Tag Archives: Historical Fiction

All the Light We Cannot See

 Anthony Doerr Pages: 530     Published: 2014

The book: A blind twelve-year-old, Marie-Laure LeBlanc, and her father flee Paris, which is under German occupation. They seek refuge with her great uncle in Saint-Malo, an ancient walled French town by the ocean.
In a mining town in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner Pfennig, becomes obsessed with radios and learns how to make and repair them. His radio skills take him first to a Nazi youth camp and from there into the German army, where he tracks resistance radio operators.
This novel is the story of Marie-Laure and Werner’s lives as their paths intersect during the war.

Read more

The Fair Botanists

Sara Sheridan Pages: 367 Published: 2021

The book: It is 1822. Recently, widowed Elizabeth arrives in Edinburgh to live with her late husband’s aunt. She is intrigued by the beautiful Botanical Gardens that are under construction.  

Elizabeth meets Belle Brody, a young woman who shares her passion for botany. However, Belle has a secret she wants to keep from Elizabeth and an ulterior motive for her interest in the Botanical Gardens. But secrets are hard to keep in Edinburgh… 

You might like it because: It’s an interesting story that places women at the heart of the enlightenment period in Edinburgh. Sheridan conjures a vivid picture of what life was like in the city during that time. 

What did other people say? 
“Completely enchanting and fascinating . . . a rollicking and immensely readable tale . . . Sheridan succeeds in what very few have attempted before; in imagining early 19th century Edinburgh as a genuine if imperfect city of enlightenment.” The Scotsman

“A page turning read with the pace of a thriller, The Fair Botanists is a fascinating glimpse into a turbulent age and some truly intriguing characters. A must-read for fans of Elizabeth MacNeal, Sonia Velton, and Laura Shepherd-Robinson.” The Historical Novel Society

Awards & Recognition:
Winner of the Waterstones Scottish Book of the Year 2022

How quickly will you get into the book? For me, this was a slow, gentle build. The book was interesting from the first few pages of prologue. As the story progressed, I got more sucked into the lives of the main characters.

You might not like it because: For some readers, the pace of the story might be too slow. For others, the descriptions of Edinburgh and life in 1822 may be too detailed. 

What might you read next?
Want to continue with a botanical theme? Try Ann Patchett’s State of Wonder, the story of a pharmacologist who travels to the Amazon in search of a former teacher and a piece of research on an amazing new drug.

Alternatively, read some nonfiction and pick up the true story of the man who founded the first botanical garden in the United States, American Eden, by Victoria Johnson.

Or, for something completely different, read Kate Atkinson’s One Good Turn, a modern-day crime novel set in Edinburgh during the annual Festival. 

© Book Curious 2023

Before We Were Yours

Lisa Wingate      Pages: 334     Published: 2017

The book: It’s Memphis, Tennessee in 1939. The five Foss children, who are all under twelve, live on a riverboat with their parents. One stormy night, when their mother is taken ill, the children are left alone. Unbeknownst to the parents, some strangers have nefarious plans for their children. Read more

The Girl Who Wrote in Silk

Kelli Estes       Pages: 390       Published: 2015

The book: It’s modern-day Seattle. Inara has graduated and is about to start a corporate job her father has arranged for her.  She’s unenthused with the idea and has other plans that involve an old family home she has inherited on Orcas Island in the Puget Sound. There she finds an old piece of embroidered cloth and sets out to discover its origins.

Mei Lien lives in Seattle during the 1800s, a time period during which racism was rampant. Tragedy befalls her family. Read more

Washington Black

Esi Edugyan               Pages: 334                Published: 2018

The book: It’s 1830. George Washington Black (Wash) is an eleven-year-old field slave on a plantation in Barbados. His master’s brother, Christopher Wilde, needs a slave to assist him in building a flying machine. He selects Wash and so begins a new chapter in the young slave’s life, which will take him on a journey far beyond the confines of the planation in Barbados. The strained relationship between Christopher Wilde and his brother will have a lasting impact on Wash. What will become of Washington Black? Where will his journey with Christopher take him? Read more

The Nightingale

Kristin Hannah      Pages: 564      Published:  2015

The book: France, August 1939. Vianne, a teacher, her husband, Antoine, and their daughter, Sophie, live in the Loire Valley. Life seems good, but then Antoine is drafted into the French Army. Isabelle, Vianne’s estranged, rebellious sister, is expelled from boarding school and makes her way to Paris, where she plans to live with her father.  World War II begins and life gets harder in both Paris and the Loire Valley. As the Germans overrun France, what will happen to Vianne and her family? Where will Isabell’s rebellious streak take her? Into danger? Will the family survive the war? Read more

« Older Entries