Historical Fiction

Rich and immersive, transporting and informative, good historical fiction is a sumptuous treat. See the past re-written with our Historical Fiction collection. Here to take you to another time without the cost of building a time machine.

The Weather Woman

The Weather Woman

Author: Sally Gardner Format: Hardback Release Date: 10/11/2022

London, January 1789 The weather is so severe the River Thames completely freezes over. The people of London decide to hold an impromptu Frost Fair, with dancing bears, jugglers and puppet shows. Neva and her Russian parents operate a chess-playing bear, so convincing people believe it is real. But a dreadful tragedy is waiting just around the corner for Neva, as the treacherous ice begins to crack. All of a sudden she finds herself alone in the world, until her fortunes change and she is adopted by eccentric clock and automata maker, Victor Friezland. As Neva grows up, she discovers she has a gift that will prove to be as dangerous as it is desirable: she can predict the weather, and her adoptive father devises a machine to help her. Now Neva, a woman ahead of her time, must find a way to disguise her true identity from those who would destroy her.

The Last House on the Street

The Last House on the Street

Author: Diane Chamberlain Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/08/2022

A small town divided by prejudice. A secret that won't remain silent... The stunning new novel from the Sunday Times top ten bestselling author of The Silent Sister and Big Lies in a Small Town. This unmissable and gripping Book Club read will stay with you. 1965. A young white female student becomes involved in the fight for civil rights in North Carolina, falling in love with one of her fellow activists, a Black man, in a time and place where an interracial relationship must be hidden from family, friends and especially the reemerging Ku Klux Klan. As tensions rise in the town, she realises not everyone is who they appear to be. 2020. A recently widowed architect moves into the home she and her late husband designed, heartbroken that he will never cross the threshold. But when disturbing things begin to happen, it's clear that someone is sending her a warning. Who is trying to frighten her away, and why? Decades later, past and present are set to collide in the last house on the street...  

eBooks of the Month
A Corruption of Blood

A Corruption of Blood

Author: Ambrose Parry Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/08/2022

A Raven and Fisher Mystery: Book 3 Edinburgh, 1850. This city will bleed you dry. Dr Will Raven is a man seldom shocked by human remains, but even he is disturbed by the contents of a package washed up at the Port of Leith. Stranger still, a man Raven has long detested is pleading for his help to escape the hangman. Back in the townhouse of Dr James Simpson, Sarah Fisher has set her sights on learning to practise medicine. Almost everyone seems intent on dissuading her from this ambition, but when word reaches her that a woman has recently obtained a medical degree despite her gender, Sarah decides to seek her out. Raven's efforts to prove his former adversary's innocence are failing and he desperately needs Sarah's help. Putting their feelings for one another aside, their investigations take them to both extremes of Edinburgh's social divide, where they discover that wealth and status cannot alter a fate written in the blood.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
Trust

Trust

Author: Hernan Diaz Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/08/2022

A literary puzzle about money, power, and intimacy, Trust is a novel that challenges the myths shrouding wealth, and the fictions that often pass for history. Even through the roar and effervescence of the 1920s, everyone in New York has heard of Benjamin and Helen Rask. He is a legendary Wall Street tycoon; she is the daughter of eccentric aristocrats. Together, they have risen to the very top of a world of seemingly endless wealth-all as a decade of excess and speculation draws to an end. But at what cost have they acquired their immense fortune? This is the mystery at the center of Bonds, a successful 1938 novel that all of New York seems to have read. But there are other versions of this tale of privilege and deceit. Hernan Diaz's Trust elegantly puts these competing narratives into conversation with each other-and in tension with the perspective of one woman bent on disentangling fact from fiction. The result is a novel that spans an entire century and becomes more exhilarating with each new revelation. Provocative and propulsive, Trust engages the reader in a quest for the truth while confronting the deceptions that often live at the heart of relationships, the reality-warping gravitational pull of capital, and the ease with which power can manipulate the truth.

