Fall 2019 Historical Fiction

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Cilka's Journey : A Novel.

Cilka's Journey : A Novel.

Morris, Heather.
2019

From the author of the multi-million copy bestseller The Tattooist of Auschwitz comes a new novel based on a riveting true story of love and resilience.

Her beauty saved her -- and condemned her.

Cilka is just sixteen years old when she is taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp in 1942, where the commandant immediately notices how beautiful she is. Forcibly separated from the other women prisoners, Cilka learns quickly that power, even unwillingly taken, equals survival.

When the war is over and the camp is liberated, freedom is not granted to Cilka: She is charged as a collaborator for sleeping with the enemy and sent to a Siberian prison camp. But did she really have a choice? And where do the lines of morality lie for Cilka, who was send to Auschwitz when she was still a child?

In Siberia, Cilka faces challenges both new and horribly familiar, including the unwanted attention of the guards. But when she meets a kind female doctor, Cilka is taken under her wing and begins to tend to the ill in the camp, struggling to care for them under brutal conditions.

Confronting death and terror daily, Cilka discovers a strength she never knew she had. And when she begins to tentatively form bonds and relationships in this harsh, new reality, Cilka finds that despite everything that has happened to her, there is room in her heart for love.

From child to woman, from woman to healer, Cilka's journey illuminates the resilience of the human spirit--and the will we have to survive.

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A Cruel Deception : A Bess Crawford Mystery.

A Cruel Deception : A Bess Crawford Mystery.

Todd, Charles.
2019

In the aftermath of World War I, nurse Bess Crawford attempts to save a troubled former soldier from a mysterious killer in this eleventh book in the beloved Bess Crawford mystery series from New York Times bestselling author Charles Todd.

The Armistice of November 1918 ended the fighting, but the Great War will not be over until a Peace Treaty is drawn up and signed by all parties. Representatives from the Allies are gathering in Paris, and already ominous signs of disagreement have appeared.

Sister Bess Crawford, who has been working with the severely wounded in England in the war's wake, is asked to carry out a personal mission in Paris for a Matron at the London headquarters of The Queen Alexandra's.

Bess is facing decisions about her own future, even as she searches for the man she is charged with helping. When she does locate Lawrence Minton, she finds a bitter and disturbed officer who has walked away from his duties at the Peace Conference and is well on his way toward an addiction to opiates. When she confronts him with the dangers of using laudanum, he tells her that he doesn't care if he lives or dies, as long as he can find oblivion. But what has changed him? What is it that haunts him? He can't confide in Bess--because the truth is so deeply buried in his mind that he can only relive it in nightmares. The officers who had shared a house with him in Paris profess to know nothing--still, Bess is reluctant to trust them even when they offer her their help. But where to begin on her own?

What is driving this man to a despair so profound it can only end with death? The war? Something that happened in Paris? To prevent a tragedy, she must get at the truth as quickly as possible--which means putting herself between Lieutenant Minton and whatever is destroying him. Or is it whoever?

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Death in focus

Death in focus

Perry, Anne, author
2019

In the start of an all-new mystery series set in pre-World War II Europe, an intrepid young photographer carries her dead lover's final, world-shattering message into the heart of Berlin as Hitler ascends to power.

On vacation from London on the beautiful Italian coast, twenty-eight-year-old Elena Standish and her older sister, Margot, have finally been able to move on from the lasting trauma of the Great War, in which the newly married Margot lost her husband and the sisters their beloved brother. Touring with her camera in hand, Elena has found new inspiration in the striking Italian landscape, and she's met an equally striking man named Ian. When Ian has to leave unexpectedly, Elena--usually the more practical of the sisters--finds she's not ready to part from him, and the two share a spontaneous train trip home to England. But a shocking sequence of events disrupts their itinerary, forcing Elena to personally deliver a message to Berlin on Ian's behalf, one that could change the fate of Europe.

Back home, Elena's diplomat father and her secretive grandfather--once head of MI6, unbeknownst to his family--are involved in their own international machinations. Worried when Elena still hasn't returned from Italy, her grandfather starts to connect the dots between her change in plans and an incident in Berlin, where Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich are on the rise. It seems the message Elena delivered has forced her into a dangerous predicament, and her grandfather's old contacts from MI6 may be the only people who can get her out alive--if Elena can tell the difference between her allies and her enemies.

