Dive into history with these historical fiction novels. Reading historical fiction offers an amazing opportunity to experience life in another time and to better understand the context behind social movements, conflicts, disasters, triumphs, and challenges so we can connect them to our lives today. Take a look at these books featuring powerful women experiencing tumultuous times in history.
In 1954 San Francisco, it can be dangerous to be Chinese American. Because of their heritage, the government already threatens Lily Hu’s father’s citizenship and Lily soon finds herself even more at odds 1950’s white, heteronormative society when she starts to fall in love with a girl named Kath. Together, they discover the Telegraph Club, a lesbian bar subject to raids. This slice of life story explores anti-Asian racism, sexism, sexuality, and coming of age during a contentious period of history.
It’s 1964 South Carolina and Lily Owens hears the magic humming of bees in her bedroom walls. Although Lily can’t stand her father, ever since she lost her mother as a toddler, he and her nanny, Rosaleen, is all she knows. So, when a group of racists start a fight with Rosaleen, threatening her life, Lily decides they both need to flee the town. They embark on a journey leading them to a Black family of talented and eccentric beekeeping sisters who will help Lily discover her past and help her decide who she wants to be. This novel showcases the strength of women’s love and the divine women’s empowerment that binds them together.
Identical twin sisters growing up together in a black community run away at age sixteen. Years later one twin finds herself back in her hometown with her daughter and the other marries a white man and passes for white with her own daughter. Eventually, the two daughters meet and change the dynamics of the family. Exploring identity, culture, and inter-family relationships, The Vanishing Half delivers a realistic novel about women facing the adversity of racism, colorism, and sexism.
In 1930’s East Texas, crossing a segregation line when you are Black or Latinx could mean a death sentence. In this town, an interracial relationship blossoms between a Black boy and Mexican-American girl. Set against the backdrop of the most deadly disaster an American school has ever seen, the book explores extreme racial tension, physical, sexual, and emotional violence, passing privilege, exploitation of women and children, and the threat of white supremacy.