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Historical Fiction June 2014
"All this came about because I was born on the day freedom came, or was supposed to come. I came into the world on that day, and like it or not, freedom came with me.
~ from Shelton Johnson's Gloryland
New and Recently Released!
The Orenda: A Novel - by Joseph Boyden
Publisher: Random House
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 05/13/2014
Share The Orenda%3a A Novel ISBN-13: 9780385350730
ISBN-10: 0385350732
Set in 17th-century Ontario during the French conquest of Canada, this sweeping, richly detailed historical epic unfolds through the eyes of three individuals: Huron (Wyandot) warrior Bird, his Iroquois captive Snow Falls, and Jesuit Missionary Père Christophe. As the French exploit long-standing conflicts between the Huron and the Iroquois to gain control of their respective territories, shifting alliances between all three groups irrevocably alter the landscape of North America and the lives of its indigenous people. For more historical fiction set in Canada during this period, check out Suzanne Desrochers' Bride of New France, about a teenage Parisian prostitute sent to the New World as a fur trader's bride.
The Untold - by Courtney Collins
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 05/29/2014
Share The Untold ISBN-13: 9780399167096
ISBN-10: 0399167099
Sold by her parents to a traveling circus at age 12, Jessie Hickman becomes a tightrope walker, a horse thief, a convict, an abused wife, and, finally, a murderer. Pursued across the Australian Outback by law enforcement officials, Jessie's best hope for survival is to reunite with her aboriginal lover, stockman Jack Brown, who may or may not be in league with the authorities. Set in the 1920s and based on the life of a legendary Australian outlaw, bushranger, and all-around "wild woman," this novel may appeal to fans of Peter Carey's True History of the Kelly Gang.
All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel - by Anthony Doerr
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 05/06/2014
Share All the Light We Cannot See%3a A Novel ISBN-13: 9781476746586
ISBN-10: 1476746583
When blind Marie-Laure LeBlanc and her father, a master locksmith at Paris' Museum of Natural History, flee the city on the eve of the German occupation, they seek sanctuary in St. Malo, at the home of Marie-Laure's eccentric great-uncle and his housekeeper, both members of the French Resistance. As Marie-Laure contributes to their efforts by broadcasting information over the wireless, her path crosses that of German soldier Werner Pfennig, whose intellect and technical aptitude are responsible for his current assignment: monitoring and reporting illicit radio transmissions. If you enjoy dramatic stories set during World War II, don't miss this lyrical story of love, loyalty, and betrayal.
Dark Aemilia: A Novel of Shakespeare's Dark Lady - by Sally O'Reilly
Publisher: St Martin's Press
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 05/27/2014
Share Dark Aemilia%3a A Novel of Shakespeare ISBN-13: 9781250048134
ISBN-10: 1250048133
The daughter of a Venetian musician, Aemilia Bassano grows up amid the splendor of Queen Elizabeth's court, eventually becoming the mistress of an elderly lord and the lover of a young playwright named Will Shakespeare. Once she becomes pregnant, however, she falls from favor and is hastily married off to a courtier. Forgotten but not gone, Aemilia risks what little remains to her when she approaches Shakespeare, her former paramour, with a single request: help her save their child. Inspired by the life and career of Aemilia Lanyer, England's first woman poet, this novel proposes an intriguing possible identity for the "dark lady" of Shakespeare's sonnets.
Secrecy: A Novel - by Rupert Thomson
Publisher: Random House
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 04/22/2014
Share Secrecy%3a A Novel ISBN-13: 9781590516850
ISBN-10: 1590516850
Summoned to Florence in 1691 by Cosimo III, Grand Duke of Tuscany, Sicilian sculptor Gaetano Zummo is commissioned to create a life-sized wax replica of his patron's ideal woman. Zummo, an artist with a flair for the strange and macabre (his most famous work is a tableau of plague victims), embraces the challenge, even as he gets caught up in a life-changing love affair, a tangled web of political conspiracies, and the persecution of a zealous and corrupt Dominican priest. Drawing on real historical figures and events, this compelling, often unsettling novel conjures the atmosphere of 17th-century Florence through lyrical prose and well-researched period details.
