Historical Fiction based on Little Known Events 

Staff Picks

Historical Fiction based on Little Known Events 

This is a list of historical fiction that is based on interesting events and people that should be talked about more. These books have both great stories and have a fascinating history in them. 

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

The Giver of Stars is a book about Alice who had come over from England to live in Baileyville, Kentucky in an arranged marriage. Being disappointed in her marriage she gets a job as a horseback riding librarian whose job is to bring books and other items to people who lived deep in the mountains. However, certain townspeople object to horseback riding women librarians and try to get the library shut down. Will Alice be able to overcome that? 

The Island of the Sea Women by Lisa See

The Island of the See Women takes place on the island of Jeju in Korea. Young-sook and Mi-ja are sea divers who get sea creatures and pearls for their village. On their island, the women work and dive into the sea and the men take care of the house and children Then World War 2 happens and Japan invades Korea and everything changes for them and their country. Will Young-Sook and Mi-Ja friendship survive? 

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd 

The Invention of Wings is about Sarah Grimke who is growing up in South Carolina and hates that her family owns slaves because she believes it is wrong to own a another person. On Sarah's eleventh birthday her mother gives her the slave Hetty as gift and Sarah is very upset by this . Sarah promises Hetty one day she will be able to free her. The book then follows both Sarah and Netty over the next 35 years and follows their fights against slavery and restrictions against women.

The Library of Legends by Janie Chang

Library of Legends takes place in World War 2 when Japan was invading China. Lian and the rest of the students of Minghua University are ordered to flee the city of Nanking because of the Japanese bombs leaving their friends and family behind. They hope to walk to the remote Western Provinces of China where they will be safe. While they walk they escort the Library of Legends which is an ancient book of Chinese fables and fairytales. Will Lian ever see her family again? Will they make it safe to the Western Provinces? Is the danger more from the Japanese Army or from Within?

Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton

Next Year in Havana takes place in Cuba right before and during the communist revolution in the 1960s. It is a story about Marisol Ferrera who is coming to scatter the ashes of her recently deceased grandma Elisa Perez. The story then switches to the story of Elisa and her sister's life during the Cuban revolution including Elisa's love affair with a revolutionary. It turns out that Elisa had a lot of secrets that she never told Marisol. What will Marisol find out in Cuba? Will she learn more of her grandma's secrets? Will Elisa and her sisters escape the Cuban revolution? 

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

The Personal Librarian is about Belle da Costa Greene who is the personal Librarian of JP Morgan and finds him rare books and memorabilia. She helps create one of the biggest art and rare book collection in the world However, Bella has a big secret. She is black, not Portuguese like she says she is. Will people discover her secret?

Sisters in Arms: A Novel of the Daring Black Women Who Served During World War II by Kaia Alderson

Sisters in Arms is a story about the African American women's battalion that served in World War. It stars Grace and Eliza who join the Women's Army Corps in the army in World War 2. It goes through their trials and tribulations of them both being total opposites of each other and dealing with segregation and mistrust of people who are hoping they fail.

Song of a Captive Bird: by Jasmin Darznik
Song of a Captive Bird is a historical fiction about the life of Forugh Farrokhzad who was a pioneering Iranian poet and filmmaker who wrote in the 1950s and 1960s. However, she was considered rebellious at the time both because she was a woman writing poetry and the subject she chooses to write about. This book is a haunting sad book about her life.