New York Times bestselling author Anne Perry merges family secrets with suspense on the world stage, as darkness bubbles under the surface of a Europe on the brink of change. In these complicated times, Elena emerges as a strong new heroine who learns quickly that when nothing is certain, she can rely only on herself.

Advance praise for Death in Focus

"Masterful! It's exceedingly rare for an author to have the talent to blend classic elements of a thriller with compelling family dynamics and geopolitical intrigue, but Anne Perry pulls it off like the consummate pro that she is. And, on top of all that, Death in Focus is written in her unique literary voice. I guarantee you'll love Elena Standish. Brava!" -- Jeffery Deaver, author of The Never Game

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The devil's slave

The devil's slave

Borman, Tracy, author
2019

At the end of The King's Witch , the first book in Tracy Borman's Stuart-era trilogy, Frances Gorges was pregnant with the child of her dead lover, Thomas Wintour, executed for his role as a conspirator in the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Now, in The Devil's Slave , Frances is compelled to return to the dissolute and dangerous court where she has been suspected of witchcraft.

Catholics have gone underground in the new Puritan regime of King James I, and yet whispers of conspiracies continue to echo behind closed doors and down the halls of the royal palaces. Against this perilous backdrop, accompanied by her son George and her husband Sir Thomas Tyringham--whom she married conveniently to mask the true identity of her son's father--Frances reunites with her former mistress, the Princess Elizabeth, now of marriageable age, as well as other less friendly membersof the court: Prince Henry, heir to the crown who emulates his father's brutality without scruple; Lord Cecil, eager to persecute Frances as a witch even as his own health rapidly declines; and King James himself, ever more paranoid and cruel towards alleged heretics and traitors. Yet a surprising ally emerges in the person of Sir Walter Raleigh, himself a prisoner in the Tower of London. With more lives than merely her own on the line, Frances soon finds herself caught in a spider's web ofsecrets, promises, and plots.

Tracy Borman brings to life vivid characters from history, recreating the ever-treacherous court of the first Stuart king, and a historical period that has fascinated readers for centuries.

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The difference

The difference

Endicott, Marina, 1958- author
2019

From one of our most critically acclaimed and beloved storytellers comes a sweeping novel set on board the Morning Light , a Nova Scotian merchant ship sailing through the south pacific in 1912.

Kay and Thea are half-sisters, separated in age by almost twenty years, but deeply attached. When their stern father dies, Thea returns to Nova Scotia for her long-promised marriage to the captain of the Morning Light . But she cannot abandon her orphaned young sister, so Kay too embarks on a life-changing voyage to the other side of the world.

At the heart of The Difference is a crystallizing moment in Micronesia: Thea, still mourning a miscarriage, forms a bond with a young boy from a remote island and takes him on board as her own son. Over time, the repercussions of this act force Kay, who considers the boy her brother, to examine her own assumptions--which are increasingly at odds with those of society around her--about what is forgivable and what is right.

Inspired by a true story, Endicott shows us a now-vanished world in all its wonder, and in its darkness, prejudice and difficulty, too. She also brilliantly illuminates our present time through Kay's examination of the idea of "difference"--between people, classes, continents, cultures, customs and species. The Difference is a breathtaking novel by a writer with an astonishing ability to bring past worlds vividly to life while revealing the moral complexity of our own.

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The fifth column

The fifth column

Gross, Andrew, 1952- author
2019

#1 New York Times bestselling author of The One Man Andrew Gross once again delivers a tense, stirring thriller of a family torn apart set against the backdrop of a nation plunged into war.

February, 1939. Europe teeters on the brink of war. In New York City, twenty-two thousand cheering Nazi supporters pack Madison Square Garden for a raucous, hate-filled rally. In a Hell's Kitchen bar, Charles Mossman is reeling from the loss of his job and the demise of his marriage when a group draped in Nazi flags barges in. Drunk, Charlie takes a swing at one with tragic results and a torrent of unintended consequences follows.

Two years later. America is wrestling with whether to enter the growing war. Charles's estranged wife and six-year-old daughter, Emma, now live in a quiet brownstone in the German-speaking New York City neighborhood of Yorkville, where support for Hitler is common. Charles, just out of prison, struggles to put his life back together, while across the hall from his family, a kindly Swiss couple, Trudi and Willi Bauer, have taken a liking to Emma. But Charles begins to suspect that they might not be who they say they are.

