The Sisters Brothers

By Patrick deWitt

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2011

Genres: Western, historical fiction, cowboy noir

ISBN: 9780062041265

Audience: Adult

Number of pages: 328

Setting: Oregon City, Oregon Territory, & California (including San Francisco)

Time period: 1851

Plot summary: Charlie and Eli sisters are known throughout the Oregon Territory and California as killers who work for the Commodore.   What begins as an ordinary assignment for them – to go to San Francisco and kill a man – becomes a life changing journey for both of the brothers. Continue reading


The Redbreast

By Jo Nesbø; translated by Don Bartlett

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Harper, c2000, 2011

Genres: Mystery, suspense, thriller, crime thriller, police procedural, Scandinavian noir, historical fiction

Series: Harry Hole; 3

ISBN: 9780062068422

Audience: Adult

Number of pages: 553 (563 including an excerpt from The Devil’s Star)

Setting: Oslo, Norway, Leningrad, Russia, and Vienna, Austria, & Johannesburg, South Africa

Time period: There are two timelines – one takes place from 1999 – 2000; the other takes place during WWII – from 1942 – 1944.

Plot summary: In the course of duty, Police Officer Harry Hole is required to make a very difficult decision in a few seconds.  As a result, a team member is critically wounded and Harry feels responsible.  Therefore, the last thing he expects is a promotion.  As a new inspector, his job is routine and boring – until one report crosses his desk.  As he follows through with the report, he finds evidence of neo-Nazi involvement in an assignation attempt. Continue reading

Daughter of Lir

By Judith Tarr

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Forge, 2001

Genres: Fantasy, historical fantasy, historical fiction

Series: Epona; 3

ISBN: 9780312876166

Audience: Adult

Number of pages: 415

Setting: City of Lir, Village of Long Ford, World’s End, Sea of Grass (open steppe)

Time period: Prehistory – Neolithic time period

Plot summary: When Rhian is born to the Mother in the City of Lir, there are some priestesses who want to kill her immediately.  The portents reveal a time of destruction and evil associated with her.  Rhian escapes an early death and grows up in a small village outside of the city, listening to what the wind tells her.  When the priestesses make their rounds, choosing young women to come to the temple, they disregard Rhian and her innate abilities.  It is then that Rhian chooses a different path for herself and the White Mare chooses her.  Rhian soon finds herself on a journey to the east to meet The People of the Wind, who are travelling west and conquering all of the people whom they encounter. Continue reading

Miss Peregrines’s Home for Peculiar Children

By Ransom Riggs

Place: Publisher & Year: Philadelphia: Quirk Books, 2011

Genres: Fantasy, contemporary fantasy, time travel fantasy, historical fantasy, mystery, paranormal, historical fiction

Series: The author’s blog (8/9/2011) states that there will be a sequel to this book.

ISBN: 9781594744761

Audience: Young adult

Number of pages: 352

Setting: Englewood, Florida & Cairnholm, Wales

Time period: Contemporary & 1941

Plot summary: When Jacob Portman’s grandfather is killed in the woods behind his house, the police decide that he was attacked by feral dogs.  Jacob was in those woods that night, though, and saw something that was not a dog.  What he saw could only be described as a monster.  Of course his parents and the police don’t believe him when he tries to explain this to them.  After this, Jacob has terrible nightmares and doesn’t want to leave his house, even in broad daylight.  Jacob’s parents send him to a psychiatrist where he undergoes months of therapy.  Eventually, Jacob convinces his parents to allow him to travel to Wales over the summer.  He intends to find the home where his grandfather lived as a child.  He also hopes to find some answers to the mysteries which surrounded his grandfather. Continue reading

The Listener

By David Lester

Place: Publisher & Year: Winnipeg: Arbeiter Ring Publishing, 2011

Genres: General fiction, historical fiction

Format: Graphic novel

ISBN: 9781894037488

Audience: Adults

Number of pages: 312

Settings: Vancouver, BC, Canada, Lippe, Germany & other locations in Europe

Time periods: Contemporary and 1928-1933

Plot summary: Hitler’s rise to power is described to the main character – a sculptor named Louise – by an elderly German couple she meets while touring Europe.  Louise is travelling in Europe as a means of dealing with the guilt that she feels after a protester fell to his death outside her apartment. The German couple’s story focuses upon the spin doctoring which Hitler performed in the early 1930’s on his way to becoming Germany’s chancellor.  As Louise travels, her background and thoughts about art and politics are described. The two stories are interwoven throughout the book to reveal how Louise is able to work through both her feelings, as well as the history she learned from the couple, to complete her next sculpture. This book has as much to say about the role of art for both individuals and for society as a whole, as it does about the historical past. Continue reading

Things Fall Apart

By Chinua Achebe

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Anchor Books, c1959, 1994

Genre: General fiction, historical fiction

ISBN: 9780385474542

Audience: Adult

Number of pages: 209

Setting: Umuofia & Mbanta, Africa (now Nigeria)

Time period: Not stated – the transitional period between traditional village life and colonization (1890’s)

Plot summary: Okonkwo tries to live a traditional life in his home village of Umuofia where he is a respected warrior and farmer.  When an accident occurs, Okonkwo and his family must seek refuge in another village for many years.  During this time, changes occur in Umuofia and Okonkwo is driven to despair. Continue reading

The Exile: an Outlander Graphic Novel

By Diana Gabaldon; illustrated by Hoang Nguyen

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Del Rey, 2010

Genre: Historical fiction, fantasy, adventure, time travel fantasy, historical fantasy, romance

Format: Graphic novel

Series: Outlander Graphic Novels; 1

ISBN: 9780345505385

Audience: Adult

Number of pages: Unpaginated

Setting: Scotland

Time period: 1743

Plot summary: Young Jaime Fraser returns to Scotland after living in exile.  He is met by his godfather, Murtagh, who tries to guide Jaime back to his home – Lallybroch.  Jaime isn’t ready to head home, though.  He’s much more interested in the mysterious Sassenach that Murtagh saved from the English Captain Black Jack Randall. Continue reading