I am posting a bit late as life is just a rush right now but for today’s topic I want to give you the best historical fiction that I have read this year!
So let’s begin!
I must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys
That story is bleak and horrific.
And I don’t use these words to say that the book is a bad book. Not at all! On the contrary as I think Ruta Sepetys succeeded in immersing me under that suffocating regime or terror, where you mistrust everyone, where you are not free to speak, even in your own bathroom as the regime had cameras and listening devices everywhere!
This was mind boggling, thinking that even in your own house you would be spied upon.
What hurt and shocked in that book was to know that even after the revolution, decades after, families were still without answers about some beloved fate or discovered totally unexpected truths. That must leave gaping wounds in families ‘s souls.
I was horrified to see all the lies that were spun for a whole nation, isolating people in a pocket of oppression without people knowing that in other countries, it was better.
The “letter” or “journal excerpt” read by the end of the book had me in tears.
The Unknown Beloved by Amy Harmon
I loved seeing the political background and learning about the political plot against Ness when that one was perceived as a threat to others because he had set such high standards.
“Eliot never took a bribe, and that made him a legend. He set an impossible standard for himself and made every other politician look bad in the process. They haven’t forgiven him for that.”
Amy Harmon has written a gripping historical mystery that had me read in nearly one sitting, rooting for Dani and Malone’s story.
Signal Moon by Kate Quinn
I never ever read short stories.
But as Kate Quinn is my favorite author writing historical fiction and after having seen one for my friends loving it, I gave it a go and ..It’s brilliant!
In about 1,5 hours of audiobook, Kate Quinn made me fall for her heroine, Lily, trying desperately to help prevent Matt’s death in … 80 years to come!
From the very first sentences I could already feel and know who Lily Baines was as a woman. The same can be said when we met Matt. And that tells you a LOT about a writer’s skills and her ability to flesh out characters so well that they invade your life and become real persons to you!
Kate Quinn did a “tour de force” writing a historical fiction AND science fiction all rolled into one short story! That shouldn’t have worked but it does! Splendidly!
I was riveted from the first moment and the execution was spotless! I wanted to know how Matt’s ship would be saved, what these two working together 80 years apart would concoct as plan to avoid WWIII.
And my big winner of the year… Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus.
Bonnie Garmus gave us an unyielding and very determined heroine.
Elizabeth Zott has to be all that to be her own person, to create her path in life and follow her dreams. She turned to science in opposition to her father who was a con artist, a make believe man. She needed something concrete, tangible. And she was passionate about science, giving it everything. That made it even more unfair to see that brilliant woman being forced in the shadow of mediocre scientists just because they happened to be born male!
I was engrossed in that story, transported in the sixties with their sexism but also amazed at Elizabeth Zott’s determination and unwavering faith in her own intelligence and value. It was so hard in a world where a woman was just expected to stay at home and make babies.
Also praise for the narrator Miranda Raison who did a fantastic job impersonating Elizabeth Zott!
Thanks for reading!