There’s a lot to love about February: Valentine’s Day, Lunar New Year, fewer days. But if you live in a place where it’s cold, snowy, or rainy, February can feel a lot longer than four weeks, with long days spent indoors. What’s the remedy for getting through this short month that can overstay its welcome? Reading a nice, long book that can transport you to another world and make the days just fly past. So here are eight books over five hundred pages long that will keep you entertained and keep the winter blues far, far away.
Anne Boleyn is famous for losing her head—literally. The second wife of King Henry VIII of England, Anne’s fate is well known, but what of her sister, Mary? THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL tells her story, as she enters the court and woos the dashing Henry, who is of course still very much married to Catherine of Aragon. But things don’t go according to plan, and soon Mary finds herself trapped in a messy web of court intrigue, love, and death. Philippa Gregory is a giant in the world of historical fiction, and it’s not hard to see why; the intricate detail and fascinating characterizations in her books are enough to draw anyone into the ever-changing world of Tudor England.
Lucinda Riley’s Seven Sisters series sees seven adopted siblings tasked by their late father with discovering their backgrounds. The fifth installment in the series, THE MOON SISTER follows Taygete, aka Tiggy, the animal lover who’s reluctant to begin her search. This all changes when her work on a Scottish estate introduces her to her distant cousin Chilly, a Romani man from Spain. From there, her journey takes her to Granada, where she learns all about flamenco and the history of the Romani people as an oppressed minority. A book that meshes a beautiful personal drama with a rich history and culture, THE MOON SISTER will make you feel like you’re in Granada with Tiggy, and maybe inspire some curiosity about your own origins.
Experience the grandeur of the remote Scottish Highlands and Madrid in this USA TODAY bestselling “beautifully written...magical adventure” (Woman’s World) following two women connected across time and distance as they search for the truth of their place in the world.
Tiggy D’Aplièse spends her days reveling in the raw beauty of the Scottish Highlands, where she works at a deer sanctuary. But when the sanctuary is forced to close, she decides to take a job as a wildlife consultant on the vast estate of the elusive and troubled Charlie Kinnaird. She has no idea that the move will not only irrevocably alter her future, but also bring her face-to-face with her past.
At the estate, she meets Chilly, an elderly Romani man who fled from Spain seventy years earlier. He tells her that not only does she possess a sixth sense passed down from her ancestors, but it was foretold long ago that he would be the one to send her back home.
Back in 1912, in the poor Romani community outside the city walls of Granada, Lucía Amaya-Albaycin is born. At the tender age of ten, Lucía is whisked away by her ambitious father to dance in the flamenco bars of Barcelona. And while Lucía perfects her skills—eventually becoming the greatest flamenco dancer of her generation—tensions in Spain boil over into civil war, forcing Lucía and her troupe of dancers to flee for their lives. As they travel in search of a safe haven, Lucía’s long-held dream of going to New York may be in grasp. But to pursue it, she must choose between her love for her career and the man she adores.
“A breathtaking adventure brimming with cruelty, tragedy, passion, [and] obsession” (Lancashire Evening Post, UK), The Moon Sister follows these two women on their journey to discover their true destinies—but at the risk of potentially losing the men they had hoped to build futures with.
Head to the backwater planet of Persephone Station, where a colorful cast of mercenaries and ne’er-do-wells awaits. Angel de la Reza, who usually answers to Rosie, is one such gun for hire. There are plenty of secrets on Persephone, and Angel, who runs the local bar, will soon find herself very much caught in the middle. This space Western will send you on a high-flying adventure with a group of LGBTQ+, nonbinary, and BIPOC characters, an added bonus for those looking for some diversity in their universe. If you’re looking for a good, long book that will take you far out of Earth’s orbit, PERSEPHONE STATION is the novel you’re looking for.
Hugo award–nominated author Stina Leicht has created a take on space opera for fans of The Mandalorian and Cowboy Bebop in this high-stakes adventure.
Persephone Station, a seemingly backwater planet that has largely been ignored by the United Republic of Worlds becomes the focus for the Serrao-Orlov Corporation as the planet has a few secrets the corporation tenaciously wants to exploit.
Rosie—owner of Monk’s Bar, in the corporate town of West Brynner, caters to wannabe criminals and rich Earther tourists, of a sort, at the front bar. However, exactly two types of people drank at Monk’s back bar: members of a rather exclusive criminal class and those who sought to employ them.
Angel—ex-marine and head of a semi-organized band of beneficent criminals, wayward assassins, and washed up mercenaries with a penchant for doing the honorable thing is asked to perform a job for Rosie. What this job reveals will effect Persephone and put Angel and her squad up against an army. Despite the odds, they are rearing for a fight with the Serrao-Orlov Corporation. For Angel, she knows that once honor is lost, there is no regaining it. That doesn’t mean she can’t damned well try.
