New historical fiction

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For November’s new fiction, I’ve gathered together some of the most highly-anticipated tales set in history. This list has something for everybody: family drama, an international detective case, war and peace, and high court shenanigans. All in the service of a great month to read.

What’s that? You’re refraining from reading novels this month because you’ll be writing a novel instead? Go, you! Here’s your library’s guide to NaNoWriMo.

1. This House is Mine by Dorte Hansen

this-house-is-mineAlternating between the present and 1945, this story weaves the lives of two strong, independent, sometimes eccentric women who do, indeed, become a family. Anne is a carpenter by trade and a single mother with a young son, and her Aunt Vera, an unmarried dentist, lives in the dilapidated old homestead. As the renovations on the house progress, so does their relationship. – Library Journal


2. Desolation Flats by Andrew Hunt

desolation-flatsBennett’s debut novel, set in the U.S. Marine Corps base city of Oceanside, examines the consequences of secret decisions as they play out in the lives of three young people, decade by decade. The story is narrated in part by the eponymous mothers, a ­chorus of elder church women who demonstrate no compunction in judging and discussing the choices made by their fellow parishioners of the Upper Room Chapel. – Booklist Reviews


3. The Gun Room by Georgina Harding


A young English photographer’s life is forever altered by bearing witness, particularly to the aftermath of a U.S. raid on a village during the Vietnam War. There, he captures an image of an American soldier that becomes a powerful war photograph, intentionally symbolizing the agony of war and unintentionally exposing how photojournalism is also wounding. – Booklist Reviews


4. The Spy by Paulo Coelho


The fictional memoir of a woman who paid the ultimate price for daring to defy convention in a time and a place where a war was raging, and justice was consequently distorted. Coelho uses Mata Hari’s story to illustrate how an individual’s fate can be caught up in the effort by the powers-that-be to distract the public from the horrific realities of their circumstances. – Booklist Reviews


5. Victoria by Daisy Goodwin

victoriaWith a PBS Masterpiece series about Victoria slated to begin in January 2017, this is going to be a book in high demand. Barely 18 when she becomes queen after her uncle’s death in 1837, Victoria had received little preparation to serve as monarch. Several prominent men would be happy for a regency to supplant her rule. Insisting on her authority, Victoria finds an ally and mentor in Prime Minister Lord Melbourne, a man old enough to be her father.



See more of Jennifer’s fiction suggestions

I’m the library’s fiction selector and I’ve been suggesting new books to library and bookmobile customers for over 25 years. I keep up on all the new book reviews, and my favorite question is “What are you reading?” I love to talk about books and to read books. I like to tell library customers, “Try something new. If the book doesn’t grab you, we have many more to choose from."