Women Looking Away in Period Costume
Historical fiction with one little thing in common.
August 10, 2021
We’re going to let you in on a librarian secret: sometimes we judge a book by its cover. The fastest way to find historical fiction is to look for a woman in period costume looking (or walking) away!
Interior designer Bailey Camdenis leaps at a chance to renovate her heiress cousin’s lavish apartment at The Dakota, and learns the scandalous history of a distant ancestor’s connection to the murder of the building’s architect a century earlier.
The Alice Network
In 1947, pregnant Charlie St. Clair, an American college girl banished from her family, arrives in London to find out what happened to her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, and meets a former spy who, torn apart by betrayal, agrees to help her on her mission.
All the Flowers in Paris
A tale told from alternating viewpoints follows the experiences of a Parisian woman who awakens with no memory of her past before discovering a mysterious cache of letters written by a young woman of Jewish ancestry during the Nazi occupation.
The Atomic City Girls
Working in support of the war effort, June Walker begins an affair with a young Jewish physicist in hopes of uncovering what the government’s end goal is, until the bombing of Hiroshima reveals the truth about what they are doing.
Recruited by the FBI to spy on her former lover, a guilt-riddled Manhattan Project physicist becomes torn between lingering feelings for her ex and her growing attraction to a special agent, a former prisoner of war.
Band of Sisters
Eschewed by her wealthy graduated classmates, a former scholarship student reluctantly volunteers to help World War I French civilians before finding herself surrounded by desperate families in villages decimated by German bombs
The Book of Lost Names
Escaping from Paris in 1942 after the arrest of her father, a Polish Jew, a graduate student finds refuge in a small mountain town, where she forges identity documents to help hundreds of Jewish children flee the Nazis.
Churchill’s Secret Messenger
Recruited from Churchill’s typing pool to become an undercover spy in German-occupied France, a young woman from London bravely endures daring missions, audacious escapes, and harrowing imprisonment in a Nazi concentration camp, risking everything for the country-and the man-she loves.
A novel based on a true story follows a Russian woman who is forced by a concentration-camp commandant to become his lover and is subsquently sent to Siberia after being found guilty of collaborating with the enemy.
Courage, My Love
A woman who would protect her son and a polio survivor who moved to Rome to escape fascism join the Italian Resistance when the Nazi occupation begins against a backdrop of the formidable winter of 1943
Daughter of the Reich
Questioning her dutiful support of her Nazi father in the wake of her growing attraction to a longtime Jewish friend, Hetty embarks on a secret affair that is challenged by rising anti-Semitism
The Daughter’s Tale
Armando Lucas Correa
A tale of love and redemption based on the 1944 Oradour-Sur-Glane massacre follows an octogenarian’s receipt of a cache of letters, written by her mother during World War II, that uncover decades of secrets.
Teamed together to infiltrate Nazi ranks in occupied Paris, five idealistic American spies from diverse backgrounds begin questioning who they can trust when one of their number is killed.
The Dutch Wife
Weaves together the stories of three people who share a dark secret and who are forced to endure two of the most oppressive regimes in modern history, that of the Nazis and Argentina’s Dirty War.
The Engineer’s Wife
Tracey Enerson Wood
When her happy domestic life is turned upside-down by her husband’s work as the chief engineer on an under-construction Brooklyn Bridge, Emily Warren Roebling gradually takes over the project to advocate on behalf of worker safety.
An aspiring writer, an athlete from a professional cyclist family and a mathematics prodigy find their bond tested by a love triangle and the spread of anti-Semitism and fascism in 1937 Italy.
A Novel of the 1936 Women’s Olympic Team
This novel explores the real life history of female athletes, members of the first integrated women’s Olympic team, and their journeys to the 1936 summer games in Berlin, Nazi Germany. It is a chronicle of three athletes who defied society’s expectations of what women could achieve.
The Forest of Vanishing Stars
Raised in the unforgiving wilderness of eastern Europe after being kidnapped, a young German woman, in 1941, vows to teach a group of Jews fleeing the Nazi terror how to survive in the forest until she is betrayed as her past and present collide.
The German Heiress
For readers of The Alice Network and The Lost Girls of Paris, an immersive, heart-pounding debut about a German heiress on the run from British authorities, who discovers dark secrets about her family’s past in post-World War II Germany.
The German Midwife
Germany, 1944. A prisoner in the labor camps, Anke Hoff is doing what she can to keep her pregnant campmates and their newborns alive. But when Anke’s work is noticed, she is chosen for a task far more dangerous than she could ever have imagined.
The Girl From Berlin
Ronald H. Balson
Catherine Lockhart and Liam Taggart investigate a German violin prodigy’s handwritten records from Berlin’s interwar period to resolve a land dispute between a powerful corporation and a woman facing the loss of her Tuscan hills home.
