Historical Fiction

The Tree Bride

By Bharati Mukherjee

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In piecing together her ancestor's transformation from a docile Bengali Brahmin girl-child into an impassioned organizer of resistance against the British Raj, the contemporary narrator discovers and lays claim to unacknowledged elements in her "American" identity.
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My Antonia

By Willa Cather

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Against Nebraska's panoramic landscape, "My Antonia" recreates the life of an immigrant girl who becomes, in the memories of the narrator, the ideal of strong and resourceful womanhood and a figure of salvation.
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Homeland

By John Jakes

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A German teenager arrives in Chicago in 1892 expecting the immigrant ideal of streets paved with gold. It isn't, of course, but what he does find, freedom, is worth more. Describes in lively detail America at the turn of the twentieth century - including the labor movement, women's rights movement, and the start of the motion picture industry.

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The Tea Rose

By Jennifer Donnelly

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An old-fashioned story set in the 1880s, in which a poor girl from the wrong side of the Thames endures the destruction of her family and a love lost, to end up making a fortune in the tea trade in New York and returning to London to settle old scores.
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Empire

By Gore Vidal

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At the turn of the 20th century, Caroline Sanford, a beautiful, ambitious newspaper owner, deals with the rich and powerful, including William Randolph Hearst, Presidents McKinley and Roosevelt, the Astors, Vanderbilts, and Whitneys.

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A Woman of Substance

By Barbara Taylor Bradford

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A rags to riches story spanning sixty years, featuring a determined and indomitable woman who parlays a small shop into an international business empire.
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The Girl in the Glass

By Jeffrey Ford

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"The Great Depression has bound a nation in despair -- and only a privileged few have risen above it: the exorbitantly wealthy ... and the hucksters who feed upon them. Diego, a seventeen-year-old illegal Mexican immigrant, owes his salvation to master grifter Thomas Schell. Together with Schell's gruff and powerful partner, they sail comfortably through hard times, scamming New York's grieving rich with elaborate, ingeniously staged séances -- until an impossible occurrence changes everything.

"While 'communing with spirits,' Schell sees an image of a young girl in a pane of glass, silently entreating the con man for help. Though well aware that his otherworldly 'powers' are a sham, Schell inexplicably offers his services to help find the lost child -- drawing Diego along with him into a tangled maze of deadly secrets and terrible experimentation."

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By a Slow River

By Philippe Claudel

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"As the First World War rages on, the daily life of a small town near the front is hardly disturbed by the report of artillery fire and the parade of wounded in its streets. But within the space of a year, this illusion of ordinary days is shattered by the deaths of three innocents—-a charming schoolmistress from “the north,” who captured every male heart only to take her own life without apparent reason; an angelic eight-year-old girl, who is strangled, her body abandoned by the canal; and the cherished wife of the local policeman, who dies in labor while her husband is hunting the little girl’s murderer.

"Twenty years on, the policeman still struggles to make sense of these mysteries that both torment and sustain him. In the pages of his notebooks he continually—-desperately, obsessively—-summons up the past and its ghosts. But excavating the town’s secret history will bring neither peace to him nor justice to the wicked. And as his solitary detective work continues on these long-closed cases, we come to see that his efforts can lead only to an unimaginable widening of the tragedy. In the policeman’s simple, plangent voice--full of unflinching scrutiny and the compassion of weary experience--Philippe Claudel gives us a tale of galvanizing suspense and an indelible meditation on morality."

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A God Strolling in the Cool of the Evening

By Mario de Carvalho

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"Winner of the 1996 Pegasus Prize for Literature, this fiction presents a fascinating tale of political rivalries, war, religion, philosophy, and social unrest in the twilight of the Roman Empire. It is a timeless tale of a good man struggling to maintain sense and order in his public and private lives and to uphold justice as he understands it."
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Winter's Tale

By Mark Helprin

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"New York City is subsumed in arctic winds, dark nights, and white lights, its life unfolds, for it is an extraordinary hive of the imagination, the greatest house ever built, and nothing exists that can check its vitality. One night in winter, Peter Lake--orphan and master-mechanic, attempts to rob a fortress-like mansion on the Upper West Side. Though he thinks the house is empty, the daughter of the house is home. Thus begins the love between Peter Lake, a middle-aged Irish burglar, and Beverly Penn, a young girl, who is dying.

"Peter Lake, a simple, uneducated man, because of a love that, at first he does not fully understand, is driven to stop time and bring back the dead. His great struggle, in a city ever alight with its own energy and besieged by unprecedented winters, is one of the most beautiful and extraordinary stories of American literature."

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