Murder Under Her Skin

Murder Under Her Skin

Author: Stephen Spotswood Format: Paperback Release Date: 21/07/2022

The perfect murder mystery for fans of Richard Osman and Robert Thorogood. New York, 1946: The last time Will Parker let a case get personal, she walked away with a broken face, a bruised ego, and the solemn promise never again to let her heart get in the way of her job. But she called Hart and Halloway's Travelling Circus and Sideshow home for five years, and Ruby Donner, the circus's tattooed ingenue, was her friend. To make matters worse the prime suspect is Valentin Kalishenko, the man who taught Will everything she knows about putting a knife where it needs to go. To uncover the real killer and keep Kalishenko from a date with the electric chair, Will and Ms. Pentecost join the circus in sleepy Stoppard, Virginia, where the locals like their cocktails mild, the past buried, and big-city detectives not at all. The two swiftly find themselves lost in a funhouse of lies as Will begins to realize that her former circus compatriots aren't playing it straight, and that her murdered friend might have been hiding a lot of secrets beneath all that ink. Dodging fistfights, firebombs, and flying lead, Will puts a lot more than her heart on the line in the search of the truth. Can she find it before someone stops her ticker for good?

Star Books
The Night Ship

The Night Ship

Author: Jess Kidd Format: Hardback Release Date: 12/07/2022

Based on a real-life event, an epic historical novel from the award-winning author of Things in Jars that illuminates the lives of two characters: a girl shipwrecked on an island off Western Australia and, three hundred years later, a boy finding a home with his grandfather on the very same island. 1629: A newly orphaned young girl named Mayken is bound for the Dutch East Indies on the Batavia, one of the greatest ships of the Dutch Golden Age. Curious and mischievous, Mayken spends the long journey going on misadventures above and below the deck, searching for a mythical monster. But the true monsters might be closer than she thinks. 1989: A lonely boy named Gil is sent to live off the coast of Western Australia among the seasonal fishing community where his late mother once resided. There, on the tiny reef-shrouded island, he discovers the story of an infamous shipwreck...? With her trademark "thrilling, mysterious, twisted, but more than anything, beautifully written" (Graham Norton, New York Times bestselling author) storytelling, Jess Kidd weaves a unputdownable and charming tale of friendship and sacrifice, brutality and forgiveness.

Yours Cheerfully

Yours Cheerfully

Author: A. J. Pearce Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/07/2022

London, September, 1941. Following the departure of the formidable Editor, Henrietta Bird, from Woman’s Friend magazine, things are looking up for Emmeline Lake as she takes on the challenge of becoming a young wartime advice columnist. Her relationship with boyfriend Charles is blossoming, while Emmy’s best friend Bunty, is still reeling from the very worst of the Blitz, but bravely looking to the future. Together, the friends are determined to Make a Go of It. When the Ministry of Information calls on Britain’s women’s magazines to help recruit desperately needed female workers to the war effort, Emmy is thrilled to be asked to step up and help. But when she and Bunty meet a young woman who shows them the very real challenges that women war workers face, Emmy must tackle a life-changing dilemma between doing her duty, and standing by her friends. Every bit as funny, touching and cheering as AJ Pearce's debut, Dear Mrs Bird, Yours Cheerfully is a celebration of friendship, a testament to the strength of women and the importance of lifting each other up, even in the most challenging times.

Audiobooks of the Month
The Unravelling

The Unravelling

Author: Polly Crosby Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/07/2022

A darkly beautiful dual-timeline novel with a captivating mystery, for fans of Diane Setterfield and Kiran Millwood Hargrave When Tartelin Brown accepts a job with the reclusive Marianne Stourbridge, she finds herself on a wild island with a mysterious history. Tartelin is tasked with hunting butterflies for Marianne's research. But she quickly uncovers something far more intriguing than the curious creatures that inhabit the landscape. Because the island and Marianne share a remarkable history, and what happened all those years ago has left its scars, and some terrible secrets. As Tartelin pieces together Marianne's connection to the island, she must confront her own reasons for being there. Can the two women finally face up to the painful memories that bind them so tightly to the past? Atmospheric and deeply emotional, The Unravelling is the captivating novel from the author of The Illustrated Child.

eBooks of the Month
Katastrophe

Katastrophe

Author: Graham Hurley Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/07/2022

