Novels of Nineteenth Century America
For news on the latest reviews, author interviews and additions to this website, see the blog.
Young Adult Novels: 19th-Century North America
The U.S. and Canada Before 1861
Mysteries: Early 19th Century America
The U.S. Civil War
Civil War Mysteries
Late 19th Century America
Mysteries: Late 19th Century America
The nineteenth century saw the continued development of two new nations in North America: the United States and Canada. Early in the century, Britain and France fought the War of 1812 on a North American battleground using the newly independent United States and colonial Canada as proxies. Canadian rebellions against British rule in 1837 and 1838 were unsuccessful. Canada's independence from Great Britain was not formally completed until the twentieth century.
In the United States, tensions between the industrial North and the slave-owning South increased throughout the first part of the century until the South seceded in 1861, beginning the Civil War. With the South's defeat in 1865 slavery ended, but white-black tensions and systematic discrimination against black citizens did not. Novels set in the latter part of the century deal with this problem, among others.
Throughout the century, immigration from Europe swelled the population of both the U.S. and Canada, beginning a great westward movement and causing conflict between Native Americans and Americans of European descent. Novels of the American West are listed on the Old West page.
The U.S. and Canada before 1861
Click on the title for more information from Powell's Books or another online source, or if you're outside the U.S., try The Book Depository.
Kate Alcott, The Daring Ladies of Lowell (2014), about a young woman who takes a job at a textile mill in Lowell, Massachusetts, in 1832 and after another mill worker is murdered finds herself torn between her allegiance to her fellow workers and her attraction to the mill owner's son.
Sidney Allinson, Jeremy Kane (1998), about the 1837 Mackenzie Rebellion, which attempted to establish a republican form of government in Canada, and subsequent exile of the rebels to an Australian penal colony; self-published.
Kurt Andersen, Heyday, about the United States in the year 1848.
Margaret Atwood, Alias Grace, about a young Canadian immigrant who worked as a housekeeper and was convicted of murdering her employer.
Lynn Austin, Though Waters Roar (2009), a family saga about three generations of women working for women's rights; Christian message.
Calvin Baker, Naming the New World
(1997), a short novel about a slave newly arrived from Africa and his descendants into modern times.
Georgiann Baldino, Candidate Lincoln (2012), about Lincoln's 1858 campaign for the U.S. Senate and his clash with Stephen Douglas over the slavery issue; self-published.
Andrea Barrett, Ship Fever (1996), a collection including a novella about a doctor who volunteers to work with sick immigrants at the overwhelmed Canadian detention center on Grosse Isle, and seven short stories set in the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Review
Melanie Benjamin, The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb (2011), about Lavinia Warren Stratton, a 32-inch-tall woman who won fame as a member of P.T. Barnum's touring show. Review
April Bernard, Miss Fuller, (2012), about the American journalist Margaret Fuller and the efforts of Henry David Thoreau to salvage her last book manuscript after she and her family are drowned in a shipwreck.
Marlen Bodden, The Wedding Gift (2013), about a woman whose father presents her with a slave girl, his own daughter by a slave, as a wedding present.
Joanna Brady, The Woman at the Light (2012), about a woman who must take over her husband's duties as lighthouse keeper on an island off Key West after he vanishes in 1839, and the runaway slave who appears on the island.
Debra Brenegan, Shame the Devil (2011), a novel based on the life of feminist journalist and novelist Sara Payson Willis, who wrote under the pen name Fanny Fern.
Amy Brill, The Movement of Stars (2013), a love story about a Quaker woman in 1845 Nantucket who discovers a comet and accepts a dark-skinned whaler as her student.
Connie Briscoe, A Long Way from Home, about 3 generations of house slaves in Virginia from the time of President Madison to the Civil War.
Gwen Bristow, Deep Summer (1937), about a wealthy plantation family and a poor white family in Louisiana before the Civil War; #1 in the Plantation Trilogy.
Gwen Bristow, The Handsome Road (1938), about the descendants of a wealthy plantation family and a poor white family in Louisiana during the Civil War; #2 in the Plantation Trilogy.
Gwen Bristow, This Side of Glory (1940), about the descendants of a wealthy plantation family and a poor white family in Louisiana during World War I; #3 in the Plantation Trilogy.
Taylor Caldwell, Captains and the Kings: The Story of an American Dynasty, about an Irish immigrant and his family in the nineteenth century United States.
Caleb Carr, The Devil Soldier: The Story of Frederick Townsend Ward, a biographical novel about a Massachusetts adventurer who went to China and fought to defend the Chinese government during the Taiping Rebellion.
Thad Carhart, Across the Endless River (2009), about Jean-Baptiste Charbonneau, the son of Lewis and Clark's Shoshone guide Sacagawea, and his visit to Europe in the 1820s. Review or Author Interview
Willa Cather, Sapphira and the Slave Girl, about the conflict between a slave-owner and her abolitionist-leaning daughter in the decade before the Civil War.
Megan Chance, A Candle in the Dark (1993), historical romance about a desperate woman and an alcoholic doctor who pose as husband and wife to travel to California in search of gold; winner of a 1994 RITA award.
Barbara Chase-Riboud, Echo of Lions (1989), about the 1839 revolt of slaves aboard the Amistad.
Alan Cheuse, Song of Slaves in the Desert (2011), about a Jewish New Yorker sent to his uncle's South Carolina plantation, where he becomes obsessed with a beautiful slave.
Tracy Chevalier, The Last Runaway (2013), about an English Quaker who moves to Ohio in 1850 and becomes involved with helping slaves reach freedom through the Underground Railroad.
Janice Clark, The Rathbones (2013), about a fifteen-year-old girl who is the last of a whaling family and must flee with her uncle in search of her missing father and the family's history beginning in the eighteenth century, a hundred years before.
Jon Clinch, Finn: A Novel, about the father of Mark Twain’s character Huckleberry Finn. Author interview at Powell's Books
Tara Conklin, The House Girl (2013), about a seventeen-year-old girl who flees slavery in 1852 Virginia and a twenty-first-century New York lawyer who, for a historic class action suit, researches the girl's history to find out whether she was the artist who painted the works long believed to be by her owner.
Jacquelyn Cook, Sunrise, about William Butler Johnson and his wife, Anne Tracy, who who built a famous mansion in Macon, Georgia.
Michael Crummey, River Thieves (2001), about a naval officer whose efforts to mediate conflicts between white settlers and the few remaining Native Americans go astray in early nineteenth century Newfoundland.
Michael Crummey, Galore (2009), about a man who appears out of the belly of a beached whale in a small Newfoundland town, and the generations that follow into the early twentieth century.
Lynn Cullen, Mrs. Poe (2013), about poet Frances Osgood and her relationship with both Edgar Allen Poe and his wife Virginia.
