11 Historical Fiction Novels By Women To Look Forward To This Fall
Are you already starting to get the autumnal blues now that summer is over? Well, cheer up reader, because even though the days of beach reading are behind us, there are so many exciting historical fiction novels by women to look forward to this fall.
I have nothing against nonfiction books — in fact, I count many of them among my favorites — but when it comes to retelling history, I prefer my stories with a fictional twist. Through exhaustive research, painstaking attention to detail, and some good old-fashioned creativity, historical fiction novels paint a fuller picture of history, even if it isn't all true. Whether it's an imaginative account of the life of a real historical icon, an examination of a cultural movement through the lens of a fictional character, or well-known moment in history seen through the eyes of a made-up narrator, historical fiction has the power to transport readers from their couch and make them feel like they are really living in another time and place. It may not help you win every history question on Jeopardy, but historical fiction will help you understand the human experiences of people throughout time and around the world.
Ready to go back in time? They get lost with one of these 11 exciting historical fiction novels by women this fall.
'Miss Kopp's Midnight Confessions' by Amy Stewart
A rich tale inspired by the real lives of the Kopp sisters, Miss Kopp's Midnight Confessions transports readers back to 1916, a time when a woman's unladylike behavior could land her in jail. Deputy sheriff Constance Kopp doesn't believe most of the girls she sees pass through the gates Hackensack prison deserve to be there, especially not those who were only trying to survive in the harsh world around them. But her sister, Fleurette, doesn't necessarily see eye-to-eye with Constance, and both women are forced to examine their beliefs in the face of the realities of their lives and the ongoing war. An intriguing novel starring sisters you won't soon forget, Miss Kopp's Midnight Confessions is a fun book whose mysteries you'll love uncovering.
'All That Makes Life Bright: The Life and love of Harriet Beecher Stowe' by Josi S. Kilpack
You've heard her name in history class, but how much do you really know about the kind of life famed abolitionist author Harriet Beecher Stowe actually lived? In All That Makes Life Bright, author Josi S. Kilpack gives us an intimate and imaginative look at Harriet's romance and marriage with husband Calvin Stowe. From the first signs of romance to the joy of the wedding to the insecurities of new marriage, All That Makes Life Bright explores Harriet's struggles and triumphs balancing life as a new wife and mother with her passion for writing and social justice. A moving book about one of history's most remarkable women, this historical fiction novel will change the way you see Harriet, and transform the way you read Uncle Tom's Cabin.
'The Unquiet Grave' by Sharyn McCrumb
When Mary Jane Heaster buried her the remains of her daughter Zona, she thought she'd never see her beloved girl again. That is, until one night when Zona's ghost appears to her mother to tell her she has been murdered, a wild claim confirmed by an autopsy performed a month after the funeral. To say it was the strangest case James P. D. Gardner, the first black attorney to practice law in West Virginia, would be an understatement. Over 30 years later while confined to an insane asylum following a suicide attempt and forced to talk through his insanity with a young new doctor, Gardner is still trying to work through the details of his most memorable, and most haunting, case. Based on one of the most incredible ghost stories in American folklore, The Unquiet Grave is a fascinating historical fiction novel you won't be able to put down.
'The Twelve-Mile Straight' by Eleanor Henderson
When Elma Jesup, the daughter of a white sharecropper in 1930 Georgia, gives birth to two babies, everyone is shocked to see one is born with light skin and the other dark. Desperate for an explanation, Elma's family blames Genus Jackson for rape before lynching him and dragging his body behind a truck through town. As Elma does the best she can raising her children with the help of Nan, a young black housekeeper and Elma's closest confidant, uncomfortable secrets get uncovered that threaten the fragile world the Jesups have built at the farm, along with the inhabitants who live there. A sharp and illuminating novel about race, violence, class, and the lines that divide us, The Twelve Mile Straight is a timely story that will stay with you long after you've turned the last page.
'Caroline: Little House, Revisited' by Sarah Miller
In this authorized retelling of one of America's most beloved tales, Sarah Miller revisits the familiar world of Little House through the experiences of Caroline "Ma" Ingalls. A young mother of two, Caroline never left her familiar home of Big Woods, Wisconsin, before she set out with her husband for the unknown in the Kansas Indian Territory. It's there, in an undeveloped land without doctors or neighbors to help, that Caroline learns to tap into the strength she needed to keep herself and her family alive, a strength she never knew she had before beginning her life as a pioneer woman. A stunning and sentimental novel brimming with historical detail, Caroline grants readers a chance at a new experience with an old familiar story.