As the threat of war grows, and fears of a "fifth column"--German spies embedded into everyday life--are everywhere, Charles puts together that the seemingly amiable Bauers may be part of a sinister conspiracy. When Pearl Harbor is attacked and America can no longer sit on the sideline, that conspiracy turns into a deadly threat with Charles the only one who can see it and Emma, an innocent pawn.

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Greenwood : A Novel.

Greenwood : A Novel.

Christie, Michael.
2019

LONGLISTED FOR THE 2019 SCOTIABANK GILLER PRIZE

From the award-winning author of If I Fall, If I Die comes a propulsive, multigenerational family story, in which the unexpected legacies of a remote island off the coast of British Columbia will link the fates of five people over a hundred years. Cloud Atlas meets The Overstory in this ingenious nested-ring epic set against the devastation of the natural world.

They come for the trees. It is 2038. As the rest of humanity struggles through the environmental collapse known as the Great Withering, scientist Jake Greenwood is working as an overqualified tour guide on Greenwood Island, a remote oasis of thousand-year-old trees. Jake had thought the island's connection to her family name just a coincidence, until someone from her past reappears with a book that might give her the family history she's long craved. From here, we gradually move backwards in time to the years before the First World War, encountering along the way the men and women who came before Jake: an injured carpenter facing the possibility of his own death, an eco-warrior trying to atone for the sins of her father's rapacious timber empire, a blind tycoon with a secret he will pay a terrible price to protect, and a Depression-era drifter who saves an abandoned infant from certain death, only to find himself the subject of a country-wide manhunt. At the very centre of the book is a tragedy that will bind the fates of two boys together, setting in motion events whose reverberations we see unfold over generations, as the novel moves forward into the future once more.
A magnificent novel of inheritance, sacrifice, nature, and love that takes its structure from the nested growth rings of a tree, Greenwood spans generations to tell the story of a family living and dying in the shadows cast by its own secrets. With this breathtaking feat of storytelling, Michael Christie masterfully reveals the tangled knot of lies, omissions, and half-truths that exists at the root of every family's origin story.

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How Fires End : A Novel.

How Fires End : A Novel.

Rafalà, Marco.
2019

A dark secret born out of World War II lies at the heart of a Sicilian American family in this emotional and sweeping saga of guilt, revenge, and, ultimately, redemption.

After soldiers vacate the Sicilian hillside town of Melilli in the summer of 1943, the locals celebrate, giving thanks to their patron saint, Sebastian. Amid the revelry, all it takes is one fateful moment for the destiny of nine-year-old Salvatore Vassallo to change forever. When his twin brothers are killed playing with an unexploded mortar shell, Salvatore's faith is destroyed. As the family unravels, and fear ignites among their neighbors that the Vassallo name is cursed, one tragedy begets another.

Desperate to escape this haunting legacy, Salvatore accepts the help of an Italian soldier with fascist ties who ushers him and his sister, Nella, into a new beginning in America. In Middletown, Connecticut, in the immigrant neighborhood known as Little Melilli, these three struggle to build new lives for themselves. But a dangerous choice to keep their secrets hidden erupts in violence decades later. When Salvatore loses his inquisitive American-born son, David, they all learn too late the price sons pay for their fathers' wars.

Written with elegiac prose, How Fires End delves into the secret wars of men; the sins they cannot bury; and a life lived in fear of who will reveal them, who will survive them, and who will forgive them.

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The last train to London

The last train to London

Clayton, Meg Waite, author
2019

The New York Times bestselling author of Beautiful Exiles conjures her best novel yet, a pre-World War II-era story with the emotional resonance of Orphan Train and All the Light We Cannot See, centering on the Kindertransports that carried thousands of children out of Nazi-occupied Europe--and one brave woman who helped them escape to safety.



In 1936, the Nazi are little more than loud, brutish bores to fifteen-year old Stephan Neuman, the son of a wealthy and influential Jewish family and budding playwright whose playground extends from Vienna's streets to its intricate underground tunnels. Stephan's best friend and companion is the brilliant Zofie-Helene, a Christian girl whose mother edits a progressive, anti-Nazi newspaper. But the two adolescents' carefree innocence is shattered when the Nazis' take control.

There is hope in the darkness, though. Truus Wijsmuller, a member of the Dutch resistance, risks her life smuggling Jewish children out of Nazi Germany to the nations that will take them. It is a mission that becomes even more dangerous after the Anschluss--Hitler's annexation of Austria--as, across Europe, countries close their borders to the growing number of refugees desperate to escape.

