Need to switch up your summer reading tastes? Try out a historical fiction title and look back at what could have been.
Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Theresa Ann Fowler - This dazzling novel captures the romance, glamour, and tragedy of the first flapper, Zelda Fitzgerald. Southern belle Zelda Sayre meets F. Scott Fitzgerald at a country club dance in 1918 and the "ungettable" Zelda has fallen for him despite his unsuitability. After Scott sells his first novel, Zelda boards a train north to marry him. At the dawn of the Jazz Age, the unimagined attention, success and celebrity makes Scott and Zelda legends of their own time. Their story follows them across the country and to Europe as they cavort with the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Sara and Gerald Murphy, and Gertrude Stein. Like a Gatsby party, the fun can't go on forever. This novel looks at who Zelda might have been, other than Scott's wife and how she might have tried to forge her own identity while enduring the trials of life.
The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin - This tale reveals the marriage of one of America's most extraordinary couples: Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. For much of her life, Anne Morrow stood in the shadows of those around her. When Anne travels to Mexico City, she meets Colonel Charles Lindbergh, fresh off his celebrated 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic.
He sees Anne as a kindred spirit, a fellow adventurer, and her world will be changed forever. In the years that follow, despite her own major achievements, Anne is viewed merely as the aviator's wife. The life she once longed for produces heartbreak and hardships, ultimately pushing her to reconcile her need for love and her desire for independence.
The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan - This novel introduces readers to two sisters in Belle Epoque Paris. Following their father's sudden death, the van Goethem sisters find their lives upended. Set at a moment of profound artistic, cultural, and societal change, this tale follows two sisters to the darker impulses of "civilized society." With so much against them in the underworld of 1878 Paris including alcoholism, prostitution, even murder, and the girls are almost sure to be lost. However the girls may even have a chance to survive, perhaps flourish
The House Girl by Tara Conklin - Two remarkable women, separated by more than a century, lives unexpectedly intertwine. In 2004, Lina Sparrow discovers a controversy rocking the art world: art historians suspect that the paintings of Lu Anne Bell, an antebellum artist known for her humanizing portraits of the slaves, were actually the work of her house slave. In piecing together Josephine's story, Lina embarks on a journey that will lead her to question her own life, including the full story of her mother's mysterious death 20 years before.
Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys - New Orleans' French Quarter simmers with secrets in this young adult novel set in 1950. Seventeen-year-old Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death leaves her involved in an investigation that will challenge her allegiances. Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld.
-Heather Steltenpohl, Development Director