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Top 2021 Reads from the Librarians - Part 3: Historical Fiction

Historical fiction

These historical novels all hit the spot with library staff this year. Click on the titles below for a direct link to the library catalogue, where you can read more about each one, place a hold or add them to your lists to check out later.

The Light Between Oceans by M L Stedman: A childless couple rescue a baby from a boat washed up on the shore where the husband is a lighthouse-keeper. This is a mesmerizing novel set in 1920s Australia but you’d better keep a tissue handy. (Chosen by Kimberley)

A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende. This is the best ‘based on a true story’ read of the year set in Franco’s Spain and Chile. A novel about displacement, family and rebuilding your life in a new country. (From Judith)

February by Lisa Moore: This novel is the story of Helen O’Mara, whose husband drowned following the sinking of the oil rig Ocean Ranger on Valentine’s Day in 1982. Decades later, Helen and her family are still dealing with grief and loss and the need to imagine a future. (From Emma)

The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams: Christine really liked this book and so did Lara, who says, “This is my stand out favourite of the year. It is beautifully written. It made me feel a lot. My full review of it is over on the old blog:.” 

The Address by Fiona Davis: It is 1884 when architect Theo Camden gives Sara the chance of a fresh start in New York, managing The Dakota – the greatest apartment block in the world. Sara is happy to see more of Theo, if only his wife and children weren’t living at the Dakota too. (Chosen by Miss Moneypenny)

Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers: A witty story about how news events can impact on ordinary people and set during 1950s Britain. With rationing, pea-soupers and lives of quiet desperation, this novel has an ending that will take your breath away. (From Judith)

Charlotte by Helen Moffett: This novel picks up where Jane Austen left off, imagining the life of Charlotte Lucas, Lizzie Bennett’s good friend from Pride and Prejudice. If you remember she disappointed Lizzie by accepting the hand of Mr Collins, to avoid a life of spinsterhood and depending on others. (Chosen by Miss Moneypenny)

The Offing by Benjamin Myers: A young lad who is about to join the workforce in his father's coal mine meets an eccentric, worldly older woman and the two share an unexpected friendship. This is a beautifully written post-war, coming-of-age story set in rural Yorkshire full of poetry, food and the joys of companionship. (From Judith)

Code Name Hélène by Ariel Lawhon: This is a biographical novel based on the life of Nancy Wake, wartime spy and resistance fighter in France during its Nazi occupation. According to the blurb, it’s “a gripping and heartbreakingly moving story of extraordinary courage, unfaltering resolve, remarkable sacrifice and enduring love.” (Chosen by Miss Moneypenny)

The Paris Library by Janet Skeslian Charles: A wartime tale for lovers of books, full of literary quotes and a deep appreciation for reading. “Books and ideas are like blood; they need to circulate, and they keep us alive.” (From Lara)

More hist. fic.

9 February 2022

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