Your current read just not doing it for you? Let us suggest these seven spellbinding historical must-reads that will captivate even the most restless mind! With vivid settings and richly realized atmospheres, every title here has the mesmerizing ability to transport you to another place and time, from Revolutionary-era New York to 1940s London. And while each of these titles promises to give you a panoramic view of the past, each are told with the precision and intimacy of personal experience.
Bestselling author Anita Diamant’s THE BOSTON GIRL recounts the life of the vivacious and compassionate Addie Baum. Addie, born to a Jewish immigrant family in a Boston tenement building in 1900, has big dreams. Captivated by American celebrity culture and the broadening opportunities for women, Addie is determined to leave her parents and two sisters behind to go to college and find true love. A vivid and moving portrait of one woman’s coming of age, Addie’s story offers a glimpse into an entire generation of oft-forgotten women.
Here’s a party game for you: Can you name a “girl” book? Of course you got GONE GIRL and THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN, but there are lots of other girl books that you’ll want to add to your reading list. Whether you like thrillers, literary fiction, or history, these “girls” all have one thing in common—they are compulsively readable.
When their father loses his job, the four Turner sisters—Gert, Winnie, Kit, and Nell—find themselves unable to make rent. Their mother encourages the girls to work in vaudeville, a burgeoning opportunity for daring women in 1919. Soon the girls find themselves in the eccentric company of a diverse group of performers as the show travels by train from city to city. And, while the daring life offers each girl her fair share of excitement, the seedier side of the business threatens to tear them apart.
For fans of Orphan Train and Water for Elephants, a compelling historical novel from “one of the best authors of women’s fiction” (Library Journal). Set against the turbulent backdrop of American Vaudeville, four sisters embark on an unexpected adventure—and a last-ditch effort to save their family.
It’s 1919, and the Turners are barely scraping by. When their father loses his job, their irrepressible mother decides that vaudeville is their best chance to make the rent—and create a more exciting life for herself in the process.
Traveling by train from town to town, teenagers Gert, Winnie, and Kit, and recent widow Nell soon find a new kind of freedom in the company of performers who are as diverse as their acts. There is a seamier side to the business, however, and the young women face dangers and turns of fate they never could have anticipated. Heartwarming and surprising, The Tumbling Turner Sisters is ultimately a story of awakening—to unexpected possibilities, to love and heartbreak, and to the dawn of a new American era.
Seven-year-old Raami’s world is forever altered when her hometown Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital, is overwhelmed by civil war. In the midst of the Khmer Rouge’s unimaginable atrocities and disciplinary conformity, Raami finds hope in the legends and poems her father once lovingly shared with her. In this powerful coming-of-age story, one girl grows ever more determined to fight for her own survival and the survival of the stories that inspire her, despite the cruelty and oppression that surrounds and threatens to destroy her.
Told from the tender perspective of a young girl who comes of age amid the Cambodian killing fields, this searing novel is also an extraordinary celebration of strength, survival, and the transcendent power of imagination.
In this mesmerizing reimagining of Edgar Allan Poe’s infamous affair with poetess Frances Sargent Osgood, Frances and Edgar’s paths cross in the wake of his incredible success with “The Raven.” Stunned by his magnetic presence, Frances finds herself swept away by their passionate affair. But soon Edgar’s sickly wife, Virginia, insists on befriending Frances and the strangeness of the relationship that ensues can only be beat by one of Poe’s own twisted tales. Darkly captivating, MRS. POE is a macabre romance set in the shadowy corners of 1845 New York City.
Lynn Cullen had me from the first paragraph.
“When given bad news, most women of my station can afford to slump onto their divans, their china cups slipping from their fingers to the carpet, their hair falling prettily from its pins, their 14 starched petticoats compacting with a plush crunch. I am not one of them.”
A bestseller inspired by the real love letters of Chris Cleave’s grandparents, EVERYONE BRAVE IS FORGIVEN follows three London residents during the onset of war from 1939 to 1942. Mary North, a finishing school dropout, is eager to be a spy for the War Office but is assigned instead to work as a teacher. Tom Shaw, who wanted to ignore the war’s presence altogether, finds himself dedicated to helping Mary. And Alistair Heath, Tom’s roommate, enlists to fight on the frontlines and captures Mary’s heart in this dazzling story of passion, heroism, and tragedy.
From the beloved author of LITTLE BEE comes this masterful historical novel set in London during the blitz. Inspired by the real-life love letters between Chris Cleave’s grandparents, EVERYONE BRAVE IS FORGIVEN is a moving wartime love story. Against the great theater of world events, it is the small battles and the daily human triumphs that change us the most.
Read a review of EVERYONE BRAVE IS FORGIVEN here.
Behind the infamous Revolutionary War general and traitor Benedict Arnold, there was his young and beautiful socialite wife, Peggy Shippen, the mastermind of the whole affair. Peggy, who has long harbored loyalties to the British, seduces and marries the famous war veteran Arnold. Economically and physically crippled from his service in the war, Arnold is growing increasingly disillusioned with his hero George Washington, leaving Peggy and her ex-lover, John André, the perfect opportunity to guide him into a plot that will change all of their lives.
This historical novel follows the love triangle that nearly destroyed America’s fight for freedom. It focuses on Peggy Shippen Arnold, the cunning wife of Benedict Arnold and the mastermind behind America’s most infamous—and misunderstood—act of treason.
In this intimate portrait into one woman’s coming of age alongside one of America’s biggest leading ladies, Jackie Kennedy, Kathy McKeon reflects on her life as the personal assistant and nanny to the Kennedy family. Kathy, who arrived in America from Ireland in 1964 at age nineteen, was soon hired as a personal assistant to Jackie, who she came to know not only as her employer but as a big sister figure. In this memoir, Kathy shares her perspective on the inner life of Jackie, her children, and her extended family during one of the most tumultuous times in American history.
New York Times Bestseller
“McKeon's delightful memories have been tucked away for fifty years, and thankfully, she has brought them out to share the enchanting magic of Camelot with us all.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Celebrity watchers who covet an insider’s role will find McKeon’s frank yet benevolent memoir to be both a sobering reality check and an engaging foray into the ever-fascinating world of the Kennedy dynasty.” —Booklist
An endearing coming-of-age memoir by a young woman who spent thirteen years as Jackie Kennedy’s personal assistant and occasional nanny—and the lessons about life and love she learned from the glamorous first lady.
In 1964, Kathy McKeon was just nineteen and newly arrived from Ireland when she was hired as the personal assistant to former first lady Jackie Kennedy. The next thirteen years of her life were spent in Jackie’s service, during which Kathy not only played a crucial role in raising young Caroline and John Jr., but also had a front-row seat to some of the twentieth century’s most significant events.
Because Kathy was always at Jackie’s side, Rose Kennedy deemed her “Jackie’s girl.” And although Kathy called Jackie “Madam,” she considered her employer more like a big sister who, in many ways, mentored her on how to be a lady. Kathy was there during Jackie and Aristotle Onassis’s courtship and marriage and Robert Kennedy’s assassination, dutifully supporting Jackie and the children during these tumultuous times in history.
A rare and engrossing look at the private life of one of the most famous women of the twentieth century, Jackie’s Girl is also a moving personal story of a young woman finding her identity and footing in a new country, along with the help of the most elegant woman in America.
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