My Favorite HISTORICAL FICTION of 2019

I tend to gravitate towards suspense and mystery followed by memoirs, but as I looked over some of my favorite books, I realized many of them were historical fiction! I love reading a book that is set in the early 1900s New York, about Irish immigrants, strong women, World War II, Civil War era.

I think 2020 I will make a bigger effort to seek out more historical fiction. Favorite authors such as Fiona Davis and Susie Orman Schnall have novels coming out soon and I cannot wait.

 

Here is just a sample of terrific historical books I read in 2019, I HIGHLY recommend each of them!

 

 

Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris was a gripping tear-jerker of a story that blew me away! Cilka is a strong, smart woman and what she endured was incredible.

Cilka is just sixteen years old when she is taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp in 1942, where the commandant immediately notices how beautiful she is. Forcibly separated from the other women prisoners, Cilka learns quickly that power, even unwillingly taken, equals survival.

When the war is over and the camp is liberated, freedom is not granted to Cilka: She is charged as a collaborator for sleeping with the enemy and sent to a Siberian prison camp. But did she really have a choice? And where do the lines of morality lie for Cilka, who was send to Auschwitz when she was still a child?

In Siberia, Cilka faces challenges both new and horribly familiar, including the unwanted attention of the guards. But when she meets a kind female doctor, Cilka is taken under her wing and begins to tend to the ill in the camp, struggling to care for them under brutal conditions.

Confronting death and terror daily, Cilka discovers a strength she never knew she had. And when she begins to tentatively form bonds and relationships in this harsh, new reality, Cilka finds that despite everything that has happened to her, there is room in her heart for love.

From child to woman, from woman to healer, Cilka’s journey illuminates the resilience of the human spirit―and the will we have to survive.

Get it here!

 

 

Woman 99 by Greer Macallister

 

I couldn’t put this one down and I didn’t want it to end. Amazing writing paired with a plot that kept the tension tight. I will eagerly read anything that Greer Macallister writes!

When Charlotte Smith’s wealthy parents commit her beloved sister Phoebe to the infamous Goldengrove Asylum, Charlotte knows there’s more to the story than madness. She risks everything and follows her sister inside, surrendering her real identity as a privileged young lady of San Francisco society to become a nameless inmate, Woman 99.

The longer she stays, the more she realizes that many of the women of Goldengrove aren’t insane, merely inconvenient — and that her search for the truth threatens to dig up secrets that some very powerful people would do anything to keep.

Rich in detail, deception, and revelation, Woman 99 honors the fierce women of the past, born into a world that denied them power but underestimated their strength.

Get it here.

 

 

 

Beantown Girls by Jane Healey

 

I learned a lot about the Red Cross Clubmobile girls during World War II from this captivating novel. This one is a light read that I greatly enjoyed and when I finished reading, I had to learn more about the Clubmobile. Fascinating! Read this book then go check out the photos.

1944: Fiona Denning has her entire future planned out. She’ll work in city hall, marry her fiancé when he returns from the war, and settle down in the Boston suburbs. But when her fiancé is reported missing after being shot down in Germany, Fiona’s long-held plans are shattered.

Determined to learn her fiancé’s fate, Fiona leaves Boston to volunteer overseas as a Red Cross Clubmobile girl, recruiting her two best friends to come along. There’s the outspoken Viviana, who is more than happy to quit her secretarial job for a taste of adventure. Then there’s Dottie, a shy music teacher whose melodious talents are sure to bring heart and hope to the boys on the front lines.

Chosen for their inner strength and outer charm, the trio isn’t prepared for the daunting challenges of war. But through it all come new friendships and romances, unforeseen dangers, and unexpected dreams. As the three friends begin to understand the real reasons they all came to the front, their courage and camaraderie will see them through some of the best and worst times of their lives.

FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited! 

 

 

After I read The Huntress by Kate Quinn, I found a podcast (Criminal Broads) which talked about the real-life “night witches.” I love learning new things about history and the amount of detail Kate packs in her books will surely teach you something new.

