Into the Past
It’s not her fault they call her Bloody Jack. Well, not exactly, though I suppose in her way she earned it. ‘Twasn’t always like that, though. She came from a nice if poor family in London, Mary did, before the pestilence came and took their lives, and horrible Muck came with his wheelbarrow for their bodies to give to the doctors to cut up. Set out on the curb, crying as a small girl will, old Muck tried to cheer Mary by assuring he’d be back for her before too long.
Cat Winters’ In the Shadow of Blackbirds is a supernatural romance set in the real and not-too-distant past when people were dying by the millions from the flu epidemic. Everybody hopes to connect with their dead loved ones, and con artist “psychics” are lined up, ready to serve.
Sixteen-year-old Mary Shelley Black didn’t believe in such nonsense. When a “spirit photographer” uses her image with that of ghost who seems to be kneeling at her feet, she is outraged—until the ghost of her dead sweetheart comes to visit her.
As K.M. Grant’s Blood Red Horse opens, young Will has just been dunked in a horse trough by his blustering brother Gavin—though he gave him a bloody nose in return. But Gavin’s teasing doesn’t keep Will from wanting a Great Horse—one that he can ride into battle when he’s a knight like his brother.
In Rebecca Tingle’s The Edge on the Sword, Flæd tries to ignore the man who pursued her. In truth, he had been behind her for all of the day, and at night he would sit outside her door. Golden-haired Flæd was accustomed to running free in the great woods with her little brother Edward, only returning to her father's stronghold to take her meals with her family and her lessons from Bishop Asser.
Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant chronicles the adventures of a swashbuckling heroine and her new recruit. Our leading lady has traveled the world, mastered multiple fighting styles, and is deadlier than a dozen trained swordsmen combined. How she ended up chained in a Sultan's dungeon is anyone's guess, but you can be sure that she does not stay there very long.
Sisters Maria and Giovanna are the daughters of one of Venice’s leading makers of artisan glass. They have trained to do certain tasks to help keep the business prosperous after their beloved father’s death. But a provision in his will demands that Maria—who wants nothing more than to help create beautiful things—must be married off to a nobleman while her gorgeous, sweet sister will have no such opportunity.
Karen Cushman’s The Midwife’s Apprentice draws readers into the past with the story of an unwanted girl making her own way in the perilous Middle Ages.
March: Book One is the beautifully constructed graphic novel biography of Civil Rights activist and Congressman John Lewis. Relying only on black and white imagery, it is quiet in its form and presentation. Lewis' struggle of growing up in the Deep South, fighting to go to college, and helping to organize lunch counter sit-ins speaks volumes and needs no distraction.
Lucia is furious with her father. As paterfamilias, head of his Roman household, gladiator-trainer Lucius has chosen her rich husband for her. Lucia fumes to herself that aged, grumpy Vitulus would do very well as a grandfather--but not as her bridegroom! Their loathsome, formal dinner together is cut short by the sounds of a cracking whip and the rumblings of the Earth. Somewhere nearby a slave is being punished, Mount Vesuvius is gathering strength to explode. Vicky Alvear Shecter’s romantic novel, Curses and Smoke, is set in Pompeii's dangerous last days when anything, even forbidden love, might be possible.
Jack is plunked down on a rocky Maine beach straight from the wheat fields of Kansas. His father, a Navy captain, thinks that the nautical prep school is a good match to square away his son who seems to be adrift after his mother’s unexpected death. But Jack finds out in Clare Vanderpool’s Navigating Early that it’s going to take a lot more than a tightly-made bed or learning how to row to get him back on course.