Don’t you love how books can transport you into a certain place and time without going anywhere?
You can place yourself in another person’s shoes through story and words.
And this is why I absolutely love historical fiction!
I have always loved reading and studying history and learning for the past.
There is a special gift we have in historical fiction by making the past relatable! It can make dates and dead people come alive!
I thought I’d share with you a couple of my favorites in American history set in the last 3 centuries.
I love sharing books with you all, and I hope you enjoy them!
- The Fiddler’s Gun by A. S. Peterson
I just love love love this story. It is set in the colony of Georgia during the 1700s while revolution is brewing. Fin Button is a girl on the cusp of adulthood living at an orphanage. She has the temper and spitfire unmatched by anyone she knows. She wants to leave the life she knows. She desperately wants to embark on new adventures. SO when she is forced to be the help in the kitchen to the cook, Bartimaeus, she thinks she’ll never get the life she wants. But she doesn’t know what secrets this old cook holds. She doesn’t know what their friendship will lead to. She doesn’t know pirates and rebellion are in her future.
This is an adventure filled novel that will leave you on the edge of your seat!
Oh, and there is a sequel titled The Fiddler’s Green!
- The Seeds of America Trilogy by Laurie Halse Anderson
I have only read the first one, but I have the second one checked out at the library. I absolutely loved Chains, the first book. This one follows a slave girl, Isabel, during the American Revolution. She and her sister are sold to new owners once their old owner dies. They were promised freedom once their owner passed on but are denied this promise. They now live with faithful Tories, loyal to England. She meets a slave-boy, Curzon, whose hope lies in the Rebels of the Throne. Isabel dives into the world of espionage to capture her own freedom and hopefully save her sister before it is too late.
I think there aren’t enough novels on slaves during the American Revolution. Though many people were fighting for freedom during this time, the slaves of the day did not receive the same freedom. I wonder how important the war was to them. Did it inspire them?
The 2nd book actually follows Curzon and the 3rd goes back to Isabel.
Hopefully you guys will see reviews of the last two in the near future!
Nightjohn by Gary Paulsen
This is a little book with much power. You will leave this story reminded of the power of literacy.
It is set in the 1850s at a slave plantation. A man called Nightjohn risks his life and returns to his slave plantation to teach others how to read. Sarny, a slave girl, decided to take the risk to be his student.
This book mirrors a heart-breaking reality of our past. The simple act of reading was denied to so many people in slavery. If someone was caught reading, it could warrant serious punishment.
Remember there are still people today that do not have access to education. This book inspires so many to be grateful for what we have learned.
- The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
I absolutely love studying the Civil War, and this probably is the best war centered novel I have ever read. The Civil War is definitely not the main war in this book but the protagonist’s own psychological one. He questions redemption, heroics, and how to make up for sins.
This story is beautifully written. One would think the author was actually a soldier in the war (he was not). It really makes you wonder why we value suffering and what is heroism. Crane adds so much realism to war and debunks the romanticism found in war novels. He makes us see that people are not one sided. No one always does good or evil. It matters more how you handle your good actions and your mistakes.
- The Logan Family Saga by Mildred D. Taylor
This is my favorite series of all time! I could read these books again and again. AND I have! The series begins with a Black family living in Mississippi during the 30s. Surrounded by sharecroppers, the Logans are unlike their neighbors. They actually own their land. With Harlan Granger, a greedy man who hates the Logan’s fortune due to their color, trying to get their land and the economic issues related to the Depression, they have to all fight to keep their familial land at all cost.
This saga threads so many themes through the characters and stories. The bond of family and community is always central. The Logans always fight for unity together. Despite the realities of the day, they persevere and learn. Each book is not just a glimpse into the past. Each book makes the struggles and lives of the African-American community so much more human.
- The Help by Kathyrn Stockett
This is such a delightful and humorous novel of power. It focuses on a forgotten group of America: the black women who tirelessly worked in white families’ homes as housekeepers. The help. The maids. The nannies. The child care. The cleaners.
It is set in Mississippi during the 60s. The story follows 3 women. A young white woman, who grew up with a dear maid. And two black maids who are good friends.
All 3 of them enter each other’s worlds like they never thought they would. They become a part of a plot that endangers their lives, but truth is always worth the risk.
~ Kenedy M.
All images courtesy of Google images.