All posts tagged: historical fiction

Award-winning director, screenwriter, and producer Jan Eliasberg talks about her debut fiction, inspired by true events and strong women in science, HANNAH’S WAR, plus WWII movies, RBG, and more

By Leslie Lindsay A gripping story of one woman’s bravery and brilliance during WWII, exploring themes of identity, deception, and more. ~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ JAN ELIASBERG DIRECTOR, WRITER AND PRODUCER KNOWN FOR CREATING EVOCATIVE MATERIAL FEATURING PERFORMANCES FROM TODAY’S MOST COMPELLING ACTORS. With HANNAH’S WAR (Little Brown/Back Bay Books, March 3 2020), award-winning screenwriter and film director, Jan Eliasberg turns her gaze toward fiction, but staying true to form, she is continuing to highlight strong, independent female characters. I was blown away with the writing in HANNAH’S WAR and had to remind myself this is a debut novel for the author. The writing is fast-paced and beautifully descriptive. Inspired by real-life scientist, female physicist Lise Meitner, HANNAH’S WAR is Eliasberg’s answer in seeking truth and information about scientific discovery, women’s place in the workforce (and in war), discovery, morality, love, family, and more. There’s a bit of everything in HANNAH’S WAR–from mystery and science, to spies, and romance; a wartime story of loyalty and truth and the unforeseeable fallout from one women’s …

Now in paperback! Jennifer Chiaverini’s sweeping WWII historical fiction, RESISTANCE WOMEN, about a woman from Wisconsin, friendship, romance, and more

by Leslie Lindsay  A captivating historical novel that recreates the danger, sacrifices, and romance of the WWII era, inspired by a true story.  *COMING FEB 4th IN PAPERBACK* RESISTANCE WOMEN by New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Chiaverini RESISTANCE WOMEN (William Morrow, Paperback February 4, 2020) was an Amazon Best Book of June; a June Indie Next pick; and received praise from People, OprahMag.com, and a slew of other media outlets. American-born Mildred Fish Harnack is well known throughout modern Germany, where streets and schools have been named after her. A literary scholar and anti-Nazi resistance fighter, Mildred was the only American woman whose execution during World War II was personally ordered by Adolf Hitler.  Yet here in her native country, Mildred’s story is largely unknown.  Coming in Paperback Feb 4th After University of Wisconsin graduate student Mildred Fish marries brilliant German economist Arvid Harnack, she accompanies him to his German homeland, where a promising future awaits. In the thriving intellectual culture of 1930s Berlin, the newlyweds create a rich new life filled with love, friendships, and rewarding …

Master storyteller Diane Chamberlain is back talking about her new novel, BIG LIES IN A SMALL TOWN, featuring strong women, art restoration, WPA, mental illness, and more. Plus, kitchen renovations and dog stories.

By Leslie Lindsay Diane Chamberlain skillfully weaves dual timelines in BIG LIES IN A SMALL TOWN, which carefully straddles the line between women’s fiction meets mystery and historical fiction. I’ve been a longtime fan of Diane Chamberlain, so no surprise I jumped at the chance to read her her newest title, BIG LIES IN A SMALL TOWN (St. Martin’s Press, January 14 2019). She always takes big issues and spins them into an immersive story with all the feels. BIG LIES IN A SMALL TOWN introduces two very strong, competent, and complicated young women across a dual timeline, 2018 and 1940, in small town Edenton, North Carolina. In 2018, we meet Morgan Christopher, a 22-year old woman who has gone to prison for a crime she didn’t commit. Her dream of an art career has been put on hold–until a mysterious visitor (and her attorney) approach her with a ‘get out of jail free card,’ that she would be a fool to pass up. Her assignment: to restore an old post office mural in a sleepy southern town. …

Sara Donati–a self-proclaimed ‘long-winded’ storyteller talks about her lushly researched new novel, WHERE THE LIGHT ENTERS, how she was going to be a nurse, how writing is painful, but she’s obsessed, and so much more

