1950s

C+
The Last Dance of the Debutante

Once upon a time, it was de rigueur for society misses to be presented to the queen, an event which marked their entrée into society and the beginning of their Season, during which they would hopefully find a marriageable prospect. By 1957, the concept is seen as fairly antiquated, and is ready ...

A-
Honeytrap

Aster Glenn Gray’s Honeytrap is a compelling and unique story that charts the development  of the  unlikely relationship between an American FBI agent and a lieutenant in the Red Army (and possible KGB agent) over a period of around thirty-five years.  It’s extremely well-written, and the aut ...

A
Mexican Gothic

COVID-19 has made us more aware than ever of the importance of the spaces we call our own. That makes this the perfect moment to read the uncanny, absorbing Mexican Gothic, a tale about the kind of location in which you most definitely wouldn’t want to shelter in place. Wealthy socialite Noemí ...

A-
The Last Bathing Beauty

The charming writing of Amy Sue Nathan and the even more charming heroine she gives us deflect all of The Last Bathing Beauty’s sins. Though the plot has some predictable points, the utterly disarming story is a page turner and a great summer read. In the summer of 1951, eighteen year old Betty ...

A
The Chelsea Girls

New York’s infamous Chelsea Hotel has been the scene of a lot of scandals, triumphs, joys and heartbreak over the years.  Hazel Ripley and Maxine Mead are just two of the women who’ve passed through its iconic red brick façade, and they have problems bigger than the ghosts haunting the hotel ...

B+
The Vanishing Box

The popular teaming of cool minded inspector General Edgar Stephens and his best friend, the old-school magician Max “Mephisto” Miller continues with this fourth volume, The Vanishing Box, set in 1953 during the Christmas season. Max and his daughter (who is also his assistant) Ruby are curre ...

B+
If You Leave Me

Set during the Korean War and the years beyond it, Crystal Hana Kim’s If You Leave Me explores both the split between duty and romantic desire and the way choices can echo through the generations for years to come. Lee Haemi is a sixteen year old refugee from South Korea living in a camp by the ...

A
The Summer Wives

I've been intrigued for years by things I've heard about Beatriz Williams' work, but it wasn't until I picked up her latest novel, The Summer Wives, that I realized what a master storyteller the author really is. Reading this book has been one of the high points of my summer, and I can't wait for ot ...

B-
Clock Dance

In Anne Tyler’s Clock Dance, readers follow Willa Drake from the ages of eleven to sixty-one and watch her make difficult decisions at every turn, choosing between broadening herself or shrinking herself to please others. As a child gamboling around the streets of 1950s Lark City, Pennsylvania, ...

B-
Pride & Passion

I love early twentieth century history and am delighted whenever I find a book set during that era. Pride and Passion, part of the Decades: A Journey of African-American Romance series, takes place during the 1950s and looks at a crucial period during the Civil Rights Movement. All Decades novel are ...