The Girl From the Channel Islands
After fleeing Vienna, Hedy Bercu, a Jewish woman living on the island of Jersey, is forced to hide in plain sight during the German occupation and to survive must depend on her own courage, her community, and a German soldier she befriends.
The Girl They Left Behind
Adopted by a wealthy couple when she is found abandoned in war-torn 1941 Romania, a young Jewish girl comes of age under the bleak Soviet occupation before traces of her identity resurface and lead to a transformative discovery.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows
In 1946, as England emerges from the shadow of World War II, writer Juliet Ashton finds inspiration for her next book in her correspondence with a native of Guernsey and his eccentric friends, who tell her about their island, the books they love, German occupation, and the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a book club born as an alibi during German occupation.
Stranded behind enemy lines, brave bomber pilot Nina Markova becomes the prey of a lethal Nazi murderess known as the Huntress and joins forces with a Nazi hunter and British war correspondent to find her before she finds them.
In Another Time
A bookshop owner in pre-World War II Germany launches a secret effort to save his wife, a Jewish concert violinist who awakens in 1946 Berlin with no memory of the past decade or her husband’s fate.
The Kennedy Debutante
Reimagines the life of rebellious Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy against a backdrop of 1930s London society, where she pursues a forbidden love with the strictly Protestant heir to the Devonshire dukedom.
A historical tale inspired by the life of Clementine Churchill that traces her unflinching role in protecting the life and wartime agendas of her husband, Winston Churchill.
Last Christmas in Paris
A Novel of World War I
Hazel Gaynor, Heather Webb
After seeing her brother and his best friend off to the front in August 1914, a privileged young lady, Evie Elliott, tries to become more involved in the conflict and begins working at her father’s newspaper business.
The Last Train to London
Meg Waite Clayton
A novel that is a tribute to to victims and survivors of Nazis’ early terrors, and to the woman who at great personal risk and sacrifice subverted Hitler’s will.
The Last Year of the War
A German-American teen finds her life and identity turned upside-down when her father is accused of being a Nazi sympathizer, triggering her family’s forced relocation into a Texas internment camp.
The Light Over London
Unable to confront the challenges in her own life, Cara Hargraves immerses herself in work for her antiques-dealer boss, uncovering relics from the life of World War II British “Gunner Girl” Louise Keene and her complicated relationship with a man named Paul.
The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter
Pregnant and disgraced, a 1938 Irish teen is sent to stay with a lighthouse keeper relative, where she discovers an unfinished portrait and delves into the story of a woman who lived a hundred years prior, in a novel inspired by true events.
Martha Hall Kelly
The lives of three women converge at the Ravensbruck concentration camp as one resolves to help from her post at the French consulate, one becomes a courier in the Polish resistance, and one takes a German government medical position.
Martha Hall Kelly
Based on true events, a tale set a generation before Lilac Girls traces the stories of three women, including Caroline Ferriday’s mother, a Romanov cousin and a fortune-teller’s daughter, against a backdrop of the Russian revolution and World War I.
Miss Graham’s Cold War Cookbook
Recruited as a spy for the OSS for her educational background and brother’s Oxford connections to help find a war criminal in occupied post-World War II Germany, a young British schoolteacher finds herself surrounded by civilians hiding dubious agendas.
Mistress of the Ritz
The director of the luxurious Hotel Ritz in occupied Paris and his courageous American wife, Blanche Auzello, risk their marriage and lives to support the French Resistance during World War II.
The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba
At the end of the 19th century, reporter Grace Harrington and a courier secretly working for Cuban revolutionaries in Havana free “The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba” who has been unjustly imprisoned—a mission that forces them all to fight for their freedom as war looms on the horizon.
My Brilliant Friend
Beginning in the 1950s Elena and Lila grow up in Naples, Italy, mirroring two different aspects of their nation.
The Nature of Fragile Things
Moving to early 20th-century San Francisco to escape New York tenement life, an Irish mail-order bride uncovers transformative secrets involving a silent child and two other women before her precarious existence is upended by the great earthquake of 1906.
The Night Portrait
A Novel of World War II and Da Vinci’s Italy
A tale told in two historical periods follows da Vinci’s ambitious 1492 creation of Portrait of a Lady with an Ermine and a conservator’s life-risking effort to save the painting from Nazi destruction centuries later.
Not Our Kind
Forced to hide her Jewish identity from her employer’s post-World War II Park Avenue community, Vassar-educated tutor Eleanor Moskowitz forges unexpected bonds before a crossed line leads to life-changing decisions.
Our Darkest Night
A Novel of Italy and the Second World War
Hiding from the Nazis in the guise of a Christian farmer’s wife, a Jewish woman is met with suspicion by a Nazi official who harbors a vendetta against the former seminary student posing as her husband.
