There’s a joke from Parks and Recreation where Ron Swanson declares: “History began on July 4, 1776. Everything that happened before that was a mistake.” It’s a ridiculously silly comment and one that we are determined to disprove this 4th of July. If you’re celebrating by relaxing on the beach or in a hammock, be sure to bring along a historical fiction book set in Colonial America. These thrilling, eye-opening, and engaging novels that take place in the colonies that would someday become the United States of America.
Once upon a time, New York City was a small town, and in GOLDEN HILL, it comes to vivid life, following a mysterious new arrival carrying a staggering amount of money. Who is he, how did he come by such a sum, and will savvy New Yorkers be willing to do business with him? A sweeping and irresistible portrait of New York City that is both unfamiliar and recognizable.
A Wall Street Journal Top Ten Fiction Book of 2017 * A Washington Post Notable Fiction Book of the Year * A Seattle Times Favorite Book of 2017 * An NPR Best Book of 2017 * A Kirkus Reviews Best Historical Fiction Book of the Year * A Library Journal Top Historical Fiction Book of the Year * Winner of the Costa First Novel Award, the RSL Ondaatje Prize, and the Desmond Elliott Prize * Winner of the New York City Book Award
“Gorgeously crafted…Spufford's sprawling recreation here is pitch perfect.” —Maureen Corrigan, Fresh Air
“A fast-paced romp that keeps its eyes on the moral conundrums of America.” —The New Yorker
“Delirious storytelling backfilled with this much intelligence is a rare and happy sight.” —The New York Times
“Golden Hill possesses a fluency and immediacy, a feast of the senses…I love this book.” —The Washington Post
The spectacular first novel from acclaimed nonfiction author Francis Spufford follows the adventures of a mysterious young man in mid-eighteenth century Manhattan, thirty years before the American Revolution.
New York, a small town on the tip of Manhattan island, 1746. One rainy evening in November, a handsome young stranger fresh off the boat arrives at a countinghouse door on Golden Hill Street: this is Mr. Smith, amiable, charming, yet strangely determined to keep suspicion shimmering. For in his pocket, he has what seems to be an order for a thousand pounds, a huge sum, and he won’t explain why, or where he comes from, or what he is planning to do in the colonies that requires so much money. Should the New York merchants trust him? Should they risk their credit and refuse to pay? Should they befriend him, seduce him, arrest him; maybe even kill him?
Rich in language and historical perception, yet compulsively readable, Golden Hill is “a remarkable achievement—remarkable, especially, in its intelligent re-creation of the early years of what was to become America’s greatest city” (The Wall Street Journal). Spufford paints an irresistible picture of a New York provokingly different from its later metropolitan self, but already entirely a place where a young man with a fast tongue can invent himself afresh, fall in love—and find a world of trouble. Golden Hill is “immensely pleasurable…Read it for Spufford’s brilliant storytelling, pitch-perfect ear for dialogue, and gift for re-creating a vanished time” (New York Newsday).
This vivid debut novel follows young Tony as he arrives in the Jamestown colony as an indentured servant. Trapped working on a plantation, Tony dreams of a future as a medicine man, working with healing roots and herbs. But nothing is that simple in the early days of colonial America, and it’s especially complicated for a whip-smart, curious, and unforgettable young man.
Inspired by a historical figure, an exhilarating debut novel about the first native of the Indian subcontinent to arrive in Colonial America—for readers of Esi Edugyan and Yaa Gyasi.
Meet Tony: insatiably curious, deeply compassionate, with a unique perspective on every scene he encounters. Kidnapped and transported to the New World after traveling from the British East India Company’s outpost on the Coromandel Coast to the teeming streets of London, young Tony finds himself in Jamestown, Virginia, where he and his fellow indentured servants—boys like himself, men from Africa, a mad woman from London—must work the tobacco plantations. Orphaned and afraid, Tony initially longs for home. But as he adjusts to his new environment, finding companionship and even love, he can envision a life for himself after servitude. His dream: to become a medicine man, or a physician’s assistant, an expert on roots and herbs, a dispenser of healing compounds.
Like the play that captivates him—Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream—Tony’s life is rich with oddities and hijinks, humor and tragedy. Set during the early days of English colonization in Jamestown, before servitude calcified into racialized slavery, The East Indian gives authentic voice to an otherwise unknown historic figure and brings the world he would have encountered to vivid life. In this coming-of-age tale, narrated by a most memorable literary rascal, Charry conjures a young character sure to be beloved by readers for years to come.
Based on an astonishing true story, REVOLUTIONARY follows Deborah Sampson as she escapes indentured servitude in colonial Massachusetts for the Continental army by disguising herself as a man. This fascinating and page-turning novel explores everything from gender politics to the harsh reality of America’s War of Independence.
This fascinating novel follows a fierce-tempered young woman so determined to take up arms against the British that she enlists as a man. This is the story of remarkable courage, hope, and fear that shaped her odyssey.
