In The Hours Count, Jillian Cantor revisits a pivotal moment in American history and asks: What if Ethel and Julius Rosenberg—the only Americans to ever be executed for spying during the Cold War—were actually innocent?
Writers have been known to embellish facts for dramatic purposes. A possible embellishment provides part of the drama of Twain & Stanley Enter Paradise, the final novel by Oscar Hijuelos. This posthumous work, set in the late 19th and early 20th century, is more restrained than previous Hijuelos books, including the Pulitzer Prize winner The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love. And the protagonists are as un-Hijuelos as you can get: Mark Twain and Henry Morton Stanley, the Welsh explorer who achieved fame for his search for David Livingstone.
The Works Progress Administration of the 1930s and ’40s was a savior for American artists. Those meager checks alleviated financial concerns enough that the artists could pay rent and spend their off-hours drinking, cavorting and exploring their artistic passions.
A historical novel takes readers inside the Bloomsbury Group of literati, a harrowing tale of survival in the West and a debut novel set in the wake of the BP oil spill make for great group discussion this month.
Set in 1890s New York City, when social lines starkly divided the city, These Shallow Graves follows the urban adventure of a smart, independent and beautiful young woman from high society who’s willing to risk everything to solve the mystery of her father’s untimely death.
A warning to the reader before picking up Adriana Trigiani’s All the Stars in the Heavens: do not Google Loretta Young if you don’t want major spoilers!
In novels like Year of Wonders, People of the Book and the Pulitzer Prize-winning March, Geraldine Brooks has demonstrated an ability to transform history into compelling, distinctive fiction. That talent is undiminished in The Secret Chord, a vivid re-creation of the life of King David.
If James Joyce can devote an entire novel to one day in the life of the people of Dublin, why can’t Homer Hickam devote a novel to the delivery of Albert the alligator to Florida? Especially when that journey treats readers to labor strikes, car chases, hijinks on the high seas, Hollywood movies and a fateful hurricane—not to mention cameo appearances by literary competitors John Steinbeck and Ernest Hemingway. Add to this a rooster perched imperturbably on Albert’s head, and you have the makings of an intentionally improbable, bizarre trip through Southern Americana that is a tall tale blend of fact and fiction.
Clare Clark’s novel of the dislocations that befall an aristocratic English family during and right after World War I is beautifully written and enjoyable, but the reader has to wonder if it would have been published had we not been living in the age of “Downton Abbey.” Of course it might have, as the popular TV show has plenty of collateral ancestors of its own: Think Brideshead Revisited and those nice books by Nancy Mitford.
Few writers seem to understand the difficult balance between historical detail and suspense better than Edgar Award finalist Matthew Guinn. His second novel, The Scribe, is a master class in historical mystery.