All posts tagged: historical fiction

Chris Bohjalian talks with me about HOUR OF THE WITCH, how far–and yet so short–we’ve come in leveling the playing field of men & women, secondary characters, rescue dogs, more

By Leslie Lindsay A young Puritan woman caught in the crosshairs of religion, justice, and sexism in Boston during the 17th century. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ WeekEND Reading: Historical Fiction Spotlight An Indie Next Pick for May 2021 A Read It Forward Most Anticipated Book of 2021 A Lit Hub Most Anticipated Book of 2021 A CrimeReads Most Anticipated Book of 2021 I’ve been a longtime fan of Chris Bohjalian, ever since I read and loved MIDWIVES, so when HOUR OF THE WITCH (Doubleday, May 4 2021) came to my attention, I knew I couldn’t pass it by. A young Puritan woman caught in the crosshairs of religion, justice, and sexism in Boston during the 17th century. Mary Deerfield left England years ago with her parents, Priscilla and James, embarking on a new world, one in which religious and mercantile freedom were promised. Mary soon marries Thomas, a second marriage for him, her first. They have a stable home, his work at a sawmill provides most comforts of the day, including a servant girl. All is well–except for …

Laird Hunt talks about how ZORRIE was inspired by his grandmother, her ties to Indiana, plus memory, being a literary citizen, the transformative, multifaceted aspects of the color green, more

By Leslie Lindsay  Gorgeously and sparsely told tale of one woman’s life from her hardscrabble days on an Indiana farm and everything in-between. ~Writers Interiewing Writers|Always with a Book~ March Spotlight: Historical Fiction O Magazine’s Most Anticipated Historical Fiction Novels of 2021   This stunning and luminously told story is so affecting, and transformative, too. Set against the harsh, quintessential Midwestern landscape, ZORRIE (Bloomsbury, Feb 9, 2021) is at once a historical fiction of a one woman’s life, but also a study in Americana, grit, and the transformative events of the 20th century. Zorrie is an orphaned child who goes to live with her aunt on a farm in Indiana. She’s twenty-one when she decides to set off on her own, and it just so happens to be in the midst of the Great Depression. She ends up in Illinois working odd jobs and then at the radium plant, sleeping in abandoned barns and under the stars. At the end of the day, the girls from the factory glowed from the radioactive material. Here she meets several young women who become friends–those …

Is the past really prologue? I think so, and so does Kristin Hannah–join us as we talk about THE FOUR WINDS, prejudices in our everyday life, women in history, how she was influenced by memoirs of the dust bowl

By Leslie Lindsay  A powerful and poignant examination of a very bleak and gritty time, THE FOUR WINDS is about the Great Depression, the American Dust Bowl, perseverance, and more. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Weekend Reading MARCH SERIES: HISTORICAL FICTION One of “2021’s Most Highly Anticipated New Books”—Newsweek Read with Jenna/Today Show Selection for FebruaryOne of “27 of 2021’s Most Anticipated Historical Fiction Novels That Will Sweep You Away”—Oprah MagazineOne of “The Most Anticipated Books of Winter 2021″—ParadeOne of the “Books Everyone Will Talk About in 2021”—PopSugarOne of “The 57 Most Anticipated Books Of 2021″—ElleOne of “32 Great Books To Start Off Your New Year”—Refinery29One of “25 of the Best Books Arriving in 2021”—BookBubOne of “The 21 Best Books of 2021 for Working Moms”—Working MotherOne of “The Most Anticipated Winter Books That Will Keep You Cozy All Season Long”—Stylecaster One of the “Most Anticipated Books of 2021”—Frolic It’s 1921 when we meet Elsa Wolcott, an unremarkable twenty-five-year-old woman. She’s tall and gangly, a bookworm spinster living at home with her parents. Her family does well …

Why I’m on the fence about the critically-acclaimed INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LARUE, plus a writing prompt

By Leslie Lindsay A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget. ~ALWAYS WITH A BOOK | Leslie Lindsay~ Spotlight: Historical Fiction I  might be an outlier on this one. It seems everyone either loves ADDIE LARUE, or they could do without. I’m in the ‘without’ category, and I don’t say that to be lightly. Really, I wanted to love this story, it just didn’t strike like I hoped.  Quick Take: France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets. Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world. New York City, 2014: But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name. Quick Thoughts: I was all-in with …

Sylvia True talks about her astonishing novel-based-on-a-true story, WHERE MADNESS LIES, combining elements of historical fiction, medicine, mental illness, motherhood, secrets, more

By Leslie Lindsay Such a beautifully tragic and heart-wrenching tale of hope and redemption, a lesser-known slice of WWII, combining intergenerational trauma, mental illness, secrets, more. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Spotlight: Women’s Historical Fiction I was absolutely struck by the themes and ideas—and writing—in WHERE MADNESS LIES (Top Hat Books, February 1 2021) by Sylvia True, which is a gorgeous and devastating voyage into the madness of madness, tracing the Nazis’ view of the morally disgusting idea of racial hygiene, but also eradicating ‘any life not worth living,’ such as those deemed feebleminded, mentally ill, sexually degenerate, more. Alternating between the 1980s Massachusetts, and 1930s Germany, with a brief stint in Switzerland, WHERE MADNESS LIES is so beautifully rendered. I was in awe at the breadth of this book–in terms of historical accuracy, emotional intelligence, compelling voice/characters, how it’s based on a true story, and so much more. This story is hauntingly compelling, devastating, and horrifying, yet there’s a glimmer of hope dangling from a pearl. WHERE MADNESS LIES is achingly honest and masterful, a page-turner with fully developed characters and timelines, each …

Ladee Hubbard on her new novel, THE RIB KING, how it is a historical novel haunted by the present, racial violence, cultural stereotypes; plus, developing strong characters with compelling backstory

