Readers' Favorite

May 24, 2024

Go Back in Time With These 2 Books of Historical Fiction

by Donna Huber

I love reading historical fiction. There is so much about the past that I don't know about and the storytelling of a fictional story can immerse the reader in the past. I read a lot of WWII fiction but I've been trying to branch out to other time periods. I'm particularly intrigued by Russian history. 

If you are a paperback reader, both of these novels will be available in paperback in July 2024!

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. Free books were provided for an honest review.

The Air Raid Book Club by Annie Lyons

book cover of world war II historical fiction novel The Air Raid Book Club by Annie Lyons
July 2023; William Morrow; 978-0063296190
audio, ebook, print (336 pages); historical fiction

London, 1938: The bookstore just doesn’t feel the same to Gertie Bingham ever since the death of her beloved husband Harry. Bingham Books was a dream they shared together, and without Harry, Gertie wonders if it’s time to take her faithful old lab, Hemingway, and retire to the seaside. But fate has other plans for Gertie.

Books, libraries, and bookstores have been a popular theme of late for WWII historical fiction. The Air Raid Book Club is the 4th one I've read just this year.

The bookstore and book club are not really the focus of this book. It is more about the life of women in the town during WWII. The bookstore serves as a central setting for the story. 

There isn't really anything unique about this WWII story, but the characters are wonderful and I really felt like they were friends by the time I finished the book. I was so invested in their lives that I read this in big chunks and finished it in just 3 days. 

If you are looking for a good character-driven historical novel with some talk of popular books of the 1940s, then this is the book to pick up.

The Last Russian Doll by Kristen Loesch

book cover of historical fiction novel The Last Russian Doll by Kristen Loesch
March 2023; Berkley; 978-0593547984
audio, ebook, print (416 pages); historical fiction

In a faraway kingdom, in a long-ago land...a young girl lived happily in Moscow with her family: a sister, a father, and an eccentric mother who liked to tell fairy tales and collect porcelain dolls. One summer night, everything changed, and all that remained of that family were the girl and her mother.

The Last Russian Doll is a dual-timeline story. One timeline is in the 1991 and the other starts in 1915. 

Rosie/Raisa wants to understand the devasting event that changed her life. As a graduate student at Oxford, she finds a job advertisement that would allow her to return to Russia. Little does she know that her life is intertwined with the assignment.

In 1917, Tonya is barely an adult and married to an aristocrat in the Czar's family. But upon meeting a revolutionary, her life is forever changed. 

As the reader learns of Tonya's life, we are treated to the backdrop of Russian history - the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. the rise of communism, the siege of Leningard during WWII, Stalin and his purges and fall of the Soviet Union. The historical events are the setting but we get a feeling of the events through the personal lives of the characters. This is very much a character-driven story.

I read historical fiction because I like the intimate, personal view of history and Loesch does a wonderful job of interweaving a captivating story through the turbulent history of Russia.

The Last Russian Doll is Loesch's debut novel and I'm hoping she will be writing more as I think she ranks right up there with Kristin Hannah and Kate Quinn with her ability to tell a compelling story with wonderful characters.

Buy The Last Russian Doll at Amazon

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour

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