5 On My TBR – Historical Fiction

Hello hello and welcome or welcome back to my little bookish corner of the internet. Today I’m sharing 5 On My TBR, with the theme of historical fiction.

These are all different books, set in all different points in time. I tend to go through phases of reading historical fiction where I’ll binge everything I own and then only read contemporary books (or fantasy) for a while. I’m building up to a historical fiction binge, so let’s have a look at some of the books I’ll be reading. You can read some more about why I love to read historical fiction here.

Clara and Olivia
“Surely you would like to be immortalised in art, fixed forever in perfection?”


Sadler’s Wells, 1933.

I would kill to dance like her.

Disciplined and dedicated, Olivia is the perfect ballerina. But no matter how hard she works, she can never match identical twin Clara’s charm.

I would kill to be with her.

As rehearsals intensify for the ballet Coppélia, the girls feel increasingly like they are being watched. And, as infatuation turns to obsession, everything begins to unravel.

Lessons In Chemistry
Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing.

But it’s the 1960s, and despite the fact that she is a scientist, her male peers are very unscientific when it comes to equality. The only good thing to happen on her road to professional fulfilment is a run-in with famous colleague Calvin Evans, legend and Nobel nominee. He’s also awkward, kind and tenacious. Theirs is true chemistry.

But life is never predictable and three years later Elizabeth Zott is an unwed, single mother and star of America’s best loved cooking show Supper at Six. Her singular approach to cooking – ‘take one pint of H2O and add a pinch of sodium chloride’ – and empowering message prove revolutionary. Because Elizabeth isn’t just teaching housewives how to cook, but how to change their lives.

The Agency For Scandal
An all-female detective agency righting wrongs at the end of the nineteenth century; infiltrating a scandalous upper class world straight out of Bridgerton and using their wit and bravery to unmask a villain. Eighteen-year-old Isobel Stanhope is keeping a lot of secrets. There’s the fact that she’s head over heels in love with a Duke who doesn’t know she exists; there’s the fact that her family is penniless but nobody in society knows about it; and then there’s her job at the Aviary, an investigative agency run by women that specializes in digging up scandal on powerful men. When Izzy finds herself pulled into a case that involves gaslighting, blackmail, and missing jewels, as well as the Duke who holds her heart, can she and her friends untangle the web of secrets and lies to uncover the truth and protect the innocent? And when the stakes are so high, what happens when the crush she’s been hiding begins to turn into so much more?

The Marriage Portrait
Florence, the 1550s. Lucrezia, third daughter of the grand duke, is comfortable with her obscure place in the palazzo: free to wonder at its treasures, observe its clandestine workings, and devote herself to her own artistic pursuits. But when her older sister dies on the eve of her wedding to the ruler of Ferrara, Modena and Reggio, Lucrezia is thrust unwittingly into the limelight: the duke is quick to request her hand in marriage, and her father just as quick to accept on her behalf.

Having barely left girlhood behind, Lucrezia must now enter an unfamiliar court whose customs are opaque and where her arrival is not universally welcomed. Perhaps most mystifying of all is her new husband himself, Alfonso. Is he the playful sophisticate he appeared to be before their wedding, the aesthete happiest in the company of artists and musicians, or the ruthless politician before whom even his formidable sisters seem to tremble?

As Lucrezia sits in constricting finery for a painting intended to preserve her image for centuries to come, one thing becomes worryingly clear. In the court’s eyes, she has one duty: to provide the heir who will shore up the future of the Ferranese dynasty. Until then, for all of her rank and nobility, the new duchess’s future hangs entirely in the balance.

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London
In a slightly alternate London in 1983, Susan Arkshaw is looking for her father, a man she has never met. Crime boss Frank Thringley might be able to help her, but Susan doesn’t get time to ask Frank any questions before he is turned to dust by the prick of a silver hatpin in the hands of the outrageously attractive Merlin.

Merlin is a young left-handed bookseller (one of the fighting ones), who with the right-handed booksellers (the intellectual ones), are an extended family of magical beings who police the mythic and legendary Old World when it intrudes on the modern world, in addition to running several bookshops.

Susan’s search for her father begins with her mother’s possibly misremembered or misspelt surnames, a reading room ticket, and a silver cigarette case engraved with something that might be a coat of arms.

Merlin has a quest of his own, to find the Old World entity who used ordinary criminals to kill his mother. As he and his sister, the right-handed bookseller Vivien, tread in the path of a botched or covered-up police investigation from years past, they find this quest strangely overlaps with Susan’s. Who or what was her father? Susan, Merlin, and Vivien must find out, as the Old World erupts dangerously into the New.

So there we are. Five very different books, from different points in time, all with different subject matters. I think sometimes doing these posts helps me really reflect on how varied my taste in books is: basically, if it’s a good book, I’ll read it!

Thanks for stopping by today for this post, and be sure to pop back again soon for more posts of all things books.

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