O'Neil De Noux, Battle Kiss (2011), about two Creole families during the time leading up to the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1815; self-published.
Anita Diamant, The Last Days of Dogtown, about a declining town in rural Massachusetts in the early nineteenth century.
Sara Donati, Into the Wilderness, about nineteenth century Englishwoman in frontier New York, #1 in the Wilderness series.
Sara Donati, Dawn on a Distant Shore, about nineteenth century Englishwoman in frontier New York, #2 in the Wilderness series.
Sara Donati, Lake in the Clouds, about a woman and her family in frontier New York, #3 in the Wilderness series.
Sara Donati, Fire Along the Sky, about a woman and her family in frontier New York during the War of 1812, #4 in the Wilderness series.
Sara Donati, Queen of Swords, about a woman and her family in Florida and New Orleans during the War of 1812, #5 in the Wilderness series.
David Anthony Durham, Walk Through Darkness, about a fugitive slave and the man hired to track him.
Rosslyn Elliott, Fairer than Morning (2011), historical romance about a young woman who moves to Pittsburgh with her father and sisters, where she meets a man indentured to a saddle maker who treats him harshly; Christian message; #1 in the Saddler's Legacy series.
Rosslyn Elliott, Sweeter than Birdsong (2012), historical romance about an Ohio woman and a talented musician who helps slaves escape to the North; Christian message; #2 in the Saddler's Legacy series.
Rosslyn Elliott, Lovelier than Daylight (2012), historical romance about a woman who goes to college in Westerville, Ohio, where she learns her sister and her sister's children have disappeared and meets an attractive brewer amid the Westerville Whiskey War of 1875; #3 in the Saddler's Legacy series.
William J. Everett, Red Clay, Blood River (2008), about three modern American students interested in ecology, the nineteenth century Trail of Tears march in the U.S., and South Africa's Great Trek; self-published. Brief Critique
Barbara Ewing, The Circus of Ghosts (2011), about a London woman who goes to New York with her daughter in the 1840s and becomes a mesmerist for a circus, while an English duke plots to kill her and abduct the daughter.
William Faulkner, Absalom! Absalom!, a literary novel about the son of a poor white man in the South and his counterproductive struggle to win respect.
Sharon Ewell Foster, The Resurrection of Nat Turner, Part I: The Witnesses (2011), a novel about the radical abolitionist Nat Turner from the perspective of people who knew him; Christian message.
Ann H. Gabhart, The Outsider (2008), about a clairvoyant young woman in a Shaker community who questions whether she should stay after she becomes attracted to an outsider; Christian message.
Elizabeth Gaffney, Metropolis, about a German immigrant and an Irish woman in nineteenth century New York City.
Kathleen O'Neal Gear, This Widowed Land, about a Huron woman who sees visions of the future and a French missionary who falls in love with her as a mysterious epidemic follows the coming of the "black robes."
Noel B. Gerson, The Golden Eagle (1953), about an American spy for General Zachary Taylor during the Mexican War in 1848.
Noel B. Gerson, The Slender Reed (1965), a biographical novel about James Knox Polk focusing especially on his accomplishments as President from 1845-1849, including the addition of Oregon, California and New Mexico to the Union and the establishment of an independent Treasury system.
Elizabeth Gilbert, The Signature of All Things (2013), about a woman whose botanical studies of mosses lead her to explore sexuality, the world, and mysteries both spiritual and rational. Review
Micaela Gilchrist, The Good Journey (2001), about Southern belle Mary Bullitt and her reserved husband, General Henry Atkinson, whose feud with the Indian leader Black Hawk results in a bloody war.
Janice Holt Giles, The Believers, about a nineteenth century woman and her husband who become involved with a community of Shakers; #4 in the Kentuckians series.
Janice Holt Giles, Johnny Osage, about the nineteenth century Creek-Osage wars.
Katherine Govier, Creation (2003), about the naturalist John James Audubon and his quest to draw every bird in North America.
Lenore Hart, The Raven's Bride (2011), about Virginia Clemm, who married writer Edgar Allen Poe at the age of thirteen. Review
Marcy Heidish, A Woman Called Moses, about Harriet Tubman, who led slaves to freedom on the Underground Railway.
Sheila Heti, Ticknor (2006), a novel loosely based on the life of George Ticknor, the friend and biographer of the famous nineteenth-century historian William Hickling Prescott. Review by The Harvard Book Review
Pauline Holdstock, The Burial Ground: A Novella, a novella about a priest on a mission to convert the Indians in a village on the coast of British Columbia in 1860.
Frances Hunter, To the Ends of the Earth: The Last Journey of Lewis & Clark (2006), about a traitorous conspiracy to put celebrated explorers Merriwether Lewis and William Clark at the head of a new American empire, and the two men's efforts to escape this dishonorable fate.
Karl Iagnemma, The Expeditions (2008), about a sixteen-year-old boy who joins an 1844 expedition to explore the American wilderness, and his estranged father who suddenly realizes he must find his son.
Laila Ibrahim, Yellow Crocus (2010), about a Virginia girl raised by her enslaved wet nurse and struggling with divided loyalties; self-published.
William Jensen, Adder in the Path (2012), about two families involved in the 1838 violence in Missouri known as the Mormon War; self-published.
Charles Richard Johnson, Oxherding Tale, a bawdy, humorous literary novel about nineteenth century relations between black and white Americans.
Charles Richard Johnson, The Middle Passage, about a freed slave who goes to sea in 1830.
Edward P. Jones, The Known World, about a family of black slaveowners in early nineteenth century Virginia.
Alma Katsu, The Taker (2011), historical fantasy about a present-day ER doctor in St. Andrew, Maine, who encounters a mysterious woman whose connection with him originated at the beginning of the nineteenth century when St. Andrew was a Puritan settlement; #1 in the Taker trilogy.
Alma Katsu, The Reckoning (2012), historical fantasy about an immortal woman living in the present who is menaced by a man from a past century; #2 in the Taker trilogy.
William Kennedy, Quinn's Book (1988), about a Civil War reporter's memories of his years as a teenaged orphan in Albany, New York, in the decades before the war; #4 in the Albany Cycle (#6 is set in the late 19th century; see the 20th Century page for the others).
Sue Monk Kidd, The Invention of Wings (2014), about a slave girl and her owner, Sarah Grimke, a Charleston girl who would become an influential abolitionist.
Jane Kirkpatrick, One Glorious Ambition (2013), a biographical novel about Dorothea Dix and her efforts to gain compassionate treatment for the mentally ill.
Mary Mackey, The Widow's War (2009), about a woman raised in Brazil who agrees to marry her fiancé's stepbrother when he persuades her that her fiancé is dead, and travels to America with him in the decade before the Civil War, only to find her fiancé is still alive and his stepbrother has pro-slavery views that repel her.
