My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura KamoieStarring: Eliza Schuyler Hamilton, wife of American founding father Alexander Hamilton -- a complex and determined woman who contributed much to the birth of the United States while enduring many personal and public tribulations.
For fans of: the musical Hamilton who are hungry for more about this Revolutionary War-era figure.
You might also like: I, Eliza Hamilton by Susan Scott Holloway and The Hamilton Affair by Elizabeth Cobbs.
Varina by Charles FrazierWhat it’s about: Varina Davis, wife of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederate States of America during the U.S. Civil War, learns that her marriage of security and comfort comes at a steep price.
Why you might like it: If you enjoyed bestselling author Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain, you will rejoice as he returns to the same time period in U.S. history.
Read it for: the fascinating character study of Varina Davis through which we can ponder topics like culpability and complicity.
The Room on Rue Amélie by Kristin HarmelWhat it’s about: Three disparate characters are drawn together in Nazi-occupied Paris: Ruby Benoit, an American newlywed with questions about her secretive French husband; Ruby’s Jewish neighbor, 11-year-old Charlotte Dacher; and British Royal Air Force pilot Thomas Clarke.
Why you should read it: This poignant tale is based loosely on the true story of an American woman who aided Allied soldiers in Paris as part of a resistance group called the Comet Line.
For fans of: World War II-era fiction like Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale and Martha Kelly’s Lilac Girls.
Ecstasy by Mary SharrattWhat it’s about: Set amid the spectacular whirl of turn-of-the-20th-century Vienna, Ecstasy introduces readers to aspiring composer Alma Schindler, who -- while capturing the heart of the much-older conductor Gustav Mahler -- dares to defy the expectations of her time.
Who it’s for: Readers who like strong female heroines, especially women in history whose stories deserve to be better known.
You might also like: Elizabeth Hickey's The Painted Kiss, about the relationship between painter Gustav Klimt and Emilie Fleoge.
The Courtesan by Alexandra CurryWhat it’s about: Born during Dowager Empress Cixi's reign, legendary Qing dynasty courtesan Sai Jinhua witnesses numerous transitions throughout her long and eventful life. From being sold to a brothel for a handful of coins at the age of seven to traveling to Vienna as the concubine of a government official, Jinhua’s story reaches a dangerous climax during the Boxer Rebellion.
For fans of: Authors Lisa See and Amy Tan as well as Arthur Golden’s Memoirs of a Geisha.
The Other Alcott by Elise HooperIntroducing: May Alcott, sister and rival to Louisa May Alcott and the model for Amy March in Louisa’s classic Little Women, who aspires to greatness in the male-dominated art world.
Reviewers say: “Not to be missed” (Library Journal).
You might also like: Marie Benedict’s The Other Einstein, which also focuses on a less well-known relative of a historical icon, or Priya Parmar's Vanessa and Her Sister, another biographical historical novel that addresses complex sisterly relationships.
The Mapmaker's Daughter: The Confessions of Nurbanu Sultan, 1525-1583 by Katherine Nouri HughesWhat it’s about: From her deathbed, Cecilia Baffo Veniero -- the illegitimate daughter of a Venetian mapmaker -- recounts the story of her rise to become Queen Mother Nurbanu, the most powerful woman in the Ottoman Empire.
Media buzz: The Netflix series Magnificent Century is loosely based on Nurbanu’s dramatic life story.
Further reading: The Architect’s Apprentice by Elif Shafak, which is also set in the Ottoman Empire during the 16th century.
The Moon in the Palace by Weina Dai RandelWhat it’s about: In Tang Dynasty China, 12-year-old Mei believes that her life is over when her father dies and her family is cast out of their home. But Mei’s fortunes change when she is summoned to the emperor’s palace to serve as one of 15 maidens in the Inner Court.
Is it for you? If you like historical fiction with a heavy dose of romance, don’t miss this lush and sweeping page-turner (and make note that the sequel is The Empress of Bright Moon).
The Gardens of Consolation by Parisa RezaFeaturing: the Amir family: Sardar and his young bride, Talla, whose arranged marriage is also founded on love, and their bright university-educated son, Bahram.
Why you might like it: The growth of the Amir family is set against the changing political climate of early 20th-century Iran.
About the author: Debut author Parisa Reza emigrated from Iran to France as a teenager in the 1980s; The Gardens of Consolation received the 2015 Prix Senghor for a debut novel by a Francophone writer.
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