The 5 most intriguing works of historical fiction I’ve read this year

I love to be transported by a literary time machine back to other times and other places when survival depended on a person’s courage and wit instead of technology.

I love the past.

When I write, it’s almost always about the past, another time that seems far more mystical and secretive than it probably was.

As a result, I read a lot of historical fiction.

And, in no particular order, here are the five most intriguing works of historical fiction I have read this year.

Trouble in Glamour Town

By S. R. Mallery

Hollywood, 1926. Where actors’ and actresses’ dreams can come true. But do they? While silent screen movie stars reign supreme, a film producer is gunned down in cold blood.

Enter Rosie, a pretty bit-player and her bitter, stage-mother, Beatrice. As real celebrities of the time, such as Clara Bow, Lon Chaney, Gloria Swanson, and Rudolph Valentino float in and out, a chase to find the killer exposes the true underbelly of Los Angeles––with all its corruption.

War, Spies And Bobby Sox

By Libby Fischer Hellmann

As World War II rages across Europe and the Pacific, its impact ripples through communities in the heartland of America.

A farm girl is locked in a dangerous love triangle with two Germans soldiers held in an Illinois POW camp …

Another German, a war refugee, is forced to risk her life spying on the developing Manhattan Project in Chicago …

And espionage surrounds the disappearance of an actress from the thriving Jewish community of Chicago’s Lawndale.

In this trio of tales, acclaimed thriller author Libby Fischer Hellmann beautifully depicts the tumultuous effect of war on the home front and illustrates how the action, terror, and tragedy of World War II was not confined to the front lines.

The Altercation: Indignities

By N. E. Brown

Trent Matthews, on his death bed, made one last wish: He wanted his wife, Catherine, to move the family back to Galveston for a fresh start.

In this installment of the Galveston, 1900, Indignities Series, Catherine has her three youngest children enrolled in school. Her eldest son, Daniel, has dreamed of becoming a doctor and is pursuing his dream as a med-student in the Galveston Medical School. Her second son, Adam, seeks his independence. He finds a job at the shipping docks and moves to his own apartment. At the moment, Catherine feels that the family will have a bright, prosperous future in Galveston.

However, Catherine’s greatest secret – dormant for the past two decades – is in danger of being exposed when an unidentified stranger comes to Galveston. His presence threatens to divide her family. A young man resembling nineteen-year-old Adam creates havoc and Adam bears the scars.

A vulnerable nineteen-year-old girl has been lured into prostitution with promises of a better life. She mysteriously disappears, and because she is Adam’s friend, the authorities look to him for answers. Scared and on the run from the law, Adam goes to his birthplace in Beaumont to uncover his mother’s darkest secret.

Will the sins of his father become an obsession?

Will he eventually clear his name?Will the past return as a nightmare?

The Churchill Plot

By David R. Stokes

As 90-year-old Winston Churchill barely clings to life in January 1965, Great Britain and the world prepare for the most significant funeral of the century. The long-planned grand farewell for the great man (code name: Operation Hope Not) will include the presence of a “who’s who” list of world leaders, all vying for the attention of the 350 million people who will watch it all via the relatively new Tel-Star satellite technology.

But one world leader has decided not to go to London for the funeral of Sir Winston.Why would the President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, a consummate and ego-driven politician, who has just been inaugurated for his own term, following a landslide election victory the previous November, choose to stay home instead of taking the chance to make his presence known as the leader of the free world?

And why would the president not send his new vice president, Hubert Humphrey, to the funeral? And why would the Secretaries of Defense and State eventually travel to London as part of the “official” US delegation, only to avoid the actual service at historic St. Paul’s Church?

With these very true historical facts as a backdrop, we take a journey through the “looking glass” into a murky world of shadows, mystery, and intrigue. America and the world had not yet fully recovered from the assassination of Johnson’s presidential predecessor, John F. Kennedy.

Yet, in a way that seems to connect back to that awful moment in November 1963, there are rumors of another vast conspiracy, one involving a terrorist attack connected to Churchill’s funeral, at the moment more when than 100 world leaders will be gathered together in one confined place.

The Beauty Shop

By Suzy Henderson

War changes everyone, inside and out. The remarkable true story of the Guinea Pig Club.

England, 1942. After three years of WWII, Britain is showing the scars. But in this darkest of days, three lives intertwine, changing their destinies and those of many more.

Dr Archibald McIndoe, a New Zealand plastic surgeon with unorthodox methods, is on a mission to treat and rehabilitate badly burned airmen – their bodies and souls. With the camaraderie and support of the Guinea Pig Club, his boys battle to overcome disfigurement, pain, and prejudice to learn to live again.

John ‘Mac’ Mackenzie of the US Air Force is aware of the odds. He has one chance in five of surviving the war. Flying bombing missions through hell and back, he’s fighting more than the Luftwaffe. Fear and doubt stalk him on the ground and in the air, and he’s torn between his duty and his conscience.

Shy, decent and sensible Stella Charlton’s future seems certain until war breaks out. As a new recruit to the WAAF, she meets an American pilot on New Year’s Eve. After just one dance, she falls head over heels for the handsome airman. But when he survives a crash, she realises her own battle has only just begun.

Based on a true story, The Beauty Shop is a moving tale of love, compassion, and determination against a backdrop of wartime tragedy.

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  • Sarah (S.R.) Mallery

    My goodness, thank you SO much for this, Caleb!! It’s unexpected and much appreciated…

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