New Historical Fiction

The Thread Collectors

Shaunna J. Edwards & Alyson Richman

In 1863, Stella, a black woman living in New Orleans, must say goodbye to William as he leaves to join the Union army. William is an enslaved flutist which saves him from the battlefield most of the time. Stella and William want to marry but cannot since Stella is owned by a white landowner who takes advantage of her on a regular basis. She soon becomes pregnant. Stella has a remarkable talent for using thread over and over again. Nothing is ever wasted. She is able to cleverly reuse thread to create maps that help slaves escape.

In New York City, Lily, a Jewish woman, suffragette, and abolitionist must say goodbye to her husband Jacob, a trombonist, composer, and Union army musician. Lily contributes to the abolitionist movement in New York.

William and Jacob develop a friendship because of their music while serving in the army. They are invited to entertain those in authority. Happily their friendship continues long after the Civil War.

This is an interesting story demonstrating the often degrading treatment of Black and Jewish soldiers during the Civil War.


New fiction

So Long, Chester Wheeler

Catherine Ryan Hyde

Lewis Madigan’s elderly neighbor Chester Wheeler is dying of cancer. Several of his home healthcare aides have quit. Chester is a very difficult person to be around for a variety of reasons, and his family will not take care of him. Chester’s daughter Ellie is desperate to find someone to take the job and finally convinces Lewis to give it a try. Lewis is desperate for money and Ellie has promised a generous paycheck.

Lewis is good with Chester. He ignores a lot and hollers back at Chester. Chester has a final trip in mind and Lewis agrees to drive Chester’s old Winnebago cross county to visit his ex-wife. After many difficult days of traveling, the pair finally make it to Sue’s home, but she refuses to talk to Chester and refuses to allow him in her home. With Lewis’ help, Sue and Chester are able to talk things over. Before heading back home, Sue suggests that they travel to visit Chester’s friend Mike. They served together in Vietnam and have things to talk over.

On the way back home, Chester dies.

Home healthcare aide becomes Lewis’ new profession. He eventually decides to become a nurse but promises not to quit helping another very difficult patient. His schooling is placed on hold for a time to fulfill his promise.


New historical fiction

Peril in Paris by Rhys Bowen

Set in 1936, Darcy and Georgiana are expecting their first child when Darcy must travel to Paris. He invites Georgiana along who will be able to spend time in Paris with her best friend, Belinda. Belinda works for Coco Chanel, the French fashion designer. There are significant fashion shows taking place at the time Georgiana is visiting, so Belinda will be busy with work.

Darcy is on some kind of dangerous assignment in Paris when he asks Georgiana to intercept microfilm at one of Chanel’s fashion shows. Gerda Goldberg’s scientist husband has developed a poison gas detector the Nazis want. Gerda, a friend of Nazi leader Hermann Goring’s wife, will be in attendance at the show, and so will Georgiana. Gerda will have the microfilm and will give it to Georgiana.

The woman sitting in Gerda Goldberg’s seat at the fashion show was not Gerda. A pushy American woman from Pennsylvania took Gerda’s seat and ended up dead. Cyanide meant for Gerda was accidently given to the American.

This is the 16th entry in the “Royal Spyness Mystery” series. This series is just plain fun!


New Historical Fiction

by Noelle Salazar

In 1940 during WWII, the Nazis occupied Haarlem, Netherlands. Lien and older sister Elif were teenagers when this happened. Both wanted to become part of the Dutch Resistance. Elif joined first. Before their father passed away, he taught the girls how to shoot. The pair underwent demanding training in order to become essential members of the Resistance. They were called upon to blow up bridges and trains, throw grenades, detonate bombs and occasionally kill someone. Lien became the marksman which became particularly useful on some of their assigned missions.

A great book for fans of WWII fiction!

The book is based on real-life sister operatives, sisters Truus and Freddie Oversteegen.


Historical nonfiction treat

Once Upon a Town: the Miracle of the North Platte Canteen

by Bob Greene

Written in 2002, this is a portrait of the North Platte Canteen in North Platte, Nebraska. From December 17, 1941 until the end of World War II more than six million GIs traveling in troop trains stopped in North Platte on their way to the Pacific coast. In this small city of 12,000, the young men and women were welcomed, thanked, and treated to a feast. There they enjoyed coffee, home-cooked food, and friendly conversation.

From 1941 until the canteen closed, 55,000 volunteers from 125 different towns, some 200 miles away, gave both food and time to make sure not one of these trains were missed and that each soldier was fed. Given the shortages and rationing at the time, it was a miracle. (The only federal funding received was a $5.00 bill from President Roosevelt. He had heard about the Canteen and wanted to help.)

The original idea for the Canteen came from Rae Wilson, a young salesperson at the local drugstore. The citizens of North Platte were expecting Company D.134th Infantry of the local National Guard unit to pass through the town on the way to the Pacific Coast on Christmas Day 1941. That day there was a Company D that came through, but it was a Kansas unit of the National Guard. The community shared what they had with those soldiers and decided to make it their mission to welcome all GI’s that passed through.

For more information you will want to take a look at the following website.


My Top Ten in 2022

The Book Woman’s Daughter by Kim Michele Richardson

Bestselling historical fiction author Kim Michele Richardson is back with the perfect book club read following Honey Lovett, the daughter of the beloved Troublesome book woman, who must fight for her own independence with the help of the women who guide her and the books that set her free.

The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn

Known as Lady Death – a lethal hunter of Nazis, Mila Pavlichenko, sent to America on a goodwill tour, forms an unexpected friendship with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and a connection with a silent fellow sniper, offering her a chance at happiness until her past returns with a vengeance.