The Paris Library
Janet Skeslien Charles
Based on a true story, describes how a lonely, 1980s teenager befriends an elderly neighbor and uncovers her past as a librarian at the American Library in Paris who joined the Resistance when the Nazis arrived.
The Paris Orphan
An American soldier and an enterprising photographer brave occupied France during World War II to help a young orphan find a family.
The Queen’s Secret
A Novel of England’s World War Ii Queen
Endearing herself to the British people with her kindness and strength, Elizabeth the Queen Mother, the wife of George VI and mother of a future Elizabeth II, orchestrates Edward VIII’s exile while hiding damaging secrets.
Red Sky Over Hawaii
Returning home to Hawaii in the aftermath of the Pearl Harbor bombing, Lana puts her heart and safety on the line when she is forced to go into hiding to protect wrongly targeted Japanese children.
An American wife of a German intellectual and her circle of women friends sabotage Hitler’s regime until an errant Russian signal exposes their reistance cell.
The Room on Rue Amelie
An American newlywed, an eleven-year-old Jewish girl, and a British Royal Air Force soldier are brought together by fate and loss in Nazi-occupied Paris, where together they find the courage to survive.
The Rose Code
Joining the elite Bletchley Park codebreaking team during World War II, three women from very different walks of life uncover a spy’s dangerous agenda years later against the backdrop of the royal wedding of Elizabeth and Philip.
Tatiana de Rosnay
On the sixtieth anniversary of the 1942 roundup of Jews by the French police in the Vel d’Hiv section of Paris, American journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article on this dark episode during World War II and embarks on an investigation that leads her to long-hidden family secrets and to the ordeal of Sarah, a young girl caught up in the raid.
The Secret Stealers
When she is recruited into the Office of Strategic Services by a family friend and legendary WWI hero, young widow and brilliant French teacher Anna Cavanaugh risks everything to help liberate France from the shadows of occupation and free herself from the shadows of her former life.
The Soldier’s Wife
While her husband is away in the army, Vivienne de la Mare, living in a farmhouse on World War II-occupied Guernsey in the Channel Island with her two daughters and mother-in-law, falls in love with a German officer and must make a difficult decision that could tear her family apart.
Martha Hall Kelly
Union nurse Georgeanna Woolsey, an ancestor of Caroline Ferriday, travels with her sister to Gettysburg, where they cross paths with a slave-turned-army conscript and her cruel plantation mistress.
A tale based on the Pulaski disaster of 1838 follows the efforts of a Savannah history professor to guest-curate a museum collection of wreck artifacts while researching the stories of 11 family members who were aboard the doomed steamship.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz
An international best-seller based on the true story of an Auschwitz-Birkenau survivor traces the experiences of a Jewish Slovakian who uses his position as a concentration-camp tattooist to secure food for his fellow prisoners.
The Invisible Woman
A gripping historical novel based on the true story of Allied spy Virginia Hall follows the experiences of a reluctant debutante who accepts recruitment into Strategic Services before a devastating betrayal by a trusted person upends her first operation.
The Lost Girls of Paris
After discovering an abandoned, photograph-filled suitcase in Grand Central Station in 1946 a young widow sets out to discover who the people in the pictures are. By the New York Times best-selling author of The Orphan’s Tale.
The Things We Cannot Say
Told in alternating voices from the present day and Nazi-occupied Poland, follows a woman’s urgent search for answers to a family mystery involving her grandparents’ wartime experiences.
Three Hours in Paris
In June of 1940, when Paris fell to the Nazis, Hitler spent a total of three hours in the City of Light—abruptly leaving, never to return. To this day, no one knows why. The New York Times bestselling author of the Aimée Leduc investigations reimagines history in a masterful, pulse-pounding spy thriller.
We Must Be Brave
Caring for a lost child during the chaotic 1940 evacuation of her once-quiet Southampton village, a woman who never believed she wanted children finds herself unexpectedly at a loss when the child is taken away.
We Were the Lucky Ones
A novel based on the true story of a Jewish-Polish family recounts how the Kurcs are scattered throughout the world by the horrors of World War II and fight hardships to survive, reach safety, and find each other.
When We Were Young & Brave
Enduring privation when Japan declares war on England, a teacher at a British missionary school in China is sent to a distant internment camp, where she provides support and instruction to incarcerated children taken from their parents.
The Winemaker’s Wife
A story set amid the champagne vineyards of northern France during the darkest days of World War II follows two women who risk everything when the Germans invade.
The Wives of Los Alamos
An emotionally charged debut told in the collective voices of the wives of the team who created the atom bomb traces their struggles to adapt and raise children in a rugged military town where everything their husbands are doing is an intense secret.