American Historical Fiction discussion

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1890s America

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message 1: by Connie (new)

Connie Mayo | 2 comments Hi,
I'm new to this group, and I am on a quest to read historical fiction set in the US around 1890 or thereabouts, aka The Guilded Age, the Victorian Period or Turn of the Century, take your pick.

What have people read that they would recommend?


message 2: by Misfit (new)

Misfit There's always Edith Wharton :)

If you don't mind a bit of romance with your history check out Celeste De Blasis Wild Swan trilogy, although only the last book is set in your specific time frame.

Wild Swan by Celeste De Blasis Swan's Chance by Celeste De Blasis A Season of Swans by Celeste De Blasis

Patricia Gallagher wrote a trilogy that is for the most part set in New York. Post Civil war through 1890's.

Castles in the Air by Patricia Gallagher No Greater Love by Patricia Gallagher On Wings Of Dreams by Patricia Gallagher


message 3: by Christy B (new)

Christy B (runaway84) Sex Wars: A Novel of Gilded Age New York by Marge Piercy. It takes place in post Civil War New York and Victoria Woodhull and Susan B. Anthony are two main characters, along with Anthony Comstock.


message 4: by Misfit (new)

Misfit Christy wrote: "Sex Wars: A Novel of Gilded Age New York by Marge Piercy. It takes place in post Civil War New York and Victoria Woodhull and Susan B. Anthony are two main characters, along with Anth..."

That sounds interesting. I haven't tried it yet but there's also Harriet and Isabella.


message 5: by Phair (new)

Phair (sphair) I recommend The Passions of Emma by Penelope Williamson set in late 1800s Bristol RI. It takes a look at the restricted life of upper class women of the period and also shows the lives of poor immigrant (mainly Irish) laborers & textile mill workers. While it could be billed as an historical romance it also covers all sorts of social questions so it isn't just fluff.

There is also An Inconvenient Wife by Megan Chance. After I finally read Kate Chopin's The Awakening I went on a kick of reading about the closely controlled lives of women in this era. Inconvenient was good but not as satisfying as I'd hoped. It focused too much on the title character and not enough on the issue as it related to others of her circle- too much was just her internal thoughts.


message 6: by Connie (new)

Connie Mayo | 2 comments LOVE Edith Wharton - House of Mirth is in my top 10 books of all time.

I've indeed read An Inconvenient Wife - most fascinating part was all the treatments for "hysteria". Creepy.

I've also just finished reading The 19th Wife, about Brigham Young and that whole polygamy situation - alternated between late 1800s and current day. Very entertaining.

Another good one, in the mystery category, is The Alienist. Much historical detail, which I love, natch.

Thanks for the suggestions - keep them coming! :)


message 7: by K.P. (new)

K.P. Vorenberg | 12 comments May I recommend my historical suspense novel, Tierra Red, which is set against the backdrop of territorial days in New Mexico during the years 1898-1900. It features a Gibson Girl heroine and a cast of unforgettable characters as they sift through clues on two continents in their search for truth, justice, and love.


message 8: by Kathy (new)

Kathy Skaggs | 6 comments I found this forum doing a google search in my own quest for novels set in the q890s. I'd also recommend Gore Vidal's Empire (1898 to 1907) and E.L. Doctorow's Ragtime (1900-1917).


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 105 comments There's one of Elswyth Thane's Williamsburg novels, Ever After.


message 10: by Mary (new)

Mary (marybt) | 40 comments Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier


message 11: by Kurt (new)

Kurt Hanson (guitarguy) | 7 comments Connie wrote: "Hi,
I'm new to this group, and I am on a quest to read historical fiction set in the US around 1890 or thereabouts, aka The Guilded Age, the Victorian Period or Turn of the Century, take your pick..."


I would humbly suggest my own book, The Imperialist: A Novel of the Hawaiian Revolution. It's about America's first steps toward becoming an imperial power and the demise of the Hawaiian Kingdom.


message 12: by Shay (new)

Shay | 24 comments The Night Journal by Elizabeth Crook. I haven't read it yet. Set in New Mexico- back and forth between the 1890's and present day.


message 13: by Carrie (last edited Sep 09, 2019 08:10AM) (new)

Carrie Dalby | 9 comments These Is My Words The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, 1881-1901 by Nancy E. Turner
This covers the 1880s-1890s in the Arizona area and is excellent.

Also, my own novel is set in Alabama and Florida in 1898, against the backdrop of the Spanish-American War.
Fortitude by Carrie Dalby


message 14: by QNPoohBear (last edited Oct 22, 2018 06:34PM) (new)

QNPoohBear | 9 comments The Fifth Avenue Artists Society

Clara and Mr. Tiffany

The Gilded Years is based on a true story

The Avenue of Dreams series by Olivia Newport is pretty good. They're published as Christian Inspirational books but are not preachy.

A Proper Pursuit is similar, more romance and a little more preachy

The American Heiress is a fictional version of Consuelo Vanderbilt and the Duke of Marlborough.


Do you like mysteries?

Alyssa Maxwell and Shelley Freydont both write about Gilded Age Newport's 400 Club (Astors, Vanderbilts, etc.)

A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder is fun. It's set in England but the heroine and her family are American. It shows differences between American and British cultures at the time.

and.... Listopia's list of Young Adult books set in the 1890s


message 15: by J.R. (new)

J.R. | 13 comments If you enjoy mysteries in a rural setting, might I be so bold as to recommend my novels Something So Divine https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2...
Or, The Bartered Body https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3...


message 16: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Bell (elizabethbellauthor) | 3 comments I liked The Gilded Years!


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