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Find more Top 10 Historical Fiction
If public librarians have among their serious fiction lovers some readers who insist historical fiction is not for them, don’t slap those poor individuals upside the head, just hand them one of these historical novels, which were reviewed in Booklist over the past year, and attitudes are guaranteed to change.
All Other Nights. By Dara Horn. Norton, $24.95 (9780393064926).
Horn both unearths a fascinating, relatively unexplored aspect of American history—the role of Jewish Americans in the Civil War—and delivers a novel rich in human emotion and ambiguity.
The Coral Thief. By Rebecca Stott. Spiegel & Grau, $25 (9780385531467).
Stott effortlessly captures both the chaos of immediate post-Napoleonic Paris’ changing social hierarchy and the exhilaration of intellectuals who have freed themselves from the tyranny of dogma.
Devil’s Dream. By Madison Smartt Bell. Pantheon, $26 (9780375424885).
Bell returns from his celebrated Haitian trilogy to his native ground, Tennessee, to tell the tale of Nathan Bedford Forrest, a feared Confederate general of profound contradictions, strategic brilliance, and outrageous valor.
Four Freedoms. By John Crowley. Morrow, $24.99 (9780061231506).
The author’s detailed descriptions of sights, smells, and sounds in an American aircraft plant during WWII, and his evocation of everyday life at home, make this a wonderful, unforgettable novel.
Homer & Langley. By E. L. Doctorow. Random, $26 (9781400064946).
Doctorow creates a mythic tale of compulsion, alienation, and dark metamorphosis inspired by the wealthy and famously eccentric Collyer brothers, reclusive hoarders in early-twentieth-century New York City.
The Ingenious Edgar Jones. By Elizabeth Garner. Crown, $24.95 (9780307408990).
Heartbreaking and exhilarating, misfit hero Edgar Jones’ rite of passage into adulthood is also a Darwinian portrait of a society in upheaval.
No Less Than Victory. By Jeff Shaara. Ballantine, $28 (9780345497925).
The final volume in the author’s WWII trilogy, a grand achievement, employs the same technique as the first two: focusing on individuals, both historical figures and anonymous GIs, to tell the story.
Parrot & Olivier in America. By Peter Carey. Knopf, $26.95 (9780307592620).
Carey presents a brilliant and sly variation on the French aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville, author of the indelible Democracy in America.
Pearl of China. By Anchee Min. Bloomsbury, $24.95 (9781596916975).
Min’s fresh and penetrating interpretation of American novelist Pearl S. Buck’s extraordinary life delivers profound psychological, spiritual, and historical insights.
The Puzzle King. By Betsy Carter. Algonquin, $23.95 (9781565125940).
In a series of unfolding stories, two young immigrants are bound to one another by loneliness and a desire to create family ties in New York City in the 1920s and 1930s; a poignant story of love, longing, and the truths of family connectedness.
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