Bold and fearless, Nina Markova always dreamed of flying. When the Nazis attack the Soviet Union, she risks everything to join the legendary Night Witches, an all-female night bomber regiment wreaking havoc on the invading Germans. When she is stranded behind enemy lines, Nina becomes the prey of a lethal Nazi murderess known as the Huntress, and only Nina’s bravery and cunning will keep her alive.

Transformed by the horrors he witnessed from Omaha Beach to the Nuremberg Trials, British war correspondent Ian Graham has become a Nazi hunter. Yet one target eludes him: a vicious predator known as the Huntress. To find her, the fierce, disciplined investigator joins forces with the only witness to escape the Huntress alive: the brazen, cocksure Nina. But a shared secret could derail their mission unless Ian and Nina force themselves to confront it.

Growing up in post-war Boston, seventeen-year-old Jordan McBride is determined to become a photographer. When her long-widowed father unexpectedly comes homes with a new fiancée, Jordan is thrilled. But there is something disconcerting about the soft-spoken German widow. Certain that danger is lurking, Jordan begins to delve into her new stepmother’s past—only to discover that there are mysteries buried deep in her family . . . secrets that may threaten all Jordan holds dear.

In this immersive, heart-wrenching story, Kate Quinn illuminates the consequences of war on individual lives, and the price we pay to seek justice and truth.

Get the book here.

 

The Chelsea Girls by Fiona Davis

1950’s New York? Say no more. I’m in. One of my absolute favorites is New York City in the 1950s! When you sit down with a book by Fiona Davis, you know you are in for a treat!

From the dramatic redbrick facade to the sweeping staircase dripping with art, the Chelsea Hotel has long been New York City’s creative oasis for the many artists, writers, musicians, actors, filmmakers, and poets who have called it home—a scene playwright Hazel Riley and actress Maxine Mead are determined to use to their advantage. Yet they soon discover that the greatest obstacle to putting up a show on Broadway has nothing to do with their art, and everything to do with politics. A Red Scare is sweeping across America, and Senator Joseph McCarthy has started a witch hunt for communists, with those in the entertainment industry in the crosshairs. As the pressure builds to name names, it is more than Hazel and Maxine’s Broadway dreams that may suffer as they grapple with the terrible consequences, but also their livelihood, their friendship, and even their freedom.

Spanning from the 1940s to the 1960s, The Chelsea Girls deftly pulls back the curtain on the desperate political pressures of McCarthyism, the complicated bonds of female friendship, and the siren call of the uninhibited Chelsea Hotel.

Get it here.

 

 

Park Avene Summer by Renee Rosen

Another favorite author of mine is Renee Rosen and  Park Avenue Summer was a wonderful book that made me wish that I was in NYC in the 60s. This is such a fun, entertaining book!

New York City is filled with opportunities for single girls like Alice Weiss, who leaves her small Midwestern town to chase her big-city dreams and unexpectedly lands a job working for the first female editor in chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, Helen Gurley Brown.

For Alice, who wants to be a photographer, it seems like the perfect foot in the door, but nothing could have prepared her for the world she enters. Editors and writers resign on the spot, refusing to work for the woman who wrote the scandalous bestseller Sex and the Single Girl, and confidential memos, article ideas, and cover designs keep finding their way into the wrong hands. When someone tries to pull Alice into a scheme to sabotage her boss, she is more determined than ever to help Helen succeed.

While pressure mounts at the magazine, Alice struggles not to lose sight of her own dreams as she’s swept up into a glamorous world of five-star dinners, lavish parties, and men who are certainly no good. Because if Helen Gurley Brown has taught her anything, it’s that a woman can demand to have it all.

Get it here.

 

More awesome books:  

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert, Summer of ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson and a non-fiction must-read, The Radium Girls by Kate Moore.  I read The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner last December and loved it so much. Every book by Susan is very good.

 

 

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