By Leslie Lindsay  Bold, original frame story of a class, race, revenge, set in 1914 at a white home with black servants, THE RIB KING is truly a unique read not quite like any other. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Spotlight: Women Writers of Color GLOWING PRAISE for THE RIB KING: Book Riot – Our Most Anticipated Releases of 2021| Real Simple – The Best New Books to Read in 2021|Chicago Review of Books – 12 Must-Read Books of January | Book Riot – January 2021 Horoscopes and Book Recommendations |Glamour–7 of the Best New Books in January | Vulture – 46 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2021 |Lit Hub – Lit Hub’s Most Anticipated Books of 2021|GMA.com – 16 January reads for the new year |Harper’s Bazaar – 24 Books You Need to Read in 2021|The Millions – Most Anticipated: The Great First-Half 2021 Book Preview | Popsugar – From Bravery to Outlawed – These Are the Best Books of January 2021|Ms. Magazine – January 2021 Reads for the Rest of …

WHAT IF YOU WERE DRIVEN BY REVENGE but also trauma? ANDROMEDA ROMANO-lax talks about this, the early days of psychoanalysis, & so much more in a genre-bending new book, ANNIE AND THE WOLVES

By Leslie Lindsay A modern-day historian finds herself enmeshed with the life of Annie Oakley, in a dual-timeline novel exploring the concept of revenge and changing one’s past/path. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ “2020 Best & Most Anticipated Historical Fiction” Oprah Magazine “Most Anticipated Books of 2021” by Buzzfeed  Several years ago, I read and loved Andromeda Romano-Lax’s BEHAVE, about Behaviorist John Watson and his wife, Rosalie Raynor Watson, their inhumane ‘experiments’ on children and parenting, done in what they believed was what was ‘best’ for the children (withholding affection, etc.). When I discovered her forthcoming ANNIE AND THE WOLVES (Soho Press, Feb 2, 2021), I knew I had to get my hands on it. Ruth McClintock is a historian in her early thirties and completely obsessed with Annie Oakley. For nearly a decade, she has been studying the show-stopping sharpshooter, convinced a tragic past is what elevated her status as one of the best shots in the land. But Ruth sort of loses it all–her book deal, her finance, her dissertation because her own mental health gets in …

Serpentine Literary Historical suspense inspired by the classic ‘rebecca,’ THE TWO MRS. CARLYLES is about the bond between women, but also manipulation

By Leslie Lindsay A twisty literary thriller set in the wake of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. ~Wednesdays with Writers|Always with a Book~ Historical Fiction Spotlight San Francisco, 1906. Violet is one of three people grateful for the destruction of the big earthquake. It leaves her and her two best friends unexpectedly wealthy — if the secret that binds them together stays buried beneath the rubble. Fearing discovery, the women strike out on their own, and orphaned, wallflower Violet reinvents herself. When a whirlwind romance with the city’s most eligible widower, Harry Carlyle, lands her in a luxurious mansion as the second Mrs. Carlyle, it seems like her dreams of happiness and love have come true. But all is not right in the Carlyle home, and Violet soon finds herself trapped by the lingering specter of the first Mrs. Carlyle, and by the inescapable secrets of her own violent history. “If you loved Rindell’s THE OTHER TYPIST, if you adored Jane Eyre, if you were riveted by Rebecca, you will be enthralled by THE TWO …

THE PULL OF THE STARS A historical novel that is strikingly similar to our current pandemic, set in 1918 Dublin, by the bestselling author of ROOM

By Leslie Lindsay  Pregnant women quarantined in a Dublin hospital during the Influenza Pandemic of 1918. ~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Historical Fiction Spotlight Barnes & Noble Book Club choice for August Reader’s Digest Book Club Pick Australian Women’s Weekly Book Club Pick  Oprah Magazine Best Book of Summer 2020 Chapters Indigo Best Book of 2020 AudioFile Earphones award for the unabridged edition I’m always alert to the work of the the lovely and talented Emma Donoghue, especially since I fell in love with her disturbingly good, ROOM. The Pull of the Stars (New York: Little Brown; July 2020), seemed to be vying for my attention, whispering, “Read me, read me,” when I came across this historical fiction set in 1918 Dublin. For three days, we are midwives in a maternity ward at the height of the Great Flu. There’s work, and risk and a claustrophobic sense of the world browning at the edges; and yes, it has so many parallels with today’s pandemic. In an Ireland doubly ravaged by war and disease, Nurse …

A mesmerizing tale that reads almost like a lucid dream, Ursula Hegi’s THE PATRON SAINT OF PREGNANT GIRLS is about the cacophony of grief, a freak accident, wanderlust, and so much more; plus an excerpt from her NER essay on craft

By Leslie Lindsay  Three mothers, one circus, a one-hundred-year wave, a drowned town, coupled with grief, parenting, and the ways women hold each other up through challenging times. ~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ It’s the summer of 1878 and the Ludwig Zirkus has come to the island of Nordstrand in Germany. Big-bellied girls from the nearby St. Margaret’s Home for Pregnant Girls are thrilled to see the parade and the show as are the Sisters who care for them, so begins THE PATRON SAINT OF PREGNANT GIRLS by Ursula Hegi (forthcoming from Flatiron Books, August 18 2020). Lotte and her husband, Kalle, a toymaker are near the ocean when a one-hundred-year-wave roars from the Nordsee and claims the lives of three of their young children. Lotte is holding Wilhelm, the baby, and he is spared. Yet, Lotte and Kalle, childhood sweethearts are bereft with grief. On the beach that day are three mothers: Lotte, whose children are gone except Wilhelm, Tilli, an 11-year old girl who just gave birth at the home and had her baby adopted, …