Historical Fiction

cover of 'The Hidden Light' and headshot of Daren Wang
Courtest of Daren Wang

Daren Wang grew up in an old farmhouse in Town Line, New York, a place that was notable for being the only town north of the Mason-Dixon Line to secede from the Union. 

Courtesy of Alan Gratz

Tens of thousands of people are forced to flee their homes each day due to conflict and persecution, according to the UN Refugee Agency. More people around the world are displaced now than ever before. 

Courtesy of Nancy Peacock

"I’ve been to hangings before, but never my own” is a line that came to author Nancy Peacock one day while she was on an early-morning walk.

An image of the book cover 'The Second Mrs. Hockaday'
Algonquin Books

In the summer of 2014, writer Susan Rivers was busy researching historical documents in her local library when she came across something interesting. It was an inquest from 1865 about a young woman who was accused of giving birth to a child and murdering the infant while her husband was away fighting for the Confederacy.

In 1866, communities across western North Carolina were forced to pick up the pieces left by the Civil War. Residents had ties to the Confederacy and the Union. As a result, the region was scattered with divided homes and hostile relations.

Algonquin Books

In the years leading up the Civil War, Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.

It was meant to be a compromise between Southern slave owners and Northern anti-slavery movements.

Instead, it ripped the country further apart and placed a bounty on people who had otherwise earned their freedom.

This is the context in which North Carolina author Robert Morgan wrote his newest novel. 

Image of 'Forsaken' cover by Ross Howell Jr.
New South Books

Virginia Christian is the only African-American juvenile woman ever executed in the state of Virginia. She was executed the day after her 17th birthday in 1912.

This fact is the backdrop for the historical novel "Forsaken" (New South Books/2016). The book tells the story of Christian through the lens of a young, idealist reporter Charles Mears. It's a tale woven with historical fact and fictional narrative that combines racial prejudice with hope and redemption.

Cover of "Hold Tight, Don't Let Go" by Laura Rose Wagner.
Abrams Books

Having lived in San Francisco, Wagner knew what to do when an earthquake hit. Still, she was shocked when the earth underneath her began shaking. "I was standing in the doorway when the house collapsed," she recalls. "I was very surprised that this was how I was going to die."

Wagner says she was trapped under the rubble for two to three hours. She survived after being rescued by friends and neighbors, but not unscathed. "My left arm was crushed," she says. "I couldn't walk very far very quickly."

Creative Commons/ Wellcome Library, London

Writer Megan Mahew Bergman describes her newest collection of short stories as “10 years of my reading life.” Almost Famous Women (Scribner/2015) is historical fiction that explores the lives of powerful and unusual women who have remained in the margins of history. The stories range from an account of conjoined twins who were sold into show business in North Carolina, to the life and legacy of Africa’s first female horse trainer. Host Frank Stasio talks to Megan Mahew Bergman about women who took risks, broke rules, and disrupted cultural and gender norms in the early to mid 20th century.

    

Writer Charlie Lovett has been attracted to the mystique of old books since he was a young kid. 

Image of the cover of The Story of Land and Sea, a debut novel by historian Katy Simpson Smith.
Katy Simpson Smith

    

At the end of the 18th century it was very common for women to die during childbirth. 

    

In the fall of 1941, German troops killed more than 15,000 Jewish residents in a two-day massacre outside the city of Rovno in Ukraine.