Tante Truus, as she is known, is determined to save as many children as she can. After Britain passes a measure to take in at-risk child refugees from the German Reich, she dares to approach Adolf Eichmann, the man who would later help devise the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question," in a race against time to bring children like Stephan, his young brother Walter, and Zofie-Helene on a perilous journey to an uncertain future abroad.

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The rabbit girls

The rabbit girls

Ellory, Anna, author
2019

Berlin, 1989. As the wall between East and West falls, Miriam Winter cares for her dying father, Henryk. When he cries out for someone named Frieda--and Miriam discovers an Auschwitz tattoo hidden under his watch strap--Henryk's secret history begins to unravel.

Searching for more clues of her father's past, Miriam finds an inmate uniform from the Ravensbrück women's camp concealed among her mother's things. Within its seams are dozens of letters to Henryk written by Frieda. The letters reveal the disturbing truth about the 'Rabbit Girls', young women experimented on at the camp. And amid their tales of sacrifice and endurance, Miriam pieces together a love story that has been hidden away in Henryk's heart for almost fifty years.

Inspired by these extraordinary women, Miriam strives to break through the walls she has built around herself. Because even in the darkest of times, hope can survive.

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Relative fortunes

Relative fortunes

Benn, Marlowe, author
2019

In 1920s New York, the price of a woman's independence can be exorbitant--even fatal.

In 1924 Manhattan, women's suffrage is old news. For sophisticated booklover Julia Kydd, life's too short for politics. With her cropped hair and penchant for independent living, Julia wants only to launch her own new private press. But as a woman, Julia must fight for what's hers--including the inheritance her estranged half brother, Philip, has challenged, putting her aspirations in jeopardy.

When her friend's sister, Naomi Rankin, dies suddenly of an apparent suicide, Julia is shocked at the wealthy family's indifference toward the ardent suffragist's death. Naomi chose poverty and hardship over a submissive marriage and a husband's control of her money. Now, her death suggests the struggle was more than she could bear.

Julia, however, is skeptical. Doubtful of her suspicions, Philip proposes a glib wager: if Julia can prove Naomi was in fact murdered, he'll drop his claims to her wealth. Julia soon discovers Naomi's life was as turbulent and enigmatic as her death. And as she gets closer to the truth, Julia sees there's much more at stake than her inheritance...

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A single thread

A single thread

Chevalier, Tracy, author
2019

An immersive, moving story of a woman coming into her own at the dawn of the Second World War, from internationally bestselling author Tracy Chevalier

1932. After the Great War took both her beloved brother and her fiancé, Violet Speedwell has become a "surplus woman," one of a generation doomed to a life of spinsterhood after the war killed so many young men. Yet Violet cannot reconcile herself to a life spent caring for her grieving, embittered mother. After countless meals of boiled eggs and dry toast, she saves enough to move out of her mother's place and into the town of Winchester, home to one of England's grandest cathedrals. There, Violet is drawn into a society of broderers--women who embroider kneelers for the Cathedral, carrying on a centuries-long tradition of bringing comfort to worshippers.

Violet finds support and community in the group, fulfillment in the work they create, and even a growing friendship with the vivacious Gilda. But when forces threaten her new independence and another war appears on the horizon, Violet must fight to put down roots in a place where women aren't expected to grow. Told in Chevalier's glorious prose, A Single Thread is a timeless story of friendship, love, and a woman crafting her own life.

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The Titanic secret

The Titanic secret

Cussler, Clive, author
2019

When Isaac Bell attempts to decipher the forbidding deaths of nine men, he encounters a secret so powerful it could dictate the fate of the world in this riveting thriller by the #1 New York Times -bestselling author.

A century apart, NUMA Director Dirk Pitt and detective Isaac Bell team up to unlock the truth about the most famous maritime disaster of all time.

In the present day, Pitt makes a daring rescue from inside an antiquated submersible in the waters off New York City. His reward afterwards is a document left behind a century earlier by legendary detective Isaac Bell--a document that re-opens a historical mystery...

In 1911, in Colorado, Isaac Bell is asked to look into an unexplained tragedy at Little Angel Mine, in which nine people died. His dangerous quest to answer the riddle leads to a larger puzzle centered on byzanium, a rare element with extraordinary powers and of virtually incalculable value. As he discovers that there are people who will do anything to control the substance, Isaac Bell will find out just how far he'll go to stop them.

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