Philip Margulies, Belle Cora (2014), about Belle Cora, born Arabella Godwin, orphaned at age nine, who makes her living as a prostitute and then madam of her own house.
Stephen Marlowe, The Lighthouse at the End of the World (1995), a complex and dreamlike novel about the last days of the nineteenth century American author Edgar Allen Poe.
Jeffrey D. Marshall, The Inquest
(2006), about an inquest into the 1830 death of a Vermont woman who underwent an abortion; based on actual events.
Valerie Martin, Property, a literary novel about a woman in an oppressive marriage and her slave.
F. Van Wyck Mason, Wild Drums Beat (1953; a version of this was previously published in 1932 as Captain Renegade), about the War of 1812.
F. Van Wyck Mason, Harpoon in Eden (1969), about a Nantucket whaling family who settle in New Zealand in the 1830s.
James McBride, Song Yet Sung (2008), a literary novel about an escaped slave woman and visionary who becomes a leader in helping other slaves escape via the Underground Railroad.
James McBride, The Good Lord Bird (2013), about a young male slave who joins John Brown’s antislavery movement and must pass as a girl to survive.
Jessica McCann, All Different Kinds of Free (2011), about Margaret Morgan, a free black woman in Pennsylvania who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1837 and took her struggle to regain her freedom to the Supreme Court in 1842.
Shaun J. McLaughlin, Counter Currents
(2012), about a young man during the 1838 Patriots' War in which a group of Canadians rebelled against British rule; self-published.
Kelly O'Connor McNees, The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott (2010), a novel about author Louisa May Alcott that imagines she fell in love in 1855 when she was twenty and about to embark on her writing career.
Bernice Morgan, Cape Random (titled Random Passage in Canada), about an English family who settles on the barren and remote Cape Random, Newfoundland, in the early 1800s.
Bernice Morgan, Waiting for Time, about an English family struggling to make a life on Cape Random, Newfoundland; sequel to Random Passage.
Sena Jeter Naslund, Ahab’s Wife: Or, The Star-Gazer (1999), about the wife of Captain Ahab from the nineteenth century novel Moby Dick.
Erika Nau, Angel in the Rigging, set during the War of 1812.
Deborah Noyes, Captivity (2010), about Maggie and Kate Fox, sisters who became celebrated for their supposed ability to contact the dead.
Jonathan Odell, The Healing, (2012), about a slave girl adopted by a grieving plantation mistress and the healer who recognizes the girl's unusual gift; set in the antebellum South and the 1930s.
Elaine Neil Orr, A Different Sun (2013), about an American woman, the daughter of a slaveowner, who travels to Africa as a missionary to the Yoruba people in 1853.
Jay Parini, The Passages of H.M. (2010; titled The Passages of Herman Melville in the U.K.), about the aging and angry Herman Melville, who works as a customs inspector after the failure of Moby Dick.
Arthur Pindle, Bayou St. John (2010), about a young slave, on the run after he kills an overseer, and a French aristocrat who has fled to America after he kills a man in a duel, who join up in 1825 to make a new life in New Orleans.
John Pipkin, Woodsburner (2010), about the young Henry David Thoreau, who accidentally ignited a 300-acre forest fire near Walden Pond in 1844. New York Times review
Yael Politis, Olivia, Mourning (2012), about a white girl in 1841 who wants to claim her father's land in Michigan as her inheritance by working it according to the terms of his will and teams up with a black man experienced in farming; #1 in the Olivia series; self-published.
Yael Politis, The Way the World Is
(2013), about a young woman beginning a new life in Detroit, where she helps fugitive slaves escape to Canada; #2 in the Olivia series; self-published.
Eugenia Price, Savannah (1983), about a young man who renounces his father's fortune to settle in his mother's birthplace, Savannah, Georgia, during the early nineteenth century; #1 in the Savannah quartet.
Eugenia Price, To See Your Face Again
(1985), about a young Southern belle who follows the man she loves to Savannah, Georgia, in 1838; #2 in the Savannah quartet.
Eugenia Price, Before the Darkness Falls (1987), about three families in Savannah, Georgia, during the years before the Civil War; #3 in the Savannah quartet.
Eugenia Price, Stranger in Savannah
(1989), about three families in Savannah, Georgia, from 1854 through the Civil War period; #4 in the Savannah quartet.
Anne Rice, The Feast of All Saints (1979), about free people of color in early nineteenth century New Orleans.
Kenneth Lewis Roberts, The Lively Lady, about a naval officer during the War of 1812; #3 in the Chronicles of Arundel series (See 18th Century U.S. for #1 and #2).
Kenneth Lewis Roberts, Captain Caution
, about privateers during the War of 1812; #4 in the Chronicles of Arundel series.
Marilynne Robinson, Gilead (2004), a literary novel about an elderly minister in a small Midwestern town who writes his recollections for his young son, some of which revolve around his grandfather's experiences as an abolitionist pioneer willing to use violence in the service of his ideals.
William Safire, Scandalmonger (2000), about a journalist's incendiary attacks on Alexander Hamilton during the Presidential campaign between Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, which lead to controversy over freedom of the press.
Gary Schanbacher, Crossing Purgatory (2013), about a young Indiana farmer who returns from a visit to his planter father, to discover tragedy has struck his family during his absence, and travels west in an effort to escape his grief.
Christine Schaub, Finding Anna, about Horatio Gates Spafford, an American writer of hymns, and the tragedies that shaped his life after the Chicago fire of 1871; #1 in the Music of the Heart series.
Ellen Clymer Schwab, Promise Bridge (2010), about a white girl living on her aunt's plantation and a runaway slave girl who are stalked by a slave-catcher after they become friends.
Eileen Clymer Schwab, Shadow of a Quarter Moon (2011), about a plantation owner's daughter who discovers, to her shock, that her birth mother is a slave.
Anya Seton, Dragonwyck (1944), about a young woman who visits her wealthy cousin and his wife in New York in the 1840s, and becomes entranced with both him and his mysterious mansion.
Anya Seton, My Theodosia (1941), about the daughter of Aaron Burr.
Mary Lee Settle, Know Nothing, about West Virginia and the years before the Civil War; #3 in the Beulah Quintet.
Jeff Shaara, Gone for Soldiers: A Novel of the Mexican War, about the 1847 war between the U.S. and Mexico. Author interview at Powell's Books
Jane Smiley, The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton, about a young Illinois woman who marries an abolitionist and moves to Kansas to ensure that it joins the Union as a free state.
Patrick Smith, A Land Remembered, about three generations of a Florida frontier family.
Annette Snyder, Albert's Rain, historical romance about two slaves, one of whom chose escape, the other of whom chose a life of sacrifice to save her people.