By Leslie Lindsay  From the international bestselling author of THE GILDED HOUR, this epic historical fiction about two female doctors set in NYC 1880s will enthrall and capture your heart.  From 1998 to 2011, Sara Donati changed the landscape of historical fiction when she brought readers to the Wilderness series, introducing six historical novels following the Bonner family through upstate New York. Now, WHERE THE LIGHT ENTERS (Berkley, September 10 2019) is a glorious, sweeping sequel to her THE GILDED HOUR (2016) and I immensely enjoyed this historical fiction. In this tale, obstetrician Dr. Sophie Savard returns home to the achingly familiar rhythms of Manhattan in the spring of 1884 to rebuild her life after the death of her husband. With the help of her cousin, dear friend, and fellow physician, Dr. Anna Savard, she plans to continue her work with women who come from the darker side of life. But there have been a rash of murders–specifically–women who have been ripped open with curious wounds to the uterus. Clearly, the person responsible has some medical knowledge? But who? And …

Julie Kibler talks about her new historical fiction, HOME FOR ERRING AND OUTCAST GIRLS set in the early 1900s, how family–humans in general–will always disappoint, why second books are challenging, and a fabulous reading list

By Leslie Lindsay  Resonate story of love, loss, and friendship, inspired by historical events and connected by the Berachah Home for the Redemption and Protection of Erring Girls. In the early 1900s, on a dusky speck of land just outside Arlington, Texas, a home is built and curated by Reverend J.T. Upchurch and his wife, Maggie May for the protection and redemption of ‘erring girls,’ whether by life circumstance, prostitution, rape, birth, poverty, addiction, widowhood, or more. At the time, the home is progressive, and perhaps shunned by townspeople. Who would want to do what the Upchurches are doing? Who would take that on? That’s the premise of Julie Kibler’s second book, HOME FOR ERRING AND OUTCAST GIRLS (Crown, July 20 2019). The main difference with the Berachah Home is that it offers faith/religion, a safe haven for these women (and their infants/children), training/work, and they don’t force women to give their children up for adoption. Told by three vibrant narrators, spanning decades, we ‘meet’ present-day Cate, a university librarian working in the archive section, along with her mentee/work-study student, Laurel. …

Debut author Martine Fournier-Watson talks about how our lives are magical, how it comes from within, her hopes and worries; how to query agents and so much more in THE DREAM PEDDLER

By Leslie Lindsay  Gorgeously and lyrically told debut from Martine Fournier Watson about desires and hopes, grief and love set against the backdrop of a small town in the early 1900s. How could I *not* pick up a book entitled, THE DREAM PEDDLER (Penguin, April 2019)? I love small towns and dreams…so this was exactly my kind of read. The premise here is that a traveling salesman comes to town with the promise of being able whip up a potion for you to have a very delightful dream, money back guarantee if you don’t. So would you purchase a dream potion? Maybe you’d like the chance to reconnect with a lost loved one, have some superpower, a passionate fantasy, or some other personal triumph. Robert Owens comes into a small farming town pulling a buggy of potions behind him on the very day a young boy, Ben, goes missing. Parents and townspeople search for the boy and Robert quietly sets up shop. Before long, townsfolk begin seeking out Mr. Owens to request a dream for …

Laura Purcell talks about her second book, THE POISON THREAD, how it was begun while her first was on submission to an agent, a story only she could tell, her TBR list, phrenology, and so much more

By Leslie Lindsay  Melodramatic, vivid and well-researched Victorian gothic focused on two young women from very different stations in life, begging the question: is she mad, a victim, or a killer?  Last year, I was enamored with the haunting and atmospheric tale of THE SILENT COMPANIONS (Penguin original, 2018) about the so-called ‘dummy boards’ of the 16th century and knew I had to get my hands on Purcell’s second book, THE POISON THREAD [THE CORSET in the U.K.] releasing June 18, 2019. This time we are back in Victorian England with a spin on new terrifying tale, but this one has roots in real-life. Dorothea Truelove is wealthy and gorgeous and has found her charitable work with the New Oakgate Prison highly enthralling–she enjoys visiting with the women inmates and exploring her hypothesis thatphrenology–the shape of a person’s skull can cast a light on their personality (crimes). Ruth Butterham is a teenaged seamstress awaiting trial at Oakgate for her crimes–which she attributes to a supernatural power inherent on her stitches. But how can that be? The woman who have …

