It’s Tueday, which means it is time for me to come up with another Top Ten List! As always, a big thank you to The Broke and the Bookish for hosting this little bit of list making joy. This week’s topic is Top Ten Books I Would Recommend to Someone Who Does Not Read X. On my list, X=Historical Fiction. This is starting to sound a bit math-y so, let’s move along to the books. I usually struggle with hisstorical fiction, but it turns out I actually enjoy it. Who knew? In the same boat? Give one of these titles a try:
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys is the story of a Lithuanian family forced into labor camps in Siberia by the Soviets in 1941. Based on actual events in the author’s family.
Did I learn about this in school and forgot? Or, was this the first I heard of the tragic events in this book? Not sure, but either way, it was heartbreaking and beautiful and educational.
Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary “Jacky” Faber, Ship’s Boy by L.A. Meyer is the first book in the Bloody Jack series and tells the story of a young orphan girl living on the streets of London until she disguises herself as a boy and secures a position on a royal navy ship.
I say it over and over, but Jacky Faber is hands down my favorite heroine. Love. Love. Love.
The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell is set in Baltimore, 1889 and tells the story of a young woman being introduced to society. The merriment of the summer is marred by her disturbing visions of the future.
Paranormal + historical=A Winner! I am looking forward the companion novel, The Springsweet.
Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey is a spooky ghost story/mystery set in England 1872 and tells the tale of Violet Willoughby, daughter of a Spiritualist scammer who discovers that she, unlike her mother, actually can communicate with the dead.
You thought the historical fiction+supernatural was awesome? Try adding mystery to that mix. This book is awesome!
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jaqueline Kelly is the story of a young girl in Texas in 1899 who bristles at her mother’s insistence that she learn to become a lady. All she wants to do is study nature with her grandfather and study to be a scientist like Charles Darwin.
I found this coming of age story to be so charming. Calpurnia is strong, spirited girl who feels trapped by social conventions. The cover also rocks.
Wicked Girls: a Novel of the Salem Witch Trials by Stephanie Hemphill is a fictionalized account of the Salem Witch Trials told from the point of view of three teen girls living in Salem, 1692.
I do not usually enjoy books written in verse, but in this case, it really worked. The story is chilling and powerful and quite eye-opening, as readers are drawn into the madness of the time.
A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee is the first book in the Mary Quinn mystery series. Rescued from the gallows in 1850 London, Mary Quinn, an orphan and thief, is offered an opportunity to train as a spy with an all-female investigative unit known The Agency.
Who doesn’t love a good spy novel? Throw in the gritty setting of Victorian London, and an orphan girl of mysterious nationality and you have a real treat of a book. The third Mary Quinn novel is coming out this year and I can’t wait!
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is not your typical World War II story. Narrated by Death, it tells the story of Liesel, a young German book thief and story-teller who uses her sticky fingers talent to sustain her family, the Jewish man they are hiding, and her neighbors.
In the interest of full disclosure, I could not read this book. I tried, but could not get into it. However, once I got the audiobook, I discovered how absolutely amazing this book is. Believe all the hype.
Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson is the story of a young slave girl living in New York as the Revolutionary War erupts. She has been separated from her sister by her cruel mistress and has vowed to find her no matter the cost.
I am actually still listening to this book right now. It is a fascinating look at slavery during the American Revolution. I will definitely continue on with Forge when I am finished.
10. The Poison Diaries by Maryrose Wood is a Gothic tale set in Northumberland, England during the reign of King George III. Jessamine and her father live in an abandoned abbey, where her father tends an apothecary garden full of dangerous secrets.
This one is a bit unusual, but if you like a story with a supernatural twist, a unique setting, and a cliffhanger ending, this one is sure to please. The sequel, Nightshade, has recently been released and I need to take it home with me soon.
And since I can’t leave well enough alone and quit at 10, here are some bonus adult titles (teens might enjoy them too!):
1. The Help by Katheryn Stockett-everyone knows about this one. Still need to see the movie.
2. The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt by Caroline Preston-totally adorable novel in pictures follows the adventures of young Frankie’s search for success and love in the 1920’s. Very charming, a must read for fans of The Paris Wife by Paula McLain.
3. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (and all the other Flavia du Luce mysteries) by Alan Bradley-hilarious mysteries, set in 1950’s England, starring a precocious 11-year-old sleuth who loves chemistry.