John J. Stevens, Fire Island (2010), about a ship owner, a ship captain and other characters whose lives are changed by a shipwreck off Long Island, New York in 1857; self-published.
Irving Stone, The President’s Lady: A Novel about Rachel and Andrew Jackson, about Rachel, the wife of President Andrew Jackson.
Irving Stone, Love is Eternal (1954), about the marriage of Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln.
William Styron, The Confessions of Nat Turner, a Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel about the leader of an 1831 slave revolt in Virginia.
Beverly Swerling, City of Glory: A Novel of War and Desire in Old Manhattan, about New York during the War of 1812.
Christopher Tilghman, The Right-Hand Shore (2012), about a man due to inherit a Maryland estate who learns its brutal history, beginning in the days before the Civil War when it was a plantation worked by slaves.
Hannah Tinti, The Good Thief (2008), about a twelve-year-old orphan in New England who lost his left hand in an accident he can't remember and the con man who claims to be his brother.
Jessica Maria Tuccelli, Glow, (2012), about the female descendents from 1836 to 1941 of a pioneer in Georgia's Blue Ridge Mountains who are able to communicate with their ancestors during times of trouble.
Rachel Urquhart, The Visionist (2014), about a girl who flees her abusive father to join a Massachusetts Shaker community in 1842.
Carter Vaughan, The River Devils (1969), about an American agent's efforts to settle the Louisiana Purchase in the early 1800s; Carter Vaughan is a pseudonym of Noel B. Gerson.
Brenda Walker, Poe's Cat (2000), about contemporary Australian lovers whose relationship (they are cousins) echoes the relationship between Edgar Allan Poe and his cousin Virginia, who was 13 when they married.
Ciji Ware, Midnight on Julia Street, (1999), about a present-day television journalist who goes to New Orleans where she is reluctantly attracted to a man she knew in college, and slips back in time to the late nineteenth century.
Ciji Ware, A Light on the Veranda, (2000), about a present-day harpist who returns to her home town of Natchez, Mississippi, and slips back in time to the 1790s; standalone sequel to Midnight on Julia Street.
Kent Wascom, The Blood of Heaven (2013), about a preacher's son on the Louisiana frontier who lives by violence and, after meeting Samuel Kemper, becomes involved in Aaron Burr's attempt to carve out an empire in Louisiana and Mexico.
Katherine Webb, The Legacy (2011), about sisters in present-day England who find out about the tragic history of their family in early nineteenth-century Oklahoma when they go to sort out their grandmother's estate after her death.
Edmund White, Fanny, a novel about the U.S. activities of English abolitionist Fanny Wright, scathingly narrated by novelist Anthony Trollope’s mother (herself a novelist).
Michael C. White, The Garden of Martyrs (2004), about two Irish immigrants wrongly accused of murdering a traveler on the Boston Post Road in 1806.
Michael C. White, Soul Catcher (2007), about a runaway slave, the slave catcher who hunts her down, and the relationship that develops between them as they journey back to the master she fled.
Sherley A. Williams, Dessa Rose, about a slave woman under a death sentence and a sympathetic white woman.
Margaret Wrinkle, Wash (2013), about a Tennessee plantation owner who feels conflicted about slavery but whose wealth is based on the slaves he owns, and the slave he rents to neighbors as a stud.
Frank Yerby, The Foxes of Harrow (1946), about a man who arrives in New Orleans in 1825, gambles his way to ownership of a magnificent plantation, and has a child by each of three women: his wife, her sister, and his black mistress.
Frank Yerby, The Vixens (1947), about the conflicts between the defeated aristocracy of the South and its liberated former slaves; sequel to The Foxes of Harrow.
Frank Yerby, Floodtide (1950), about a man born into poverty in the American South and his ambitious struggle to become a gentleman planter during the decade before the Civil War.
Frank Yerby, Benton's Row (1954), about a man who flees a Texas posse and settles in Louisiana's Red River Valley in 1842.
Frank Yerby, Fairoaks (1956), about a white slaver with a passion for black women and an African chief who partners with him, selling his own people into slavery in order to indulge his lust for white women.
Frank Yerby, The Dahomean (1971), about a Dahomean prince betrayed into slavery in America.
Frank Yerby, A Darkness at Ingraham's Crest (1979), about a black slave, once a prince in Dahomey, who makes plans to escape and take revenge on those who enslaved him; sequel to The Dahomean.
Nancy Zaroulis, The Poe Papers: A Tale of Passion (1976), about a mother and daughter, both beautiful and sexually hungry, and the scholar who comes to their New England mansion in search of love letters written by Edgar Allen Poe in 1848, the year before his death.
Nancy Zaroulis, Call the Darkness Light (1986), about a woman mill-worker in New England and her struggle for independence.
Mysteries: Early 19th Century America
Click on the title for more information from Powell's Books or another online source, or if you're outside the U.S., try The Book Depository.
Kate Brallier, The Boundless Deep (2008), paranormal romance/mystery about a graduate student whose vivid dreams about nineteenth century whaling intensify when she spends a summer in Nantucket into visions of a magnetic whaling captain accused of murdering his wife.
Sarah Bryant, The Other Eden (2001), romantic suspense about a young Boston pianist who, after the death of her beloved grandfather, follows the advice given her in a dream and travels to Louisiana where she encounters the mystery of her grandmother's long-ago death and an attractive musician.
Lyndsay Faye, The Gods of Gotham, (2012), about a young New York policeman, disfigured in a fire, who in 1845 brings an injured orphan home with him, where she tells him a story about a mass burial; #1 in a planned mystery series.
Tess Gerritsen, The Bone Garden (2007), a thriller about a serial killer in Boston in the 1830s.
Barbara Hambly, A Free Man of Color (1979), about a Creole physician and music teacher in 1830s New Orleans who decides to investigate the murder of a beautiful octoroon when the authorities are reluctant to do so; #1 in the Benjamin January series.
Barbara Hambly, Fever Season (1998), about a Creole physician who investigates the murder of a slave's lecherous master in order to clear her of suspicion amid an epidemic in 1833 New Orleans; #2 in the Benjamin January series.
Barbara Hambly, Graveyard Dust (1999), about a Creole physician who discovers he is the target of a voodoo curse when he attempts to clear his sister of a murder charge in 1834 New Orleans; #3 in the Benjamin January series.
Barbara Hambly, Sold Down the River (2000), about a Creole physician who reluctantly agrees to investigate a case of murder and arson on the plantation of his vicious former owner; #4 in the Benjamin January series.
Barbara Hambly, Die Upon A Kiss (2001), about a Creole physician who investigates when a production of Shakespeare's Othello during Mardi Gras leads to violence in 1835 New Orleans; #5 in the Benjamin January series.
Barbara Hambly, Wet Grave (2002), about a Creole physician who investigates the murder of the once-beautiful mistress of a corsair in 1835 New Orleans; #6 in the Benjamin January series.
