New Books Highlight: Fantastical History
Historical fiction is a genre worth exploring. Yep, I know what you’re thinking: “Read history? No. Way.” I’m here to tell you: yes way. There are tons of different, unique, amazing ways that YA authors are bringing you back in time these days: some of them infuse their stories with fantasy and magic, some of them lean towards elements of the paranormal or supernatural, and some of them seem like magic in the way that they evoke the time and place they take you to. Check out these three new and highly recommended historical fiction/fantasy stories!
Historical Fantasy: Delusion by Laura L. Sullivan
Sisters Phil and Fee Albion come from a family of illusionists, so they are used to life being full of drama. When things in World War II London get too horrific, they are sent to the country where life feels free of the drama they crave. Or is it? When Phil – determined as ever – decides to get their new country town to sit up and play a role in the ongoing war, she stumbles upon a college for magicians. Their work is nothing like the illusions she and Fee produce, and the magic has power over her she never expected.
Sneak Peek! “Phil sprinted along the bank of the Thames, unbraiding her hair as she ran, so late she didn’t dare ask a passing stranger the time. Even that small delay might be disastrous. This was opening night.” (Text copyright © 2012 by Laura L. Sullivan)
It’s 1918: World War One rages and the flu epidemic consumes millions worldwide. Mary Shelley Black is sent to San Diego to live with her aunt when her father is jailed for anti-Americanism – a considerable threat when the country is at war. People everywhere are seeking spiritual solace as their loved ones die around them. Mary Shelley (despite being named after a horror novelist) does not believe in spirits, seances, or anything else taht the people around her are going crazy for. When her first love comes back to her as a ghost, however, she must reckon with forces beyond her control and outside of our world.
Sneak Peek! “I stepped inside the railroad car, and three dozen pairs of eyes peered my way. Gauze masks concealed the passengers’ mouths and noses. The train smelled of my own mask’s cotton, boiling onions, and a whiff of something clammy and sour I took to be fear.” (Text copyright © 2013 by Cat Winters)
Historical Fiction: Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross
Maude’s escape from provincial France to the bustling city of Paris has left her with broken dreams and empty pockets. When she answers an unusual ad for the Durandeau Agency, she is thrown into the midst of Paris aristocracy. However, she’s there under a ruse: she’s been hired to act as a “beauty foil” for high-society Isabelle – acting as Isabelle’s friend but there because her plain looks make Isabelle stand out. Drawn deeper into the aristocracy through her friendship with Isabelle, at the same time that she is kept very much outside of it because she is hired help, Maude struggles to keep herself and her dreams from being lost. Based on a short story by French author, Emile Zola, this is a riveting and atmospheric tale.
Sneak Peek! “‘Perfect, just perfect,’ says the stout man. He scrutinizes me, his suit pinching across his rotund torso, and I assume that this is Monsieur Durandeau, but he doesn’t introduce himself.” (Text copyright © 2013 by Elizabeth Ross)