Some Historical Fiction Favorites

I have always been a big reader of historical fiction. Recently I read some outstanding books that I just couldn’t put down. Enjoy!

19th wifeThe 19th Wife by David Ebershoff

This book follows two story lines. The first, set in the present, follows a woman living in a polygamist cult, who is accused of shooting her husband. She is the first 19th wife we meet. Her son who was kicked out of the cult, is called back to try to help her prove her innocence. The second story is set in the 1800s as we follow the writings of Eliza Ann Young, the 19th (possibly) wife of Brigham Young and her family as they struggle with the early days for the LDS church and most specific, polygamy. I couldn’t put this book down! Both stories were intriguing and I learned so much about the early Mormon church, controversies and all. And of course, we all know the stories concerning the FLDS and Warren Jeffs.

trueTrue Sisters by Sandra Dallas

After reading The 19th Wife, I wanted to continue along with learning more about the early Mormon church, but with a less controversial spin. True Sisters follows a group of recent converts from England and Scotland who are part of the hand cart pioneers who walk across the US to the promised land of Utah, pulling all their possessions by hand in hand carts. I remember reading about this several times and seeing depictions of it when I visited SLC when I was younger. Each family struggles with hunger, weather and each other. As they try to survive the brutal conditions, some come out of it with their faith intact, others do not. I never realized just what a perilous journey they embarked on, until I read this.

dressmakerThe Dressmaker by Kate Alcott

Everyone knows the story of the Titanic thanks to the movie, this book explores not just the sinking but the trials that followed afterwards as everyone was blaming each other for the tragedy. We follow Tess, an aspiring seamstress, who thinks she has landed the job of a lifetime being a lady’s maid to Lady Duff-Gorden, a famous (and real life!) dressmaker, as they embark to the US aboard the Titanic. The story of the sinking being a type of “end of an era” symbol is carried into Lady Duff-Gordon’s dress creations, once the rage, now seeming outdated and Tess the new kid with the new, fresh ideas. The confusion and terror of the sinking and also the trials, with their real life characters and drama, were also fascinating.



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