Barbara Hambly, Days of the Dead (2003), about a Creole physician who travels to Mexico City in 1835 to try to free a consumptive fellow musician of the charger of murdering the son of a prominent land owner; #7 in the Benjamin January series.
Barbara Hambly, Dead Water (2004), a free man of color investigates a mystery in 1830s New Orleans; #8 in the Benjamin January series.
Ellen Horan, 31 Bond Street (2010), about a young widow accused of murdering a Manhattan dentist in 1857.
Clyde Linsley, Death of a Mill Girl (1992), about a retired lawyer and military hero who in 1836 discovers the body of a beautiful young woman on his farm; #1 in the Josiah Beede mystery series.
Clyde Linsley, Saving Louisa (1993), about a retired lawyer and military hero who in 1837 must find a runaway slave woman accused of a murder she did not commit and figure out who the real killer is; #2 in the Josiah Beede mystery series.
Clyde Linsley, Die Like A Hero (2005), about a retired lawyer and military hero investigating the death of President William Henry Harrison, who is also asked to investigate the disappearance of the husband of a woman he once loved; #3 in the Josiah Beede mystery series
Anna Maclean, Louisa and the Missing Heiress (2004), a mystery featuring the young author Louisa May Alcott investigating the untimely death of a wealthy friend; #1 in the Louisa May Alcott mystery series. Review
Anna Maclean, Louisa and the Country Bachelor (2005), a mystery featuring the young author Louisa May Alcott investigating the death of a Dutchman on a hiking trip in New Hampshire; #2 in the Louisa May Alcott mystery series.
Anna Maclean, Louisa and the Crystal Gazer (2006), a mystery featuring the young author Louisa May Alcott investigating the murder of a medium during a seance; #3 in the Louisa May Alcott mystery series.
Miriam Grace Monfredo, Seneca Falls Inheritance (1992), a small-town librarian in upstate New York investigates when a corpse is found in a canal during the 1848 Women's Rights Convention; #1 in the Glynis Tryon Historical Mystery series.
Miriam Grace Monfredo, North Star Conspiracy (1993), a nineteenth century librarian solves mysteries in a small town in upstate New York; #2 in the Glynis Tryon Historical Mystery series.
Miriam Grace Monfredo, Blackwater Spirits
(1995), a nineteenth century librarian solves mysteries in a small town in upstate New York; #3 in the Glynis Tryon Historical Mystery series.
Miriam Grace Monfredo, Through a Gold Eagle (1996), a nineteenth century librarian solves mysteries in a small town in upstate New York; #4 in the Glynis Tryon Historical Mystery series.
Miriam Grace Monfredo, The Stalking-Horse (1998), a young woman working for Pinkerton’s Detective Agency overhears people discussing a plot to assassinate the newly elected President Lincoln; #5 in the Glynis Tryon Historical Mystery series.
Miriam Grace Monfredo, Must the Maiden Die (1999), in a town in upstate New York, a local murder upstages the beginning of the Civil War; #6 in the Glynis Tryon Historical Mystery series.
B.B. Oak, Thoreau at Devil’s Perch (2013), a mystery which imagines Henry David Thoreau leaving Walden Pond to investigate the death of a young black man, which the coroner's jury has declared accidental.
Matthew Pearl, The Dante Club (2003), about a group of Boston literary men (including Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, and James Russell Lowell) confronted with a series of gruesome murders resembling the punishments in Dante's Inferno as they complete the first American translation of the Divine Comedy.
Matthew Pearl, The Poe Shadow (2006), a literary thriller about a young Baltimore lawyer who suspects a police cover-up of the cause of Edgar Allen Poe's death.
Joel Rose, The Blackest Bird: A Novel of Murder in Nineteenth Century New York (2007), a mystery featuring High Constable Jacob Hays, the first police detective in New York City, and the murders in the summer of 1841 that he struggles to solve, finding clues in the poetry of Edgar Allen Poe.
E.M. Schorb, Paradise Square (2001), Edgar Allen Poe helps investigate a murder in nineteenth century New York.
Lou Jane Temple, The Spice Box (2005), about an Irish immigrant cook for a Jewish family in New York who helps investigate who murdered her employers’ son.
The U.S. Civil War
Click on the title for more information from Powell's Books or another online source, or if you're outside the U.S., try The Book Depository.
Rosemary Agonito, Miss Lizzie's War (2012), about Elizabeth Van Lew, a wealthy socialite who served as a spy for General Ulysses S. Grant.
Alberto Rios Arias, A Death for Beauty: Or, An Immortal (2011), about a young woman whose wish for her husband to die comes true during the Civil War; self-published.
Howard Bahr, The Black Flower (1997), about a young Confederate Rifleman in Hood’s Army and his relationship with the nurse who tends him after he is wounded.
Howard Bahr, The Year of Jubilo (2000), about a Confederate soldier who returns home after the war to find new conflicts awaiting him.
Howard Bahr, The Judas Field (2006), a Civil War veteran returns to a battlefield twenty years after the war to help a friend recover the bodies of her father and brother.
Kevin Baker, Paradise Alley (2002), about riots in New York City against an unfair Civil War military draft which the sons of the wealthy could pay to avoid.
Russell Banks, Cloudsplitter (1998), about the abolitionist John Brown, who led the raid on Harper’s Ferry that helped touch off the Civil War.
Sara Barnard, A Heart on Hold (2012), about a woman who travels north to Illinois to search for her beau after he is reported killed during an attempted escape from a Confederate prison; #1 in the series An Everlasting Heart.
Sara Barnard, A Heart Broken (2013), about a woman whose husband is sentenced to hang on an unjust murder charge; #2 in the series An Everlasting Heart.
Stephen Becker, When the War Is Over (1969), about a Union officer who tries to save the court-martialed Confederate teenager who wounded him a month after Lee’s surrender.
Madison Smartt Bell, Devil's Dream (2009), about Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Review or Author Interview
James Carlos Blake, Wildwood Boys (2000), a sympathetic portrayal of William T. "Bloody Bill" Anderson, a ferocious captain of the terrorist "bushwhackers" on the Kansas-Missouri border.
Johnny D. Boggs, Camp Ford (2007), about an 1865 baseball game between Union prisoners and their Confederate prison guards in Tyler, Texas.
James Boyd, Marching On
(1927), a romantic novel about a young Southerner in love with a woman above his station during the Civil War years.
Geraldine Brooks, March (2005), about the searing Civil War experiences of the father from Louisa May Alcott’s classic Little Women.
Dee Brown, The Way to Bright Star (1998), about a young man driving camels from Texas to Indiana during the Civil War
Rita Mae Brown, High Hearts, about a woman who disguises herself as a boy so she can join her Confederate soldier husband.
