Happy Thanksgiving, American readers!
Many of us spend this time with family and friends. For those of you heading back to (or staying in) New England this year, I put together a list of books from our favorite genres that are set in the region.
A note about this controversial holiday: I admit I have very little knowledge of non-colonialist fiction about New England. I believe that the Thanksgiving holiday has been simplified, and that we need to expand the narrative to include voices from other cultures, backgrounds, and perspectives. As a start, I’ve included in the list below some novels I have enjoyed that take place in New England, and some that I’ve found that add native voices to the narrative.
If you have more knowledge, or have read great books from the American Indian (or First Nations) perspective that you think should be on this list, do please share in the comments!
Click on any of the images to see the full caption and mini-synopsis of each book, or scroll down for linked titles.
(In Connecticut) The Witch of Blackbird Pond: sweet young adult novel about the witch trials
(In Connecticut) Nightlife – dark, creepy vampires
(In Connecticut) A Wrinkle in Time – the classic children’s science fiction
(In the Northeast Woodlands) Return of the Sun: Native American Tales from the Northeast Woodlands
(In Massachusetts) The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane – modern-day witch discovers her heritage and falls in love
(In Massachusetts) Practical Magic – the book the movie was based on
(In Boston) The Dreamer Vol. 1 – time travel, high school romance, beautiful illustrations
(In a future Boston) The Handmaid’s Tale – horrifying story of an oppressive and scary future America
(In Maine) Carousel Seas – a series about magical beings and a carousel park in Maine
(In New England) Dawnland Voices – indigenous literary traditions from New England
- The Witch of Blackbird Pond, by Elizabeth George Speare
- Nightlife, by Matthew Quinn Martin
- A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle
- Return of the Sun: Native American Tales from the Northeast Woodlands, by Joseph Bruchac
- The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, by Katherine Howe
- Practical Magic, by Alice Hoffman
- The Dreamer, by Lora Innes
- The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
- Carousel Seas, by Sharon Lee
- Dawnland Voices: An Anthology of Indigenous Writing from New England, by Siobhan Senier
Continuing on with our weekly Halloween special, this Saturday’s theme is ghosts (and one haunting), last week was werewolves, and before that vampires. I’ve encountered ghosts in many different genres, and my eclectic list below reflects that. Here’s hoping there’s a spooky read for many different types of readers.
My favourite author of ghostly tales is Simone St. James. If you’ve followed this blog at all, this will not be a surprise, since I rave about her all the time. To date, all of her novels have been set in post-WWI England and have focused on a ghostly haunting. These books are creepy (without being terrifying). And, they generally feature nice light romances. I recommend starting with The Haunting of Maddy Clare, but you can’t really go wrong with any of these atmospheric novels; see my full review on An Inquiry into Love and Death or Silence for the Dead.
In no particular order, our top ten steampunk books/series that have airships! (Note: multiple books in one series will be collected and listed as one)
1. The Spritwalker trilogy is one of my favorites. And it’s steampunk, and it has the occasional airship, so I’ve decided to include them all here. The series follows young Cat Barahal and her cousin Bee, around a world similar to our own but very much re-imagined. There are gates between mortal and spirit realms, shapeshifters, superbly drawn sibling relationships, love stories, revolutions, and more.
2. In The Iron Duke, Detective Inspector Mina and “Iron Duke” Rhys Trahaearn join forces to save England from conspirators and zombies. Along the way, they fall in love. The subsequent books in the Iron Seas series also feature airships, so read those too!
3. In Conspiracy of Alchemists, Elle Chance is a dirigible pilot. When she picks up suspicious cargo, she becomes embroiled in the Shadow’s plans to sacrifice a young woman to plunge the world into darkness. Irritating Warlock Hugh Marsh helps (and hampers) her. (more…)
Today I thought I’d take a break from reviews (especially considering I’m behind on reading) and focus on a list near and dear to my heart. For the most part, I’m not really a fan of mysteries; however, this is one trope that I have found that I absolutely adored in the mystery genre: lady investigators. I love a good historical setting and the idea of a woman living beyond her prescribed social role very much appeals to me. Not all of women on this list are aristocratic, but they all make for an interesting investigator.