Westward, Ho!
True Sisters - by Sandra Dallas
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 05/21/2013
Share True Sisters ISBN-13: 9781250005038
ISBN-10: 1250005035
In July of 1856, a group of 650 immigrants, all recent Mormon converts, heeded Brigham Young's call and embarked on a 1,300-mile westward trek from Iowa to the new "Zion," in what is now Salt Lake City, Utah. Hauling their worldly possessions in crudely fashioned handcarts, few of the settlers reached their destination alive. In homespun and moving fashion, True Sisters documents the travels (and travails) of the real-life Martin Company from the perspectives of a diverse group of women who find common ground and friendship in the face of adversity.
Sarah Canary - by Karen Joy Fowler
Publisher: Plume
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 08/01/2004
Share Sarah Canary ISBN-13: 9780452286474
ISBN-10: 0452286476
When Chinese laborer Chin Ah Kin meets Sarah Canary, the disturbed young woman who appears at the edge of the railway camp where he and his relatives live, he -- like everyone else -- assumes she's insane. Tasked with accompanying Sarah to an asylum, Chin ends up chasing her across the Washington Territory in an attempt to save her from herself, not to mention the many individuals who would harm them both. This intricately plotted, stylistically complex novel, set in the Pacific Northwest in 1873, presents a picaresque tale starring an unlikely duo as well as insightful commentary on race and gender.
Gloryland: A Novel - by Shelton Johnson
Publisher: Sierra Club Books
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 09/01/2009
Share Gloryland%3a A Novel ISBN-13: 9781578051441
ISBN-10: 1578051444
Born in Spartanburg, South Carolina, on Emancipation Day (January 1, 1863), Elijah Yancy -- the part-Seminole, part-African child of slaves -- grows up with a keen understanding of the difference between freedom and equality. Seeking a better life, he enlists in one of the newly formed African-American regiments of the U.S. Cavalry. As a Buffalo soldier stationed at Yosemite National Park, Elijah falls in love with the beauty of the wilderness, yet grows increasingly uncomfortable carrying out his orders, which threaten the lives and liberty of the area's Cheyenne and the Comanche inhabitants.
Snow Mountain Passage: A Novel of the Donner Party - by James D. Houston
Publisher: Harcourt
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 04/01/2002
Share Snow Mountain Passage%3a A Novel of the Donner Party ISBN-13: 9780156011433
ISBN-10: 0156011433
This dramatic recreation of the ill-fated journey of the Donner party, American pioneers who attempted to travel overland from Illinois to California during the winter of 1846-1847, unfolds through two separate, yet complementary narratives. In one, party leader James Frazier Reed kills a man in self-defense and accepts exile as his punishment, traveling alone and ahead of the others. In the other, Reed's daughter, Patty, recounts in her "Trail Notes" the harrowing events -- disease, starvation, and cannibalism -- that befell the intrepid band once their wagon train became trapped in the Sierra Nevada mountains with dwindling supplies and little hope of rescue.
A Good Man - by Guy Vanderhaeghe
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 01/03/2012
Share A Good Man ISBN-13: 9780802120045
ISBN-10: 0802120040
The son of a wealthy Canadian timber baron, former mounted policeman Wesley Case relocates to the Montana Territory in 1876, where he purchases a ranch near the rough-and-tumble frontier outpost of Fort Benton -- not far from the site of Custer's Last Stand. However, thanks to escalating tensions between the U.S. Army and the Sioux, Case's primary livelihood soon becomes the gathering and exchange of information. With its complex characterization and lyrical descriptions of rugged western landscapes, this concluding volume of Canadian author Guy Vanderhaeghe's Western trilogy -- which begins with The Englishman's Boy and The Last Crossing -- may appeal to fans of Gil Adamson's The Outlander.
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