Historical Fiction

Book Club Recommendations

PBR Review: Next Year in Havana feels so real. It's about the internal strife and conflicts in revolutionary Cuba but it's also a love story filled with family drama. This book is atmospheric and subtly draws you in with wonderful character More

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Talking Points: 1950s Cuba is fascinating to read about. Its leaders are corrupt and there is much internal conflict and unrest, no one feels safe. Many are forced to leave the country they love and start life over again from scratch. Two beautiful love stories and also themes of sacrifice, family bonds, and hope.

PBR Review: Yes, this book is about the horrors of the Holocaust, but more than this, it's a book about love and the limits of human endurance. There is violence and loss, but at the same time, the reader is also a witness to bravery and det More

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Talking Points: This is an incredible story, based on the actual experiences of a Holocaust survivor. It shows the depth of what the human mind, body, and spirit can endure. It makes you think. How much risk would you take to help another? How much would you compromise yourself to live another day? Is survival possible without hope?

PBR Review: Here we have an emotional and compelling story about a black market child trafficking ring. It is inspired by true events, which for me, makes it all the more meaningful. Avery Stafford is a successful federal prosecutor with a More

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Talking Points: Base on a true story of child exploitation, shedding light on the evilness and greed that allowed these events to happen. It is so hard to imagine how the parents of the kidnapped children felt and impossible to fathom how something like this continued for so many years. Think about it and you can't wrap your head around the fact that Georgia Tann was known as THE MOTHER OF ADOPTION. This story will leave you with a strong need to Google more on this topic.

PBR Review: The premise of this book is not unusual, at least if you read a lot of historical fiction about WWI. And, yes this is a story about the Nazis, but their presence is muted in this tale. It does not mitigate the heinousness or the More

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Talking Points: Taking place during WWII, a time of unpredictability and danger, the story highlights events impacting both Germans and Jews. It tells of the bravery of many, events that divide and separate families and horrific acts by the Germans. The tale will cause you to question your own bravery and inner strength. This is also a story of love, grieving for what is lost and healing.

PBR Review: Iíve read a lot of World War II books, most detailing abominable acts against humanity. So, I was a bit surprised that I did not know about the events happening in this book. Be warned; this story portrays much evil and sufferin More

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Talking Points: The book is beautifully written, but deals with some tough issues. Aside from the mental and physical abuses the kidnapped women suffered, there is also the family left behind and how they cope with the pain and grief of not knowing the fate of their loved ones. The traditions and strength of the Haenyeo women is also noteworthy as is the despicable acts of the soldiers.

PBR Review: IF THE CREEK DONíT RISE is an in-depth portrayal of life in the Appalachian Mountains. I love character-driven novels, and all I can say is this one is fabulous. Itís page-turning, but itís not only the tension and suspense driv More

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Talking Points: The females in this story are diverse and strong but they do not always do the right thing. There is a cycle of violence, domestic abuse, and subjugation that seems to be an accepted part of this culture. Outsiders and change are rejected.

PBR Review: I loved this book for several reasons. To start with, Eliza Hamilton was a strong woman, and strong, inspirational women get me every time. I also love reading about the role women played in different eras and the contentment the More

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Talking Points: Eliza was a strong woman who was very much in love with her husband. This and the fact that she was a product of her times will make for great discussion. Alexander Hamilton was also a formidable man, and this story gives an intimate look at him as a husband, father and man. Some of the other Founding Fathers of America are also discussion worthy. Most will not be able to resist a comparisons to our current leadership. I know I couldn't.

PBR Review: One of the things I like most about this book is that, although a fictionalized account of a true person, it feels real. Itís also inspiring to read about a young woman ahead of her time. Sixteen year- ld Eliza Lucas is incredib More

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Talking Points: Eliza is a young woman who defies convention and perseveres to attain her goal, which is no small feat in the 1700s. The story touches on a lot of social issues of the South in this time period, like racial inequality, treatment of slaves and the rights of women. Contrasting the differences and similarities between then and now will certainly make for lively discussion, as the choices and actions of Eliza.

PBR Review: I was a big fan of this this authorís THE KITCHEN HOUSE, so when I read Glory Over Everything picks up where that story left off, I was thrilled and couldnít wait to read it. Glory Over Everything is a story that follows James Py More

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Talking Points: It is sad but also telling that a black man, fair skinned enough to live as a white man, struggles with who he is and is conflicted on what path to take as he continues to hide the secret of his parentage. This book will bring to light the issues of racism that continue to exist in our country and explores some tough questions about racial attitudes and prejudices.

PBR Review: I read Jim Fergusís first book, One Thousand White Woman. I loved it and knew the sequel was a must read. I finished this wonderful page-turner in two sittings. Donít worry too much if you havenít read the first book; you will t More

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Talking Points: The consequences of vengeance and the absurdity of the actions of the US government as well as the treatment of females and Native Americans all play a prominent role in this book. It is also interesting to see and contrast the different values of the Native Americans versus the White population during this era. The story examines taking chances and finding a new way of life and the depth of love a mother has for her child.

PBR Review: This is an intense story about Lilli, a young unwed mother in the late 1800s. Times were challenging for her, fiercely challenging; as she had so few options open to her. Lilli ended up in the Philadelphia Haven for Women and I More

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Talking Points: The main topic is that of an unwed mother; a powerful story of a mother and her child and the overwhelming burden society places on young girls in this condition. There is also much to discuss about the role of women and the class differences that existed. Without support from family, friends or society, daily life is all consuming for Lilly.

PBR Review: This is an excellent book for anyone who loves a good story about father-daughter relationships. Sally Cabot Gunning gives many heartwarming details about the intense and complex bond between Martha and her father, Thomas Jeffers More

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Talking Points: This book takes a look at the challenges of making a living in the South and being female in the late 1770s. The Jefferson family was conflicted on the concept of slavery. They disliked the idea but needed slaves to run their farms, so they tried to compensate by treating their slaves like workers. Martha was a strong, intelligent woman, but was limited by the customs of the time and her difficult marriage.
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