Fascinating yet thrilling, stimulating yet shattering, this riveting read opens a path into the very nature of humankind. As the Second World War nears its end the defeated, vultures, and peace brokers continue using intelligence gathered by three very different men. The Spoils of War series is one of my favourites, its epic scale from the intimacy of the chosen few highlights the searing and hidden tragedy of conflict. If you’ve not yet met these books, do introduce yourself as this is a series not to be missed. The design and writing is such that you can step in at any point. I welcomed the main characters from Katastrophe back into my reading life, sitting opened mouthed at times as I witnessed the dark hidden depths of Russia and her people, the beginning of the end for Nazi Germany, and the scrabble for position by the leaders of the UK, US, and Russia. Using the murky world of intelligence Graham Hurley successfully took me into the final months of the war. The mix of fact and fiction here is beautifully balanced, the focus and blend of real and fictional characters seamlessly fills the page and I felt as though I was watching behind the scenes footage. From the huge scale and the people in power, through to the most ordinary of lives, each page holds an intense weight. My thoughts and feelings were knocked off balance and sent scrabbling for understanding. If anything is going demonstrate the utterly senseless and vicious nature of war it’s this and yet it’s also a hugely exciting read. Chosen as a LoveReading Star Book, Katastrophe hits with immense impact, it is a true powerhouse of a novel and comes as highly recommended by me.

Star Books
The Bewitching

The Bewitching

Author: Jill Dawson Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/07/2022

Goodness, take note before you start, this novels bites, provokes and doesn’t lose its grip, even though at times I flinched as the words buffeted my thoughts. The Bewitching is based on the events surrounding Alice Samuel when she was accused of witchcraft between 1589-1593 in the village of Warboys in the Cambridgeshire Fens. While fictional, author Jill Dawson has obviously completed meticulous research about the period. In the acknowledgements she mentions the title of a pamphlet published in 1593 that details the trial and that alone is enough to send shivers coursing through you. She weaves and stitches together a story that feels chillingly real. Even though centuries old, the details are as relevant today as ever, where a stray word and vicious mind can do so much harm. Women feature at the centre of this novel, with men on the sharpened edge. I felt as though I was being carried towards an inevitable conclusion, and yet I was still challenged, and still surprised as I was drawn into the inner sanctuary that a mind creates when speared. The ending of Part Four hit with exquisitely painful precision and left me feeling drained before Part Five lulled me into dreams. As devastating as it is powerful, The Bewitching is a fascinating and thought-provoking novel that joins my selections as a Liz Pick of the Month.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
The House of Fortune

The House of Fortune

Author: Jessie Burton Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/07/2022

In the golden city of Amsterdam, in 1705, Thea Brandt is turning eighteen, and she is ready to welcome adulthood with open arms. At the city's theatre, Walter, the love of her life, awaits her, but at home in the house on the Herengracht, all is not well - her father Otto and Aunt Nella argue endlessly, and the Brandt family are selling their furniture in order to eat. On Thea's birthday, also the day that her mother Marin died, the secrets from the past begin to overwhelm the present. Nella is desperate to save the family and maintain appearances, to find Thea a husband who will guarantee her future, and when they receive an invitation to Amsterdam's most exclusive ball, she is overjoyed - perhaps this will set their fortunes straight. And indeed, the ball does set things spinning: new figures enter their life, promising new futures. But their fates are still unclear, and when Nella feels a strange prickling sensation on the back of her neck, she remembers the miniaturist who entered her life and toyed with her fortunes eighteen years ago. Perhaps, now, she has returned for her . . . The House of Fortune is a glorious, sweeping story of fate and ambition, secrets and dreams, and one young woman's determination to rule her own destiny.

The Last Hours in Paris

The Last Hours in Paris

Author: Ruth Druart Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/07/2022

This thoughtfully handled story of love, in all its guises, sits on two timelines creating questions and answers as you travel between and the 1940’s and 1960’s. When Elise meets German soldier Sebastian in Paris towards the end of the Second World War, they begin a love that simply can not be tolerated by those around them. Ruth Druart’s debut While Paris Slept was also set within the same field of conflict, yet this has a very different feel. While simply told and handled with gentle generosity and compassion, you shouldn’t expect light and airy as it also squeezes thoughts and feelings in a vice-like grip. Secrets and lies twisted and changed shape as they extended into the future creating contradictory feelings as I read. The sections from the war have a haunting intensity, and clearly affect the later time frame. As the ending settled around me and I read the Author’s Note I heaved an emotional yet satisfied sigh. Dwelling in sadness yet expressing hope, The Last Hours in Paris is a compelling tale and sits as a Liz Pick of the Month.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month