Sara Collins talks about her sublime debut, how history is a form of collective memory, black women in history, how writing is a form of exorcism, and so much more, in THE CONFESSIONS OF FRANNIE LANGTON

By Leslie Lindsay  The Mulatta Murderess–Dusky Fran–Ebony Fran—Frannie Langton is former slave on a Jamaican sugar plantation now locked in Old Bailey awaiting her sentencing–but did she do it?!  It’s circa 1820-1826 in Georgian London and Frannie Langdon has been indicted for the double-murder of her master and mistress, George and Marguerite (Meg) Benham. She couldn’t have possibly done it because she cared so deeply for them. Frannie is at once a fierce, powerful, and intelligent character–yet, she’s been accused of so many things–a whore, a seductress, a witch, a manipulator, a liar. THE CONFESSIONS OF FRANNIE LANGTON (Harper, June 18 2019) is such a multifaceted tale, I found it ambitious but also ambiguous, paying tribute to British Gothic literature with a philosophical slant. The writing is clear, concise, and sparkling on every page. But there’s a lot going on. We start with Frannie in Old Bailey, where she is awaiting trial and sentencing of the alleged murders. Frannie is whip-smart, articulate and tells her story retrospectively in first person as if writing in a diary. As readers, we are right …

Famous French-Canadian Quintuplets becomes roadside attraction in the Great Depression. Debut author Shelley Wood talks about THE QUINTLAND SISTERS

By Leslie Lindsay  Historical debut about the famous French-Canadian quintuplets born during the Great Depression, THE QUINTLAND SISTERS (William Morrow, March 5 2019) is about love, heartache, and resilience. I am stunned and amazed that I never knew so much as a peep about the first surviving identical quintuplets. Journalist and debut author, Shelley Wood, tackles the vast amount of research in bringing these tiny miracles to life. Born in 1934 to French farmers in a hardscrabble area of Northern Ontario, readers will experience firsthand the harrowing birth, the precarious first days, and then the scandals-–how the babies are removed from the parents’ custody, put on display (for profit), and more. The writing is largely first person, told from the POV of young Emma Trimpany, who is 17 in 1934, and a reluctant midwife to the babies. She has no training but is there the evening Mrs. Dionne goes into to labor. This beginning was absolutely gripping and had the ring of the BBC show, “Call the Midwife.”  Emma stays with the Dionne family and helps raise these …

Sweeping historical fiction from Sara Ackerman; how setting is its own character, growing up in Hawaii, & her emotional response to Pearl Harbor

By Leslie Lindsay Set against the backdrop of WWII and the attack at Pearl Harbor, THE LIEUTENANT’S NURSE is richly detailed, emotional, and compellingly transportive historical fiction.  I fell in love with Sara Ackerman’s debut, THE ISLAND OF SWEET PIES AND SOLDIERS (2018), and was excited to learn she was working on more historical fiction set in Hawaii against the backdrop of homeland WWII –which I think gives this time period and somewhat more refreshing perspective. Still, THE LIEUTENANT’S NURSE can be grisly at times. It’s November 1941 and everyone is caught off guard when the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor. Eva Cassidy is en route on the Lurline, traveling as a nurse to Hawaii with the Army Corps of Nurses. She’s leaving behind a sister and some deeper secrets back in Michigan…but what? Combing mystery and intrigue with romance, (war) scandal, medicine, and even an adorable dog, THE LIEUTENANT’S NURSE is compelling historical fiction told with much love, tenderness, and courage. I loved the cinematic aspects if Ackerman’s writing–it’s richly detailed and evocative of the tropics (she’s born and raised in Hawaii and the …