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While you wait for Four Winds, check out other great historical fiction novels!

Kristin Hannah’s new book, The Four Winds, has been highly recommended by every librarian’s resource and anxious friend that wants to spread the word. When I went to check on the status of my holds, I found that I was number 66 on hold for the e-book on Overdrive/Libby – and that is for 32 copies that we own! In light of that, I want to find something to tide me over until it becomes available. 

Historical fiction is my chosen genre. When all else fails, I can almost always find satisfaction in historical fiction. This genre explores the inner lives of individuals across time and place – often illuminating untold stories that transport the reader. By bringing the past to life, the reader can, to a certain extent, understand the surroundings and customs described within.

The Four Winds is set in 1921 – before the Great Depression but after the “Great War”. Women may have had exceptional interior lives but opportunities for them outside the home were limited. Wife and mother were the expectation. I often wonder what my own life would have been like in 1921 Alabama. Would I have had the courage to be childless as I am today? Would I have been able to find a similar role as “librarian” back then? Would I even have had the opportunity to read as I do today? These are questions I pose to myself when reading historical fiction – what would I have done?

Basically, there are seven elements to historical fiction writing: character, dialogue, setting, theme, plot, conflict, and world building. An author needs to tackle each in order to convey, successfully, the spirit of the chosen time and characters. Most authors seem to thrive in the minutia of research needed to write convincingly of another time and place. What newspapers or tabloids were written and available? What type of food would have been made then? All of the details come together to transport the reader.

So, while waiting for The Four Winds, grab another of my favorite titles and relax. Whether you want a hardback copy or e-audio, those holds will call your name before long!

 

The Four Winds / Kristin Hannah. Texas, 1921. A time of abundance. The Great War is over, the bounty of the land is plentiful, and America is on the brink of a new and optimistic era. But for Elsa Wolcott, deemed too old to marry in a time when marriage is a woman’s only option, the future seems bleak. Until the night she meets Rafe Martinelli and decides to change the direction of her life.

I Will Send Rain : a novel / Rae Meadows. Annie Bell can't escape the dust. It's 1934 and the Bell farm in Mulehead, Oklahoma is struggling as the earliest storms of The Dust Bowl descend. As the Bells wait for the rains to come, Annie and each member of her family are pulled in different directions.

The Last Ballad / Wiley Cash. Twelve times a week, twenty-eight-year-old Ella May Wiggins makes the two-mile trek to and from her job on the night shift at American Mill No. 2 in Bessemer City, North Carolina. The insular community considers the mill’s owners—the newly arrived Goldberg brothers—white but not American and expects them to pay Ella May and other workers less because they toil alongside African Americans like Violet, Ella May’s best friend. While the dirty, hazardous job at the mill earns Ella May a paltry nine dollars for seventy-two hours of work each week, it’s the only opportunity she has.

Stormy Weather / Paulette Jiles. Oil is king of East Texas during the darkest years of the Great Depression. The Stoddard girls—responsible Mayme, whip-smart tomboy Jeanine, and bookish Bea—know no life but an itinerant one, trailing their father from town to town as he searches for work on the pipelines and derricks; that is, when he's not spending his meager earnings at gambling joints, race tracks, and dance halls.

Some Luck : the last hundred years trilogy, a novel / Jane Smiley. On their farm in Denby, Iowa, Rosanna and Walter Langdon abide by time-honored values that they pass on to their five wildly different children: from Frank, the handsome, willful first born, and Joe, whose love of animals and the land sustains him, to Claire, who earns a special place in her father's heart.

The Victory Garden / Rhys Bowen. As the Great War continues to take its toll, headstrong twenty-one-year-old Emily Bryce is determined to contribute to the war effort. She is convinced by a cheeky and handsome Australian pilot that she can do more, and it is not long before she falls in love with him and accepts his proposal of marriage.

The Well and the Mine : a novel / Gin Phillips. In a small Alabama coal-mining town during the summer of 1931, nine-year-old Tess Moore sits on her back porch and watches a woman toss a baby into her family's well without a word. This shocking act of violence sets in motion a chain of events that forces Tess and her older sister Virgie to look beyond their own door and learn the value of kindness and lending a helping hand. As Tess and Virgie try to solve the mystery of the well, an accident puts their seven-year-old brother's life in danger, forcing the Moore family to come to a new understanding of the power of love and compassion.

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