From one of America’s most acclaimed humorists, a rollicking adventure following a young ne’er-do-well sent to the New World to track down two men responsible for the death of King Charles I. But the New World is far stranger and wilder than he could have imagined, and he has no idea that back home, England may be about to enter an unwinnable war.
The latest comic novel from Christopher Buckley, in which a hapless Englishman embarks on a dangerous mission to the New World in pursuit of two judges who helped murder a king.
London, 1664. Twenty years after the English revolution, the monarchy has been restored and Charles II sits on the throne. The men who conspired to kill his father are either dead or disappeared. Baltasar “Balty” St. Michel is twenty-four and has no skills and no employment. He gets by on handouts from his brother-in-law Samuel Pepys, an officer in the king’s navy.
Fed up with his needy relative, Pepys offers Balty a job in the New World. He is to track down two missing judges who were responsible for the execution of the last king, Charles I. When Balty’s ship arrives in Boston, he finds a strange country filled with fundamentalist Puritans, saintly Quakers, warring tribes of Indians, and rogues of every stripe. Helped by a man named Huncks, an agent of the Crown with a mysterious past, Balty travels colonial America in search of the missing judges. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, Samuel Pepys prepares for a war with the Dutch that fears England has no chance of winning.
Christopher Buckley’s enchanting new novel spins adventure, comedy, political intrigue, and romance against a historical backdrop with real-life characters like Charles II, John Winthrop, and Peter Stuyvesant. Buckley’s wit is as sharp as ever as he takes readers to seventeenth-century London and New England. We visit the bawdy court of Charles II, Boston under the strict Puritan rule, and New Amsterdam back when Manhattan was a half-wild outpost on the edge of an unmapped continent. The Judge Hunter is a smart and swiftly plotted novel that transports readers to a new world.
For those with a weakness for historical romance, Jude Deveraux weaves a sizzling tale about a man secretly leading a double life and the woman who has no idea that her nighttime visitor is also the British army’s enemy number one. As he fights for a fledgling country, will he also fight for the woman he loves?
Jude Deveraux continues her beloved Montgomery saga in America with this dramatic, passion-filled tale of rebellion and love—a breathtaking adventure to be savored all over again—or discovered for the first time!
In colonial New England, the British are hunting a fearless, masked patriot whose daring foils them at every turn. He's known simply as the Raider.
Jessica Taggert, a proud-tempered beauty, thrills to the Raider's scorching midnight embrace, but despises Alexander Montgomery, the drunken town buffoon.
In truth, the cleverly disguised Montgomery lives two lives...and only his triumph over the hated Redcoats will free him, at last, to know the full pleasure of Jessica's love.
From legendary literary icon Toni Morrison, a haunting and unforgettable exploration of the trauma of slavery and the devastating power of class, race, and gender in 17th-century America. Following the narratives of multiple characters on a rural New York farm, all struggling to find home, love, and safety in a strange new world, A MERCY is a modern and necessary classic that will take your breath away.
A sweeping tale of a Dutch engineer who travels from Great Britain to the American colonies in an effort to escape his past. But even across the ocean, his past is never far behind. An emotive and passionate novel in the vein of Philippa Gregory and Geraldine Brooks.
This “story of passion, possession, and a painful education in love” (Sarah Dunant, author of In the Name of the Family), spanning several decades in 17th-century Great Britain and America, evocatively explores the power of nature versus man and man versus woman by “a lovely writer [who] can take your breath away” (The New York Times Book Review).
I am an engineer and a measured man of the world. I prefer to weigh everything in the balance, to calculate and to plan. Yet my own heart is going faster than I can now count.
In 1649, Jan Brunt arrives in Great Britain from the Netherlands to work on draining and developing an expanse of marshy wetlands known as the Great Level. It is here in this wild country that he meets Eliza, a local woman whose love overturns his ordered vision. Determined to help her strive beyond her situation, Jan is heedless of her devotion to her home and way of life. When she uses the education Jan has given her to sabotage his work, Eliza is brutally punished, and Jan flees to the New World.
In the American colonies, profiteers are hungry for viable land to develop, and Jan’s skills as an engineer are highly prized. His prosperous new life is rattled, however, on a spring morning when a boy delivers a note that prompts him to remember the Great Level, and confront all that was lost there. Eliza has made it to the New World and is once again using the education Jan gave her to bend the landscape—this time to find her own place of freedom.
Perfect for fans of Hilary Mantel and Geraldine Brooks, Call Upon the Water is “a haunting book with characters who stay with the reader as their lives unfold like a sea mist” (Philippa Gregory, New York Times bestselling author).
Note: This book was published in the UK under the title The Great Level.
This gripping and atmospheric novel set amid the American Revolution illustrates the complications and pain felt by the women left home by the war. When young Addie Valencourt hears that her beloved has been captured by the British army, she decides to risk it all by venturing into enemy territory. She can only hope that she doesn’t cross paths with the intriguing Scottish Highlander she once met in this riveting beginning of an epic trilogy.
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