Historical Fiction

Ahimsa, by Supriya Kelkar

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Ahimsa

Gripping historical fiction about a Brahmin girl whose mother joins the fight for India’s independence.

When Anjali and her best friend, Irfaan, get caught painting a Q (for Quit India) on the British colonial headquarters in their town, Anjali’s mother loses her job as the secretary of the British commander. Anjali’s life is upended as her parents join Mahatma Gandhi in the struggle for freedom from British rule, working for the release of political prisoners and organizing against colonial economic exploitation by boycotting British goods and refusing to provide labor or raw materials. As the British stoke divisons in her community, Anjali finds herself struggling to keep a good relationship between her Hindu family and Irfaan’s Muslim family, as well as with her own beliefs about the Dalits, a caste of Hindus who are either pitied or despised by the other castes. Based on the life of the author’s great -grandmother, this fast-paced novel offers historical insights into the lives of Indians who joined Gandhi and Dr. B.R. Ambedkar to help free India from colonial rule, religious division, and social prejudice, as well as a thoughtful exploration of relative privilege and the importance of listening to the people you think need your help. Great for fans of Chains and The War That Saved My Life. Published 2017.  –E.S.

Under A Painted Sky by Stacey Lee

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under a painted sky_web.jpgAll Samantha wanted was to move back to New York and pursue her music, which was difficult enough being a Chinese girl in Missouri, 1849. Then her fate takes a turn for the worse after a tragic accident leaves her with nothing and she breaks the law in self-defense. With help from Annamae, a runaway slave she met at the scene of her crime, the two flee town for the unknown frontier.

But life on the Oregon Trail is unsafe for two girls. Disguised as Sammy and Andy, two boys heading for the California gold rush, each search for a link to their past and struggle to avoid any unwanted attention. Until they merge paths with a band of cowboys turned allies, and Samantha can’t stop herself from falling for one. But the law is closing in on them and new setbacks come each day, and the girls will quickly learn there are not many places one can hide on the open trail.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

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pride and prejudice_web.jpgFirst published in 1813, Pride and Prejudice is one of the most popular and beloved British novels of all-time, maintaining its allure for contemporary readers everywhere and selling millions of copies worldwide! Jane Austen’s novel tells the story of the five unmarried Bennet sisters, daughters of a humble country squire, as they deal with the issues of marriage, manners, and upbringing in English country life.

Paper Hearts by Meg Wiviott

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paper hearts_web.jpgAn act of defiance.
A statement of hope.
A crime punishable by death.

Making a birthday card in Auschwitz was all of those things. But that is what Zlatka did, in 1944, for her best friend, Fania. She stole and bartered for paper and scissors, secretly creating an origami heart. Then she passed it to every girl at the work tables to sign with their hopes and wishes for happiness, for love, and most of all—for freedom.

Fania knew what that heart meant, for herself and all the other girls. And she kept it hidden, through the bitter days in the camp and through the death marches. She kept it always.

This novel is based on the true story of Fania and Zlatka, the story of the bond that helped them both to hope for the best in the face of the worst. Their heart is one of the few objects created in Auschwitz and can be seen today in the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre.

Mark of the Thief by Jennifer A. Nielsen

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mark of the thief_web.jpgWhen Nic, a slave in the mines outside of Rome, is forced to enter a sealed cavern containing the lost treasures of Julius Caesar, he finds much more than gold and gemstones: He discovers an ancient bulla, an amulet that belonged to the great Caesar and is filled with a magic once reserved for the Gods – magic some Romans would kill for.

Now, with the deadly power of the bulla pulsing through his veins, Nic is determined to become free. But instead, he finds himself at the center of a ruthless conspiracy to overthrow the emperor and spark the Praetor War, a battle to destroy Rome from within. Traitors and spies lurk at every turn, each more desperate than the next to use Nic’s newfound powers for their own dark purposes. In a quest to stop the rebellion, save Rome, and secure his own freedom, Nic must harness the magic within himself and defeat the empire’s most powerful and savage leaders.

In a quest to stop the rebellion, save Rome, and secure his own freedom, Nic must harness the magic within himself and defeat the empire’s most powerful and savage leaders.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

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jane eyre_web.jpgWhen Jane Eyre was first published in 1847, it became an instant bestseller, so popular that the publisher commissioned a second printing in just three months. The story of a young girl–plain, poor, and alone–who endures abuse, abandonment, and ridicule only to become a loving, compassionate young woman of great moral character remains Charlotte Bronte’s greatest achievement.

The Hired Girl by Laura Schlitz

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the hired girl_web.jpgFourteen-year-old Joan Skraggs, just like the heroines in her beloved novels, yearns for real life and true love. But what hope is there for adventure, beauty, or art on a hardscrabble farm in Pennsylvania where the work never ends? Over the summer of 1911, Joan pours her heart out into her diary as she seeks a new, better life for herself–because maybe, just maybe, a hired girl cleaning and cooking for six dollars a week can become what a farm girl could only dream of–a woman with a future.

Newbery Medalist Laura Amy Schlitz relates Joan’s journey from the muck of the chicken coop to the comforts of a society household in Baltimore (Electricity! Carpet sweepers! Sending out the laundry!), taking readers on an exploration of feminism and housework; religion and literature; love and loyalty; cats, hats, and bunions.