'I, Eliza Hamilton' by Susan Holloway Scott
It was practically love at first sight when Elizabeth Schuyler, the daughter of a respected general from a good family, first met Alexander Hamilton. Despite the unrest in their young nation, the couple marry and quickly become one another's closest allies and confidants. When the revolution is over and Hamilton becomes one of the country's most influential leaders, Eliza is by his side to support him not just as a wife and mother, but as an assistant and advisor. Despite the public scrutiny, scandals, betrayals, and tragedy, one of America's most famous couples stays together until the end and beyond. A fascinating look inside one of the nation's most complicated yet beloved romances, I, Eliza Hamilton is perfect for anyone who still has that Hamilton buzz.
'Manhattan Beach' by Jennifer Egan (Oct. 3)
Anna Kerrigan has never forgotten the face of the mysterious man she and her father visited by the sea when she was just a child. While working as the first female diver in the Brooklyn Naval Yard years later, after her father's disappearance and well into World War II, Anna spots Dexter again at a nightclub, only this time, she finally begins to understand how exactly he is connected to her father's past and her own future. A rich and provocative period piece that will have you feverishly flipping pages, fans of Egan's previous novels will delight in her first foray into historical fiction.
'The Green Phoenix: A Novel of the Woman Who Re-Made Asia, Empress Xiaozhuang' by Alice Poon (Oct. 15)
Born a Mongolian princess, Empress Dowager Xiaozhuan became the first matriarch of the Qing Dynasy. A ruthless leader, master manipulator, and driven and determined ruler, Dowager Xiaozhuan lead a fascinating life filled with love and betrayal, political intrigue and personal crisis, painful heartache and national growth. A tantalizing story of one of history's most fascinating women, The Green Phoenix will show readers a the world like they've never seen before.
'Mr. Dickens and His Carol: A Novel of Christmas Past' by Samantha Silva (Oct. 31)
Go inside the making of the world's most famous Christmas story in Mr. Dickens and His Carol, a fun romp through the life and work of England's iconic author. Maybe it is his latest literary failure, the fact that nearly everyone he knows owes him money, or the annoying persistence of his publishers to write a holiday story, but this year, Charles Dickens is not in the Christmas spirit. While everyone around him plans lavish parties and wraps elaborate gifts, Charles is haunted by stories of the poor and plagued with seemingly incurable writer's block. That is, until he escapes to London where he meets Eleanor Lovejoy, a muse sent from heaven who sets Charles off on a journey fit only for one of his most famous characters: Ebenezer Scrooge. A fun and witty story about love, friendship, and generosity, Mr. Dickens and His Carol is on its way to becoming a classic not unlike its subject matter.
'The Revolution of Marina M' by Janet Finch (Nov. 7)
Before New Year's Eve 1916, Marina Makarova was a young genteel woman who felt trapped by her privileged life. After New Year's Eve, she became a brave and bold young woman who marches for workers' rights during the Russian Revolution, falls passionately in love with radical artist, and lets go of everything she held dear before. But, all too quickly, she also becomes a young woman betrayed, and Marina is left with little more but her own strength and perseverance to help get her through years of political unrest, national upheaval, personal heartbreak, and private tragedy. A captivating novel starring an unforgettable heroine, The Revolution of Marina M. shows you a side to the Russian Revolution you've never seen before.
'A Hope Divided' by Alyssa Cole (Nov. 28)
Throughout the War Between the States, Marlie Lynch has kept herself and others, including escaped prisoner and philosopher Ewan McCall, safe while being a huge help to the cause. Despite the fact that her mother was formerly a slave, the name of her white father, a man she has never known, kept her protected from outside threats. That is, until those very threats come knocking on her door and claim her home as a new base for the troops fighting against resistors of the rebel cause. With Confederates under her roof, Marlie is terrified the secrets about her family will endanger not only her life but the life of her hidden refugee. Together, Marlie and Ewan must find a way out of the house and onto the Underground Railroad before the Confederates find out the truth. A thrilling story with rich details and unforgettable characters, A Hope Divided is a true page-turner you won't want to put down.