Historical fiction wound up being the genre that got me back into reading at the end of my self-isolation during this pandemic and I have a feeling it’s what I’m going to want to be reading for most of the summer – to escape a different time in the past where things were, if not better, at least different, than what we’re all dealing with right now. Here are just a few new favorites, and some from pre-quarantine as well. The images are links to the full reviews!
The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner: Post-World War II England
The most recent book I finished (and most recent regular book blog post) is The Jane Austen Society which is out TODAY and I wish it a very happy book birthday! Set in the immediate aftermath of WWII in the UK, it is the story of a bunch of very different people mostly from the small town of Chawton who band together to save the legacy of Jane Austen as she begins to see a resurgence in popularity in the post-war years. It’s beautifully written and Natalie Jenner is definitely going to be one of my new favorite authors!
Lovely War by Julie Berry: mostly World War I, mostly France
Another very recent read, I read Lovely War so that I can join in on the next virtual meeting of my book store’s YA book club, YA for All. The premise is quite unique: the Greek Gods are listening to Aphrodite tell the story of two young couples during WWI while they are in the middle of WWII. It’s a beautifully written story, one that will stay with you for quite some time.
The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu: late 18th century Vienna
I love a good book with music in it – through in lesser known female musicians and composers, along with a fantastical element, AND if it’s by one of my favorite authors, well then I’m sure to love it. I reread it recently to write my blog post for it since I first read it back at the beginning of last summer when I first got the advance copy.
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein: World War II, mostly France
Verity is one of my favorite World War II books and since it doesn’t make much sense to include Elizabeth Wein’s latest, The Enigma Game, which I finished reading but has now been pushed back until November, I figured I’d share the first in the loosely related series that first got me hooked! It’s a mesmerizing work of WWII literature and Verity is one of my all time favorite characters in WWII and YA literature.
Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh: Feudal Japan
Renee Ahdieh is one of my favorite YA authors and Flame in the Mist is my favorite of all her books – Mariko is a fierce and awesome heroine, and the backdrop of feudal Japan was not one that I was overly familiar with, so I enjoyed learning more about a time and place I didn’t really know about before!
The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell: Viking Age (9th century) Britain, mostly Wessex
I broke my own rule of not watching before reading, but I started watching The Last Kingdom when I was waiting for the next season of Vikings and afterwards I just had to read the books – there really aren’t many books written during the time and as my own work in progress is about vikings, I figure best to do as much research as I can!
The Lost Queen by Signe Pike: Arthurian Britain, mostly Scotland
I feature this book on a lot of Bookish Tuesday lists, but it’s so near and dear to me that I just can’t help it. It’s a wonderful story of a little known time period during the dark ages, a time from when little written record exists and most of what we “know” comes from legend. As a fan of Arthurian legends and Scotland, this book was right up my alley and I’ll be diving into the sequel very shortly!
Where to Buy
In the USA, I recommend purchasing through BookShop or your local independent bookstore, in the UK, and many other parts of the world, I recommend Blackwell’s, and if neither of those cover where you live, I recommend checking out your local booksellers! Independent bookstores are vital parts of every local community and I wholly endorse supporting your local stores versus Amazon.