An initiative of the American Library Association

Book Club Choices from LibraryReads: Historical Fiction

LibraryReads is the monthly nationwide library staff picks list for adult fiction and non-fiction. Each month, staff in public libraries vote on their favorite upcoming books that they loved reading and cannot wait to share. The list represents a broad range of reading tastes and showcases a variety of new titles, including buzzed-about debuts, genre favorites, bestselling authors, and lesser-known midlist titles that public library staff are raving about.

With 5 years of lists under our belts—over 500 titles!—we wanted to partner with Book Club Central to direct readers to titles that would be perfect for book discussion groups. This month, we're offering some great historical fiction that would be perfect for book clubs.

Carnegie's Maid

Carnegie’s Maid: A Novel

by Marie Benedict

Engaging, richly-detailed, biographical, and historical fiction. In 1860s Pittsburgh, Clara, an Irish immigrant takes a job working as a maid for Andrew Carnegie, with whom she falls in love, and then goes missing. Book clubs will love the real-life characters and will be excited to read some of the true stories behind one of the most famous American philanthropists.

Sourcebooks Landmark, 2018

Click to read an excerpt.

Daughter of a Queen

Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen

by Sarah Bird

A fascinating work of historical fiction about Cathay/Cathy Williams, a former slave turned Buffalo Soldier in post-Civil War America. Her raw and powerful story is sure to be popular with book clubs.

St. Martin’s Press, 2018

Click to read an excerpt.

Last Ballad, The

The Last Ballad: A Novel

by Wiley Cash

The story of little-known union hero Ella May Wiggins is central to this look at unionization during the late 1920s. Once she sings her first song at a union rally, she becomes a beacon for others. As her story becomes intertwined with the violence and fear of the clash between owners and workers, we are swept up in a powerful novel that exposes the prejudice and hatred among races, genders, and economic classes. The stories of Ella, her children, and friends woven throughout cement Cash’s place among our great living writers. Sure to be a huge book discussion hit.

William Morrow, 2017

Click to read an excerpt.

Hearts of Men, The

The Hearts of Men: A Novel

by Nickolas Butler

Readers are introduced to popular Jonathan and social outcast, Nelson, aka ‘The Bugler.’ It's the summer of 1962, and the only thing the two seem to have in common is that they both spend a few weeks of one summer at Camp Chippewa in the woods of Wisconsin. Yet, over the course of decades, their lives and the lives of those they love the fiercest are intertwined. This wonderful novel peels back the layers of male friendship and shows what loyalty, compassion, and selflessness looks like. Sure to appeal to groups with male readers.

Ecco, 2017

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