James Lee Burke, White Doves at Morning, about a Confederate soldier in Louisiana, morally upright to the verge of insanity, and his conflicts with his superior officers.
Frederick J. Chiaventone, Gone to Kingdom (2013), about two young men who join the Missouri Partisan Rangers and become involved in the Lawrence Massacre.
Jennifer Chiaverini, Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker (2013), about Elizabeth “Lizzie” Keckley, a former slave who became Mary Todd Lincoln's dressmaker while Mrs. Lincoln was First Lady.
Jennifer Chiaverini, The Spymistress (2013), about Elizabeth Van Lew, a Southern woman from a family of slaveowners whose convictions against slavery led her to become a Union spy.
Winston Churchill, The Crisis, a romantic novel about a New England man and a Virginia woman during the Civil War; by an American author (not the former British Prime Minister).
Sanjida Connell, Sugar Island (2011), about an English actress who marries a Georgia man and discovers, on the eve of the Civil War, that he is a slave owner.
Bernard Cornwell, Rebel, about the son of an abolitionist preacher in the North who ends up fighting for the Confederacy; #1 in the Starbuck Chronicles.
Bernard Cornwell, Copperhead, about the son of an abolitionist preacher in the North who ends up fighting for the Confederacy; #2 in the Starbuck Chronicles.
Bernard Cornwell, Battle Flag, about the son of an abolitionist preacher in the North who ends up fighting for the Confederacy; #3 in the Starbuck Chronicles.
Bernard Cornwell, The Bloody Ground, about the son of an abolitionist preacher in the North who ends up fighting for the Confederacy; #4 in the Starbuck Chronicles.
Harold Coyle, Look Away, about two brothers who, due to a quirk of fate, fight on opposite sides of the Civil War and find themselves facing each other in battle.
Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage (1895), about a young Union soldier and his experience of battle in the Civil War.
Maggie Davis, The Far Side of Home, about a Civil War soldier in distress over the disaster of his wedding night.
Debra Diaz, Shadow of Dawn (2003), about a woman whose husband, a man she barely knows, returns home after being wounded in a Civil War battle, accompanied by a woman claiming to be his nurse; self-published.
E.L. Doctorow, The March, about General Sherman’s march of destruction through the Confederate South.
Clifford Dowdey, Bugles Blow No More (1937), a romantic novel about a young Confederate soldier
William Faulkner, Sartoris, a literary novel about a white man and his black friend during the Civil War.
Shelby Foote, Shiloh, about the Battle of Shiloh.
Robert H. Fowler, Jim Mundy: a Novel of the American Civil War (1977), about a young Confederate soldier caught in "a poor man's fight" waged on behalf of wealthy slaveowners.
Charles Frazier, Cold Mountain (1997), about a Confederate deserter’s struggle to return home to the woman he loves.
Ernest Gaines, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, the fictional autobiography of a woman born into slavery.
Kaye Gibbons, On the Occasion of My Last Afternoon (1998), about a Southern woman who marries a Northern doctor just before the Civil War breaks out.
Janice Holt Giles, Run Me a River, about a steamboat captain on Kentucky's Green River who rescues a former Shakespearean actor and his attractive granddaughter as Confederate and Union forces fight for control of the river in 1861.
Newt Gingrich and William Forstchen, Gettysburg (2003), an alternative history novel about what might have happened if General Lee had used a different strategy in the Battle of Gettysburg; #1 in the Gettysburg Trilogy.
Newt Gingrich and William Forstchen, Grant Comes East (2004), an alternative history novel about the Civil War in which Grant races east from Vicksburg to confront Lee at Washington D.C.; #2 in the Gettysburg trilogy.
Newt Gingrich and William Forstchen, Never Call Retreat (2005), an alternative history novel about the Civil War in which Lee attacks Washington D.C. and Grant becomes President Lincoln's only hope for victory; #3 in the Gettysburg trilogy.
Seth Grahame-Smith, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2010), a spoof in which Abraham Lincoln learns that his mother's death was caused by a vampire, and therefore dedicates his life to fighting vampires and their allies, Southern slave-owners.
Allan Gurganus, Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All, an elderly woman tells the story of her marriage to the last surviving Confederate soldier.
Gene Hackman and Daniel Lenihan, Escape from Andersonville (2008), about a Union officer who escapes from the Confederate prisoner-of-war camp at Andersonville.
Diane Haeger, My Dearest Cecelia (2003), about the Southern belle the Union's General Sherman loved.
Lenore Hart, Becky (2008), narrated by the Becky Thatcher of Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer novels, now a mother married to Tom's cousin as the Civil War divides the country.
Cynthia H. Haseloff, Marauder (1994), about the Civil War in Arkansas.
Will Henry, The Crossing, about a Confederate soldier in the southwestern territory where Apaches are fighting a war of vengeance against Union forces.
Kathy Hepinstall, Blue Asylum, (2012), about a woman forced into an insane asylum on a Florida island by her brutal, slaveowning husband. Review
Robert Hicks, The Widow of the South (2005), a literary novel about a woman living near a Civil War battlefield who buries the dead in her private graveyard.
Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman, Broken Promises (2011; originally titled In The Lion's Den in 2009), about Charles Francis Adams, sent to England by Abraham Lincoln in 1861 to find out what position the English will take on the American Civil War.
Dara Horn, All Other Nights (2009), about a Jewish soldier who fights for the Union during the Civil War and is ordered to marry a Confederate spy.
John Hough, Seen the Glory (2009), about two brothers in the Union Army with unpopular abolitionist views who fight in the Battle of Gettysburg.
Josephine Humphreys, Nowhere Else on Earth (2000), about a sixteen-year-old girl living with the Lumbee Indians of North Carolina who falls in love with an outlaw during the Civil War.
John Jakes, North and South, about two young men, one from the North and one from the South, who meet at West Point and become friends before the Civil War breaks out; #1 in the North and South trilogy.
John Jakes, Love and War, about two friends fighting on opposite sides in the Civil War; #2 in the North and South trilogy.
John Jakes, Heaven and Hell, two Civil War veterans, one Union and one Confederate, struggle to rebuild their lives; #3 in the North and South trilogy.
Jessica James, Shades of Gray (2008), a romantic novel about a young woman who dresses as a boy to serve as a scout for the Union army and the Confederate officer determined to hunt "him" down, featuring the patriotism and sense of honor both feel about their respective loyalties.
Paulette Jiles, Enemy Women (2002), about a Missouri family’s doomed efforts to remain neutral during the Civil War.
Douglas C. Jones, Elkhorn Tavern (1980), about a family in the Arkansas Ozarks during the Civil War; #1 in the Elkhorn Tavern series.