Jake Epping is qualified to do a lot of things: teach English, connect with students, swing dance. But can he stop the assassination of President John F. Kennedy? In a tale of time travel and deadly consequences, 11/22/63 follows Epping on a quest to stop one of the most infamous assassinations in history by using a mysterious portal in the back of a diner. But he finds that time doesn’t like to be changed, so his is a constant uphill battle against the course of history. Stephen King crafts a winding journey of light and darkness, packed with surprises, as Epping fights to save a man and, hopefully, the world in the process.
One of the Ten Best Books of The New York Times Book Review
Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize
Now a miniseries from Hulu starring James Franco
ON NOVEMBER 22, 1963, THREE SHOTS RANG OUT IN DALLAS, PRESIDENT KENNEDY DIED, AND THE WORLD CHANGED. WHAT IF YOU COULD CHANGE IT BACK?
In this brilliantly conceived tour de force, Stephen King—who has absorbed the social, political, and popular culture of his generation more imaginatively and thoroughly than any other writer—takes readers on an incredible journey into the past and the possibility of altering it.
It begins with Jake Epping, a thirty-five-year-old English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching GED classes. He asks his students to write about an event that changed their lives, and one essay blows him away—a gruesome, harrowing story about the night more than fifty years ago when Harry Dunning’s father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a sledgehammer. Reading the essay is a watershed moment for Jake, his life—like Harry’s, like America’s in 1963—turning on a dime. Not much later his friend Al, who owns the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to the past, a particular day in 1958. And Al enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession—to prevent the Kennedy assassination.
So begins Jake’s new life as George Amberson, in a different world of Ike and JFK and Elvis, of big American cars and sock hops and cigarette smoke everywhere. From the dank little city of Derry, Maine (where there’s Dunning business to conduct), to the warmhearted small town of Jodie, Texas, where Jake falls dangerously in love, every turn is leading eventually, of course, to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and to Dallas, where the past becomes heart-stoppingly suspenseful, and where history might not be history anymore. Time-travel has never been so believable. Or so terrifying.
You think online dating is hard? Try being in a relationship with someone who involuntarily jumps through time. Henry and Clare would have the perfect marriage, if Henry’s rare time-related genetic disorder didn’t keep him from living his life sequentially. The two meet up at random times during their lives, but since they don’t know when Henry will be pulled away, they can only do their best to find each other. Audrey Niffenegger’s book is a masterpiece, highlighting how love can transcend the boundaries of time and place. A must-read if you’re looking for a story to inspire, or for a good cathartic cry.
“I love you, always. Time is nothing.”
A dazzling novel in the most untraditional fashion, this is the remarkable story of Henry DeTamble, a dashing, adventuresome librarian who travels involuntarily through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist whose life takes a natural sequential course. Henry and Clare’s passionate love affair endures across a sea of time and captures the two lovers in an impossibly romantic trap, and it is Audrey Niffenegger’s cinematic storytelling that makes the novel’s unconventional chronology so vibrantly triumphant.
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell are two of the most powerful magicians of their age. Too bad they loathe each other. The bookish Mr. Norrell is out to hoard all magical knowledge for himself, while Strange tries to use his magical talents to help king and country. But the two must work together after a fairy torments a young woman and reveals larger plans to control magic. JONATHAN STRANGE & MR. NORRELL is a grand, sweeping epic that blends fantasy and historical fiction to create a magical nineteenth-century England with gorgeous prose and deeply nuanced characters.
Ken Follett is known for massive tomes of historical fiction that ensnare you so completely that you almost entirely forget you don’t live in the Middle Ages or, in this case, the early twentieth century. FALL OF GIANTS begins the saga of five interrelated families, starting in World War I and revolving around the inhabitants of the Welsh town of Aberowen. The personal and global dramas experienced by the expansive cast of characters makes the book feel as though it’s part historical account and part epic fiction. As the characters struggle against nature, governments, and even society itself, this book will make you forget, even if for just a little while, about the rest of the world.
Every family has its stories and secrets, but perhaps none are as bizarre and entertaining as that of Calliope “Cal” Stephanides. Cal is an intersex person, raised as a girl and then living as a man and using he/him pronouns, who recounts the story of his grandparents and parents. Incestuous marriages, burlesque shows, riots, secrets revealed at funerals—MIDDLESEX has it all. But perhaps most important, the novel deals with the issues of identity, culture, history, and family. This lengthy novel gives readers a lot to chew on, which makes it the perfect read to get you through those frosty February nights.
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Photo credit: iStock / StanislavSalamanov