Historical fiction

A
The Magnolia Sword: A Ballad of Mulan

During the unstable Period of the Northern and Southern Dynasties in China (484 AD by the Western calendar), Hua Mulan’s much-awaited duel with her family’s rival is called off because both Mulan and her opponent, Yuan Kai, have been called up to a different fight. The emperor anticipates an inv ...

A
Mrs. Everything

Jennifer Weiner is known for writing remarkably emotive books about women, their struggles, and their triumphs. In Mrs. Everything, she does this again, but in a much bigger, bolder way than before. Jo and Bethie Kaufman are sisters, growing up in 1950s Detroit and leading lives that are pretty a ...

B+
Enchantée

Take magic and romance, mix in the tumult of Paris on the eve of revolution, and you’ll get the historical fiction delight that is Enchantée. Gita Trelease’s début young adult novel is an enchanting romp through the streets of Paris in 1789 in which magic literally winds through the city and t ...

A-
The Island of Sea Women

Lisa See – novelist of well-researched and sometimes amazing, sometimes infuriating novels like Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, China Girls, Dreams of Joy and Shanghai Girls – returns with The Island of Sea Women, a beautiful and heartbreaking tale about two lifelong friends who become part of t ...

B+
Across the Blue

Carrie Turansky is a new-to-me author, and I was pleasantly surprised by her clear storytelling and smooth writing. In Across the Blue, she brings us a story of the ingenious and daring men and women who plumbed the mysteries of flight in the early 1900s.  Being from North Carolina - where the stor ...

A
Once Upon a River

Diane Setterfield follows up The Thirteenth Tale with Once Upon a River, a story of mysticism and religion colliding during the time when Darwinian theory was first taking hold. On the bank of the Thames at Redcot, there once sat a magical inn called the Swan at Radcot, which becomes known for be ...

A
The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy

“I have just taken an overly large bite of iced bun when Callum slices his finger off” – Opening line, The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy. Mackenzi Lee introduced her readers to the wily and amusing Montague siblings in her bestselling The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue.  I ...

B
The Sapphire Widow

Growing up, the novels of M.M. Kaye and Mary Stewart were heavy favorites of mine. Their books were all about the British Colonial period and took place in exotic locales, extolling the mannerisms and lifestyle of an era long gone by.  In The Sapphire Widow, Dinah Jeffries recaptures the elegant pr ...

C-
The Concubine's Child

I was drawn to The Concubine’s Child by the unique premise and even more unique location. Set primarily in 1930s Malaya (known today as Malaysia) it is the story of a group of women and how they handle the limited choices life gives them. Madame Chan is praying to – although it’s more like ...

B-
The Broken Girls

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James: A Roundtable Discussion Simone St. James is well-loved by the staff here at AAR, so we have been eagerly anticipating her new book. The Broken Girls is a dual-timeline story centered around a boarding school for the teenaged girls society has turned its back ...