Douglas C. Jones, The Barefoot Brigade (1982), about a man from the Ozarks who leaves his family to fight for the Confederacy; #2 in the Elkhorn Tavern series.
Douglas C. Jones, Roman (1986), about a young man from the Ozarks who goes west to Leavenworth, Kansas; #3 in the Elkhorn Tavern series.
Melissa Jones, Emily Hudson (2010), about a nineteen-year-old American girl, orphaned when the rest of her family dies of consumption, whose cousin takes her to London where his affection turns to disapproval after she begins a friendship with a married English lord.
Tim Jorgenson, Mrs. Keckly Sends Her Regards (2007), about Elizabeth Keckly, a slave who purchased her freedom and become a dressmaker to Mary Lincoln and a friend of both Lincolns as the Civil War was beginning; self-published.
MacKinlay Kantor, Long Remember (1934), about the Battle of Gettysburg; one of the first unromanticized novels about the Civil War.
MacKinlay Kantor, Andersonville, Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel about the inhuman conditions in a Confederate prisoner-of-war camp.
Thomas Keneally, Confederates (1979), about the Civil War in Virginia.
John Leekley, The Blue and the Gray, about a Southern family and their Pennsylvania cousins during the Civil War.
Perry Lentz, The Falling Hills (1967), about the Fort Pillow Massacre in April 1864.
Lois Leveen, The Secrets of Mary Bowser (2012), about Mary Bowser, an emanicipated slave who spies for the Union during the Civil War. Review or Author Interview
F. Van Wyck Mason, Armored Giants (1980), about ironclad ships during the Civil War.
F. Van Wyck Mason, Proud New Flags (1951), about the Confederate Navy.
F. Van Wyck Mason, Blue Hurricane (1954), about the Union Navy and the river war of 1861-1862.
Erin Lindsay McCabe, I Shall Be Near To You (2014), about a woman who disguises herself as a man and enlists in the Union Army to stay with her husband.
Donald McCaig, Jacob’s Ladder: A Story of Virginia During the War (1998), a literary novel about a young man and a light-skinned slave girl who have an affair and are forced to separate when the Civil War breaks out.
Donald McCaig, Canaan (2007), a sequel to Jacob’s Ladder set in the post-Civil War years.
Donald McCaig, Rhett Butler's People (2007), a retelling of Gone With the Wind from Rhett Butler's perspective.
Max McCoy, Sons of Fire (1992), about a Missouri family with divided loyalties during the Civil War.
Dennis McFarland, Nostalgia (2013), about a nineteen-year-old Brooklyn baseball pitcher who fights with the Union army and, hospitalized with a condition then known as "nostalgia," encounters hospital volunteer Walt Whitman.
John Jack McGuire, Joining Up (2011), about two teens who escape a home for boys in Brooklyn and enlist to fight in the Union Army; self-published.
Peter Charles Melman, Landsman (2007), about an orphaned Jewish boy in Louisiana who fights for the Confederacy.
Margaret Mitchell, Gone With the Wind (1936), about a strong-willed Southern belle in the years before, during and after the Civil War.
Adrienne Morris, The House on Tenafly Road (2013), about a Civil War soldier traumatized by the war who is taken in by a family in Englewood, New Jersey, and falls in love with the daughter; self-published.
Toni Morrison, Beloved (1987), a Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel about the psychological effects of slavery and emancipation on a black woman, based on an actual historical event.
Howard Frank Mosher, Walking to Gatlinburg (2010), about a seventeen-year-old sharpshooter who treks south in search of his brother, a missing Union army doctor, while being pursued by escaped convicts.
Bruce Murkoff, Red Rain (2010), about a doctor who returns from California in 1864 to his hometown in the Hudson River Valley and buys the land where a mastodon skeleton has been found.
P.G. Nagle, Glorieta Pass (1999), about a Union lieutenant, the captain of a volunteer Union company; a Confederate quartermaster, and a young Boston lady who arrives in the New Mexico territory just before the Battle of Glorieta Pass.
P.G. Nagle, The Guns of Valverde, about the 1862 Battle of Valverde, fought in New Mexico by the Confederate army of General Henry H. Sibley after their defeat at Glorieta Pass; sequel to Glorieta Pass.
P.G. Nagle, Galveston, about a young Confederate artillery officer and his aunt and sister trapped in Union-occupied Galveston, Texas, as the Confederates scheme to retake the harbor.
James L. Nelson, Glory in the Name, about a Confederate naval officer from Charleston during the Civil War, #1 in the Samuel Bowater series.
James L. Nelson, Thieves of Mercy (2005), about a Confederate naval officer from Charleston during the Civil War, #2 in the Samuel Bowater series.
Kerry Newcomb, Ride the Panther, about two brothers during the Civil War.
Janis Cooke Newman, Mary (2006), a sympathetic portrayal of Mary Todd Lincoln, President Lincoln’s wife.
Hollister Noble, Woman With a Sword (1948), about a Maryland woman during the Civil War.
Joseph O'Connor, Redemption Falls (2007), about a woman who sets out from Louisiana in 1865 and travels northwest toward the Rocky Mountains in search of a twelve-year-old drummer boy; a sequel to The Star of the Sea about Irish emigrants (see the 19th century Europe page).
Robin Oliveira, My Name is Mary Sutter (2010), about a young midwife who sets out to become a surgeon in Washington D.C. during the Civil War.
Gary E. Parker, Secret Tides, about an overseer’s daughter who accidentally causes the death of the plantation’s owner; Christian message; #1 in the Southern Tides series.
Gary E. Parker, Fateful Journeys, about a woman and her half brothers in South Carolina on the eve of the Civil War; Christian message; #2 in the Southern Tides series.
Gary E. Parker, Distant Shores, about an impoverished man hoping to restore his plantation, a freed slave searching for his mother, and a woman hotel owner with troubling secrets in the wake of the Civil War; Christian message; #3 in the Southern Tides series.
Linda Pendleton, Corn Silk Days: Iowa, 1862 (2010), about a family's struggles during the Civil War; based on the author's family history; self-published.
Ralph Peters, Cain at Gettysburg, (2012), about soldiers on both sides during the period immediately before, during and after the Battle of Gettysburg.
Ryan Petty, The Life He Never Knew
(2011), about a Texas soldier at the Battle of Shiloh.
Belva Plain, Crescent City (1984), about an unhappily married Jewish woman in New Orleans who falls in love with another man during the Civil War era.
Cherie Priest, Boneshaker (2009), a steampunk fantasy novel about a Civil War nurse.
Cherie Priest, Dreadnought (2010), a steampunk fantasy novel about a Civil War nurse who makes a difficult journey by riverboat and train to the Pacific Northwest to be at her dying father's bedside; sequel to Boneshaker.
Kim Reynolds, The Evening Oak (2010), about a seventeen-year-old girl who discovers her family are time-travelers when her uncle takes her back in time to the Battle of Bentonville, where he saves a young woman from an early death; self-published.
