Historical Fiction is a genre I have a like/dislike relationship with. Ones that stick with me are about events in history I have very little knowledge about or approach a well-known event with new breath. If you’re not a fan of Historical Fiction, maybe one of these will be a new challenge or great as a gift for that fan of history in your life. I tend to enjoy this genre in audio format where the narrator has an accent and sweeps me away to another time. These were all new-to-me authors and ones I’ll be revisiting in the future.
I Will Send Rain – Rae Meadows (Aug. 9/ 272 p./ Henry Holt & Co.) The fractured Bell family aren’t the only characters that are well developed in this 1930s novel about the The Dust Bowl. It felt like a separate character altogether. I didn’t know much about it and yet Meadows’ atmospheric writing had me feeling the grit of the storms and gasping for air. The story is bleak and instead of banding together through tough times, the Bell family starts falling apart. After reading it, I was searching photos and came across this documentary. Riveting. A favorite this year.
“Maybe next year. Everything was maybe next year.”
The Underground Railroad – Colson Whitehead (Aug. 2/ 306 p./ Doubleday Books). I don’t like books about slavery. I put off reading this one for some time and ended up with the audio version. It truly deserves all the accolades, the style of writing is different than I have read and having an actual underground railroad was genius. But I just didn’t love it as most have. Still, I will never forget the story or the characters and Cora forever lives on in my mind.
“Cora didn’t know what optimistic meant. She asked the other girls that night if they were familiar with the word. None of them had heard it before. She decided that it meant trying.”
“A fast didn’t go fast; it was the slowest thing there was.Fast meant a door shut fast, firmly. A fastness, a fortress. To fast was to hold fast to emptiness, to say no and no and no again.”
“He had said that our lives are steered by uncertainties, many of which are disruptive or even daunting; but that if we persevere and remain generous of heart, we may be granted a moment of lucidity—a moment in which all that has happened to us suddenly comes into focus as a necessary course of events, even as we find ourselves on the threshold of the life we had been meant to lead all along.”