The Last Mona Lisa by Jonathan Santlofer

From award-winning crime writer and celebrated artist Jonathan Santlofer comes an enthralling tale about the 1911 theft of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre, the forgeries that appeared in its wake, and the present-day underbelly of the art world.

Love & Saffron by Kim Fay

When 27-year-old Joan Bergstrom sends a fan letter – as well as a gift of saffron – to 59-year-old food writer Imogen Fortier, so begins an enduring friendship that sustains them through the Cuban Missile Crisis, the assassination of President Kennedy and the unexpected in their own lives.

Marrying the Ketchups by Jennifer Close

When Bud, the founder of JP Sullivan’s, drops dead, everyone in the Sullivan family finds themselves doubting all they hold dear, in this comedy of manners about three generations of a Chicago restaurant family and the deep-fried love that feeds them.

Right Sort of Man by Allison Montclair

Organizing a matchmaking business together in spite of their differences, two women from 1946 London find their promising company endangered when one of their clients is arrested for the murder of another.

Switchboard Soldiers by Jennifer Chiaverini

In 1917, Grace Banker from N.J., Marie Moissec from France, and Valerie DeSmedt, originally from Belgium, are recruited as a telephone operators, aka switchboard solders, to help American forces communicate between troops as bombs fell around them.

The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle by Jennifer Ryan

After losing everything in the London Blitz, renowned fashion designer Cressida Westcott heads to the country where she inspires a local village sewing group to mend wedding dresses for both local brides and brides across the county, helping others celebrate love while searching for it themselves.

West with Giraffes by Lynda Ruttledge

Inspired by true events, this part adventure, part historical saga and part coming-of-age love story follows Woodrow Wilson Nickel as he recalls his journey in 1938 to deliver Southern California’s first giraffes to the San Diego Zoo.

Wild Irish Rose by Rhys Bowen

In 1907, after helping distribute clothing to those in need on Ellis Island, Molly discovers, through her policeman husband, that a murder occurred on the island that day and the suspect is the spitting image of her and feels strongly that fate wants her to clear this woman’s name.


Not my usual post

Lou, the fire hydrant, is depressed. He feels that he must have a greater purpose than his current relationship with dogs and dog walkers. When a fire breaks out in a nearby apartment building, Lou is the hero.

This is a debut picture book by author/illustrator Breanna Carzoo. The book assures the reader that they are capable of so much. A cute, sweet book with a wonderful message for all.

According to Kirkus, “Gee whiz, this book is No. 1! (Picture book. 5-8)


New Historical Fiction

The Lindbergh Nanny by Mariah Fredericks

This historical fiction novel is told from the perspective of Betty Gow, the Lindbergh’s 26-year-old Scottish nanny. Betty observed early on that the Lindbergh’s were very distant from their child and their home. Betty was ready to fill the gap and fell quickly in love with the little boy. She was the one who was responsible for the daily care of the toddler, Charles Lindbergh Jr.

On Tuesday, March 1, 1932, the child was kidnapped from the family home. The Lindbergh’s had built a twenty-room stone house on 390 remote acres near Hopewell, New Jersey. They were looking for privacy after Charles’ transatlantic flight from New York to Paris five years earlier. He was considered a hero.

The first suspect in the kidnapping was the nanny, Betty Gow. She was determined to clear her name from suspicion and help uncover what happened that night. All window shutters in the baby’s room were closed tight except for one. That shutter was warped and impossible to close. It was determined that the kidnapper came through that window and took the child leaving a ransom note demanding $50,000.

The toddler was eventually found dead seventy-three days later. The accused kidnapper, Bruno Richard Hauptmann, was arrested two and a half years later. Hauptmann was executed for the murder on Friday, April 3, 1936.

This is a treat for fans of historical fiction. There is still a lot of mystery surrounding the kidnapping and death of Charles Lindbergh Jr. The author offers a possible solution based a much research.

Betty Gow


The Seven Husbands…

79-year-old former Hollywood actor Evelyn Hugo is ready to tell her story. She handpicks an inexperienced magazine journalist, Monique Grant, to write her biography. Monique is confused but delighted to be hired to write the legendary film actor’s life story. One requirement Evelyn insists upon is that the book must be published after her death. Evelyn also promises that all proceeds from the sale of the book will go to Monique.

Evelyn has much to share. She was born to Cuban immigrants in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. She knew she needed more than that life. So, in the 1950’s Evelyn changed her appearance, got married, and headed to Hollywood. The book follows her life for the next 30+ years. Beautiful Evelyn became an adored Oscar winning movie icon who just happened to get married seven times.

This is an incredible story of old Hollywood glamour. Finally at the end of the book, Monique discovers why she was chosen to write Evelyn’s story.


Historical Fiction

In September 1938 a hurricane ripped through the East Coast. This is the story of two young giraffes that crossed the Atlantic in shipping crates and survived the storm. Their eventual destination would be the San Diego Zoo where Belle Benchley was the zoo’s director. The trip to California would be a twelve-day road trip and the person telling their story is the rig’s driver, Woodrow (Woody) Wilson Nickle. (Woody was a dustbowl orphan from the Texas panhandle.) Now at 105 years old Woody, who is living in a VA nursing home, is writing down the adventures before it is too late.

The trip cross country made headlines and won the hearts of Depression-era America. The trip was dangerous at times. The roads and the weather were often rough. A couple of times different people tried to steal the giraffes. The “Old Man” who oversaw the giraffes and was employed by the Zoo named them “Boy” and “Girl”.

This is a witty, charming, heartwarming, not to-be-forgotten tale