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The Summer I Met Jack by Michelle GableWhat it is: an inspired-by-real-life tale of love, politics, and glamour, starring a young Jack Kennedy -- an up-and-coming congressman from Hyannis Port, MA -- and Alicia Darr, the Polish immigrant with whom he fell in love.
For fans of: multi-generational family sagas -- or, of course, the Kennedy family.
Reviewers say: “An alternate Kennedy family history that will leave readers wondering whether America knew the real JFK at all” (Kirkus Reviews).
The Wanderers by Tim PearsWhat it’s about: In 1912 England, just after the events in The Horseman, 13-year-old horseman Leo Sercombe has been banished from home because of his love for the master’s daughter, Lottie. He is surviving alone -- but just barely. Will he and Lottie ever find each other again?
Try this next: If you like the quiet, lyrical writing style in this 2nd in the West Country trilogy, you might also like Rae Meadows’ I Will Draw Rain.
A View of the Empire at Sunset by Caryl PhillipsWhat it is: Award-winning British author Caryl Phillips imagines the life of Jean Rhys -- the author of Wide Sargasso Sea, the prequel to Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre -- who was born Ella Gwendolyn Williams and whose life began in the West Indies. Sent to Edwardian England as a teenager, she was consistently an outsider.
Further reading: For more biographical fiction about women authors, try The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg, Miss Emily by Nuala O’Connor, and Jane Austen’s First Love by Syrie James.
The Removes by Tatjana SoliFeaturing: fifteen-year-old Anne Cummins, who is the sole survivor after her family is brutally attacked on their homestead by the Cheyenne; and Libbie Custer, who faces a difficult life on the plains with her husband, Civil War hero General George Armstrong Custer.
Why you might like it: This thrilling historical novel is an epic tale of the clashing cultures on the American frontier.
For further reading: Savage Country by Robert Olmstead, which also focuses on women settlers in the American West.
The Madonna of the Mountains by Elise ValmorbidaWhat it’s about: In 1923 Italy, 25-year-old Maria Vittoria is almost too old to marry, but her life’s path changes when she weds Achille, a veteran of the Great War. Together they open a small grocery, and over the next few decades, Maria experiences all the good and the bad that life offers.
Is it for you? Yes, if you like multi-generational sagas about women’s lives, Italian history, and are interested in the period between the World Wars.
World, Chase Me Down by Andrew HillemanWhat it’s about: In the first great crime of the 20th century, an out-of-work butcher, Pat Crowe, makes a name for himself when he kidnaps the teenage son of a meatpacking tycoon and ransoms him for $25,000 -- and that’s just the start of Crowe’s incredible story, which takes him around the globe as he evades capture.
Why you might like it: If you like raucous, bawdy antiheroes whom you can’t help but cheer for, World, Chase Me Down will hit the spot.
The Outcasts by Kathleen KentStarring: epileptic prostitute Lucinda Carter, who plans to rendezvous with her lover and hunt for buried treasure in tiny Middle Bayou, Texas; and Oklahoma transplant and new police recruit Nate Cannon, who has been tasked with tracking down murderer William McGill.
Read it for: the surprising convergence of these parallel storylines, as the colorful characters at the heart of them pursue their separate goals. Also watch for the richly atmospheric and starkly beautiful landscape of post-Civil War Texas.
You might also like: the female outlaw in Courtney Collins' The Untold.
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