Laura M's Top 10 Books to Make You Forget You Live in 2021

I have always been a fan of historical fiction, but this year that love came out in full force. I'm fascinated by the way people of the past lived, and how their daily lives were different or similar to our own. If you also found yourself wanting to escape our current timeline this year, look no further than this list!


Matrix: A Novel By Lauren Groff Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594634499
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Riverhead Books - September 7th, 2021

In her first novel since Fates and Furies, Lauren Groff transports us to an impoverished Medieval abbey where Marie de France will carve out a safe haven for her sisters and forge her own path in the process. A story about one woman's transcendent vision and the tenacity with which she strives to realize it.


She Who Became the Sun (The Radiant Emperor Duology #1) By Shelley Parker-Chan Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250621801
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Books - July 20th, 2021

This is the sweeping historical fantasy I didn't know I needed! We follow Zhu, a female monk destined for greatness, and Ouyang, a eunuch general ostracized by his own people. As their two stories collide, they must each come to their own reckonings with war, gender, destiny, and love.


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Hamnet By Maggie O'Farrell Cover Image
ISBN: 9781984898876
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - May 18th, 2021

This is a book to read slowly and savor every line. O'Farrell effortlessly brings 16th century England to life, and even though we follow Shakespeare's family, every character feels as human as if they lived today. This tender story of family, grief, and the healing power of art deserves all of its acclaim.

A Tip for the Hangman: A Novel By Allison Epstein Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385546713
Availability: UNAVAILABLE
Published: Doubleday - February 9th, 2021

A delightful page-turner about Kit Marlowe, playwright and troublemaker, who gets recruited to be a spy for the queen. It's not often that a historical novel is this funny and suspenseful, AND has an ending that will rip your heart out!!!


Margaret the First: A Novel By Danielle Dutton Cover Image
ISBN: 9781936787357
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Catapult - March 15th, 2016

This is a swirling, atmospheric portrait of Margaret Cavendish: a 17th century Duchess, writer, and general oddity. Margaret's imagination is placed right up against her vanity, her intellect against her insecurities. Dutton offers a fascinating glimpse of a complex 17th century woman who was both ahead of her time and very much a product of it.


Reputation: A Novel By Lex Croucher Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250832832
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - April 5th, 2022

I had (arguably too high) expectations going into this one - I wanted a fun regency romp that was perfectly balanced between historical accuracy and modern sensibilities. Well, this book exceeded my expectations on ALL accounts, and also delivered complex, interesting characters, a diverse ensemble cast, regency excess in the extreme, and a line about cheese that made me laugh out loud! You're going to want to run, not walk, to your nearest bookstore (aka Brazos :P) when this baby comes out in April 2022.

Down Comes the Night: A Novel By Allison Saft Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250623638
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Wednesday Books - March 2nd, 2021

Down Comes the Night is a gothic fantasy full of political intrigue, an enemies to lovers romance, and all of the spooky, snowy, candlelit atmosphere you could ask for! I was so impressed by the uniqueness of Saft's world, and by her main character's emotional heart.

A Dowry of Blood By S. T. Gibson Cover Image
ISBN: 9781916366930
Availability: UNAVAILABLE
Published: Nyx Publishing - January 31st, 2021

I'm not usually one for vampire stories, but this book instantly won me over with its lush Victorian setting and its utterly compelling narrator. Caught under the spell of infamous Dracula, we follow his first wife Constanta as she struggles to free herself from his terrifying grip and come to terms with her immortal fate. Haunting yet full of hope, this book pulled me in and wouldn't let go.


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The Death of Jane Lawrence: A Novel By Caitlin Starling Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250272584
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: St. Martin's Press - October 5th, 2021

If you loved Mexican Gothic, you need to read The Death of Jane Lawrence. What begins as a marriage of convenience between Jane and the town doctor quickly morphs into a sinister, gruesome story about power, magic, desire, and all the ways we can be haunted by the past.

The Chosen and the Beautiful By Nghi Vo Cover Image
By Nghi Vo
ISBN: 9781250784780
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Tordotcom - June 1st, 2021

This gorgeous book is a sophisticated, magic-filled reimagining of The Great Gatsby, told through the eyes of Jordan Baker, a Vietnamese adoptee who is swept up in the undertow of 1920s New York. With lush prose, sparkling banter, and a bubbling darkness just below the surface, this book will enchant you before it pulls you under.

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