Forget the “Columbus sailed the ocean blue” mnemonic devices and dusty history books. If you want to experience history with dimension and humanity, turn to historical fiction.History becomes real when readers experience it through the eyes of a character – the tastes, the smells, the feelings.
Columnist and popular book advisor Joyce Saricks offers her suggestions to help fiction readers delve into history to gain fresh perspectives on how people of all walks of life experienced history.
Now you can make historical fiction accessible to the broadest cross-section of readers by providing them in large print – which improves comprehension for readers of all kinds without adding bulk or weight.
Check out these popular titles recommended by Joyce and available from Thorndike Press, and read on to see what’s new this month.
- The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen – Finding himself the man of the family‚ London dancing master Alec Valcourt moves his mother and sister to remote Devonshire‚ hoping to start over. Stunned to learn the village matriarch has prohibited all dancing‚ Alec finds an unlikely ally in her daughter. Wary of Julia Midwinter’s reckless flirtation‚ he comes to realize her bold exterior disguises hidden sorrows. With Alec’s help‚ can Julia uncover old secrets and restore life to her somber village?
- Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival by Jennifer Chiaverini – Kate Chase Sprague was born in 1840 in Ohio‚ second daughter to the second wife of Salmon P. Chase‚ who rose to prominence in the antebellum years. Appointed to Abraham Lincoln’s cabinet‚ Chase aspired to even greater heights. Beautiful and intelligent‚ young Kate took on the role of establishing her thrice-widowed father in Washington society. And as The Washington Star declared: “None outshone her.” None‚ that is‚ but Mary Todd Lincoln.
- The Good Lord Bird by James McBride – In 1857‚ Henry Shackleford is a young slave living in the Kansas Territory‚ a battleground between anti- and pro-slavery forces. When an argument between legendary abolitionist John Brown and Henry’s master turns violent‚ Henry is forced to leave with Brown‚ who believes he’s a girl. Over the ensuing months‚ Henry — whom Brown nicknames “Onion” — conceals his identity to stay alive‚ eventually finding himself at Harpers Ferry in 1859.
- The Daughters of Mars by Thomas Keneally – In 1915‚ Naomi and Sally Durance‚ two spirited Australian sisters‚ join the war effort as nurses‚ escaping the confines of their father’s farm and carrying a guilty secret with them. Though they are used to tending the sick‚ nothing could have prepared them for what they confront‚ first on a hospital ship near Gallipoli‚ then on the Western Front. Yet amid the carnage‚ the sisters become the friends they never were and find themselves courageous in the face of danger.
- The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd – Hetty “Handful” Grimke‚ an urban slave in early 19th-century Charleston‚ yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls of the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimkes’ daughter‚ Sarah‚ who has always known she is meant to do something large in the world‚ is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women. On Sarah’s 11th birthday‚ she is given ownership of 10-year-old Handful‚ and we follow their remarkable journeys over the next 35 years.
- Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini – In March 1861‚ Mrs. Lincoln chose former slave Elizabeth “Lizzie” Keckley as her personal modiste. As their relationship evolved‚ Keckley was drawn into the intimate life of the Lincoln family. She saved scraps from the dozens of gowns she made‚ piecing together a tribute known as the Mary Todd Lincoln Quilt. She also saved memories‚ which she fashioned into a memoir. In this impeccably researched‚ engrossing novel‚ Chiaverini brings history to life in rich‚ moving style.
- 22 Britannia Road by Amanda Hodgkinson – World War II has ended. Silvana and eight-year-old Aurek board the ship that will take them from Poland to England‚ to her husband‚ Janusz. But the war has changed them all. Silvana and Aurek spent the war hiding in Poland’s forests. Janusz is an Englishman now‚ determined to forget Poland and begin a new life as a proper English family. But for Silvana‚ forgetting is not a possibility.
- The Help by Kathryn Stockett – Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. Aibileen is a wise, regal black maid raising her 17th white child. Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, can cook like nobody’s business but can’t mind her tongue. It is 1962, and these three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step that forever changes a town and the way women — mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends — view one another.
- Mr. Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal – London‚ 1940. Winston Churchill has just been sworn in‚ war rages across the Channel‚ and the threat of a Blitz looms larger by the day. Maggie Hope graduated at the top of her college class and possesses all the skills of the finest minds in British intelligence‚ yet her gender qualifies her only to be the newest typist at No.10 Downing Street. But working for the prime minister affords her a lot of access‚ and Maggie is soon ensnared in a web of spies‚ murder, and intrigue.
You may also be interested in:
- Featured Titles for April: bestselling Historical Fiction in large print format from Thorndike Press and critically-acclaimed Frontier Fiction in regular print format from Five Star, an original fiction imprint of Gale.
- Historical Fiction – Large Print Standing Order Plan: Save time and money by selecting a historical fiction plan that embraces popular sub-genres. Receive 24 hardcovers per year curated by our expert editorial staff and sent to you in monthly shipments.
- Watch a Video of Joyce Saricks: View an on-demand recording of a webinar during which the popular Reader’s Advisor shared her thoughts on the rising popularity of the historical fiction genre.
To see all large print titles, visit gale.cengage.com/lp.