatriz has other ideas. Her twin brother was killed during the Revolution, and she is determined to get revenge. She hates Castro passionately and abhors the idea that she will follow her mother’s wishes — marry, have children, and never live life fully. She wants to take a different path. Continue reading

‘Someday We Will Fly’ by Rachel DeWoskin is a complicated YA historical fiction about Jewish refugees in Shanghai

someday fly

“Someday We Will Fly” by Rachel DeWoskin is a fascinating account of Jewish refugees during WWII who escaped to Shanghai, one of the few places they could go without a visa. Not only is the setting unusual for a Holocaust story, main character Lillia and her family defy Jewish stereotypes — her parents are circus performers.

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‘The Widows’ by Jess Montgomery is a gripping historical fiction set in turbulent coal mining Appalachia

widows

In “The Widows,” author Jess Montgomery visits a time and place that is not often memorialized in fiction. In a corner of rural Ohio, where coal mines control the lives of the residents and the immigrants who come to America to work in the mines, the lives of the miners and those who live in town intersect through the relationship of two women, both widows, who fight for justice.

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‘Caught in Time’ by Julie McElwain is the third novel in the Kendra Donovan mystery series

caught in time

“Caught in Time” by Julie McElwain is a thrilling action mystery featuring Kendra Donovan, an FBI agent who was thrown into the past, to 1815 Regency England. It’s a far cry from the 21st century and her life as a profiler for the FBI, but in each of the three Kendra Donovan mystery novels, Donovan manages to get embroiled in a murder, and she’s the best chance at getting the real culprit found.

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‘Two Roads’ by Joseph Bruchac Is a Middle Grade Historical Fiction About Identity and Prejudice

2 roads

With “Two Roads,” Joseph Bruchac again demonstrates his brilliance with a novel that inspires as much as it teaches readers about a neglected part of US history, the treatment of veterans after the first World War. The compelling story also shares very much more — including ideas about morality among the hoboes of that time, prejudicial treatment of Native Americans and prejudicial treatment by Native Americans, government wrongdoing, and the importance of family and friends.

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‘Summer Wives’ by Beatriz Williams Is a Tale of Wealth, Betrayal, and Sacrifice

 

summer

Beatriz Williams loves writing about those who live and play on the East Coast, and with “The Summer Wives,” she continues to show the rest of us how the 1% live and how those who serve the 1% survive. “The Summer Wives” takes place on a very secluded island where the extremely wealthy spend their summers, and the descendants of Portuguese fishermen and their families serve them.

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Romance Novels “Duke” It Out This Year

There are always romance novels with imaginative titles, but this year, the word “Duke” graces the covers of many. From an illegitimate duke to a modern Scot sword-maker duke, the choices are astounding. Here are nine of them for your reading enjoyment.

illegitimate duke“The Illegitimate Duke” by Sophie Barnes is the newest in her “Diamonds in the Rough” series. It features a do-gooder, Lady Juliette Matthews, who wants to use her newly acquired fortune to help those less fortunate, and Florian Lowell, a physician, who is suddenly made heir to a duke. There is the mutual attraction, to be sure, but also a compelling reason why they can’t be together…or can they?

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‘The Not-So-Boring Letters of Private Nobody’ by Matthew Landis

private nobody

“The Not-So-Boring Letters of Private Nobody” by Matthew Landis is a lovely story about a seventh-grade-boy learning what is important about life, war, and love. The book might ignite a passion for history in the heart of its readers. It’s obvious that the author has that passion, and he communicates it in each and every page. It’s also obvious that Landis really “gets” middle grade students, especially those who don’t always fit in.

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‘Write to Me: Letters from Japanese American Children to the Librarian They Left Behind’

write to me

A beautifully written, touching picture book about a shameful period of American history is “Write to Me: Letters from Japanese American Children to the Librarian They Left Behind” by Cynthia Grady and illustrated by Amiko Hirao.

The book includes pictures from that time of children wearing identification tags and families with their belongings (they were only allowed to bring what they could carry). At the heart of the story is Clara Breed, a children’s librarian in San Diego County where many Japanese American families lived. She formed relationships with her patrons, and when they told her that they were going to be imprisoned because they were of Japanese descent, she gave them postcards so they could keep in contact with her.

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