Don Robertson, The Three Days (1959), about the Battle of Gettysburg.
Don Robertson, By Antietam Creek, about the Battle of Antietam; sequel to The Three Days.
Elisabeth Payne Rosen, Hallam's War, about a slave-owning couple who leave Charleston to settle in the near-wilderness of Tennessee on the eve of the Civil War. Review
Mary Fremont Schoenecker, Four Summers Waiting (2006), historical romance about a woman in love with a surgeon for the Union army.
Joanna Catherine Scott, The Road from Chapel Hill (2006), about the daughter of a failed Southern planter, the slave for whom she begins to feel a growing affection, and a farm boy.
Joanna Catherine Scott, Child of the South (2006), about a young Southern woman who returns to her hometown after the Civil War to face racism and hatred until she is befriended by a powerful Negro leader in the state Senate; sequel to The Road from Chapel Hill.
Jeff Shaara, Gods and Generals, about the men who fought the Battle of Gettysburg during the years from the beginning of the Civil War to the eve of the battle; a prequel to Michael Shaara's The Killer Angels.
Michael Shaara, The Killer Angels, a Pulitzer prize-winning novel about the men who fought the Battle of Gettysburg.
Jeff Shaara, The Last Full Measure, about the last two years of the Civil War; a sequel to Michael Shaara's The Killer Angels.
Jeff Shaara, A Blaze of Glory (2012), about the Battle of Shiloh.
Jeff Shaara, A Chain of Thunder (2013), about the Siege of Vicksburg; sequel to A Blaze of Glory.
John Sherman, A Friendly Little War (2010), about a major in the Union army who serves as a spy, traveling through England, France, and Mexico.
Richard Slotkin, The Crater (1981), about the digging of a tunnel under Confederate lines during the Union siege of Petersburg, Virginia, emphasizing racial and class conflicts that survived the Civil War; written by the historian who has also written a new nonfiction account of the event, No Quarter: The Battle of the Crater, 1864.
Frances Patton Statham, The Roswell Women (1987), about 450 women and children arrested by General Sherman for working in a Confederate textile mill during the Civil War and sent north without adequate resources.
Frances Patton Statham, The Roswell Legacy (1989), about a couple separated during the Civil War who, each believing the other dead, have both remarried, only to discover in 1890 that the daughter of one is engaged to marry the son of the other; sequel to The Roswell Women.
David O. Stewart, The Lincoln Deception (2013), about an Ohio country doctor who in 1900 hears the deathbed confession of the judge who tried the conspirators involved in the assassination of President Lincoln, which suggests a wider plot that was never uncovered.
Beverly Swerling, City of God: A Novel of Passion and Wonder in Old New York (2008), about New York City at the beginning of the Civil War; #4 in the Manhattan series (novels listed here separately by time period).
Nick Taylor, The Disagreement (2008), about a 16-year-old medical student in Virgina during the Civil War.
Elswyth Thane, Yankee Stranger (1972), about two Virginia families during the Civil War; #2 in the Williamsburg novels.
Peter Troy, May the Road Rise Up to Meet You, (2012), about an Irishman who immigrates to New York during the Potato Famine and becomes a photographer, a society woman who is an abolitionist, and two slaves from Richmond, Virginia, whose lives converge during the Civil War.
Harry Turtledove, The Guns of the South, a fantasy/alternative history novel about what might have happened if the Confederacy had won the war with the help of time-travelers from the future.
Gore Vidal, Lincoln (1984), about the Presidency of Abraham Lincoln and the challenges he faced steering the United States through the Civil War.
Robert Penn Warren, Wilderness, about a Bavarian who comes to the U.S. to fight on the Union side in the Civil War.
V.V. Wedding, An Uncivilized Yankee (2011), historical fantasy/romance about an orphaned young woman who serves as a Healer in a Confederate unit and a Yankee scout; self-published.
Jessamyn West, The Friendly Persuasion
(1945), a collection of short stories about a Quaker family in Indiana during the Civil War.
Jessamyn West, Except for Me and Thee: A Companion to The Friendly Persuasion (1969), a collection of short stories about a Quaker family in Indiana during the Civil War.
Tom Wicker, Unto This Hour (1984), about the Battle of Second Manassas/Second Bull Run.
Ben Ames Williams, House Divided (1947), about a Confederate family related to Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War.
Daniel Woodrell, Woe to Live On (1987), about a young German-American on the Kansas-Missouri border who joins the brutal secessionist First Kansas Irregulars. Review
Frank Yerby, Captain Rebel (1955), about a Confederate blockade runner who romances a beautiful black woman, a slave-owner with black ancestry, and General Ben Butler, the Yankee "Beast" who occupied New Orleans.
Frank Yerby, McKenzie's Hundred (1985), about a woman spy for the Confederacy who marries an unprincipled Austrian count and begins to understand the violence at the heart of the Southern way of life when he commits an appalling act.
Marly Youmans, The Wolf Pit (2001), about a Confederate soldier and a mulatto slave woman.
Stark Young, So Red the Rose (1934), about life on a Mississippi plantation before, during and after the Civil War.
Civil War Mysteries
Click on the title for more information from Powell's Books or another online source, or if you're outside the U.S., try The Book Depository.
David Fuller, Sweetsmoke (2008), about a slave in 1862 determined to find the truth behind the murder of the freed black woman who taught him to read.
Michael Kilian, Murder at Manassas (2000), a Southerner tries to clear the name of a dead Northern soldier whose widow believes he was not killed fleeing the battlefield, but murdered; #1 in the Harrison Raines series.
Michael Kilian, A Killing at Ball's Bluff (2001), when a U.S. Secret Service agent fails to protect Abraham Lincoln's friend, he goes in pursuit of the killer; #2 in the Harrison Raines series.
Michael Kilian, The Ironclad Alibi (2002), a U.S. Secret Service agent investigates the construction of a Confederate ironclad and tries to clear the name of a friend accused of murder; #3 in the Harrison Raines series.
Michael Kilian, A Grave at Glorieta (2003), a U.S. Secret Service agent travels West to investigate Confederate operations; #4 in the Harrison Raines series.
Michael Kilian, The Shiloh Sisters (2004), a U.S. Secret Service agent investigates the murder during the Battle of Shiloh of beautiful twin sisters; #5 in the Harrison Raines series.
Michael Kilian, Antietam Assassins (2005), a U.S. Secret Service agent investigates the murder of a minister on the eve of the Battle of Antietam; #6 in the Harrison Raines series.
Owen Parry, Faded Coat of Blue (1999), about a Welsh immigrant hired to serve as a confidential agent to U.S. General George McClellan and investigate the death of a Union officer during the Civil War; #1 in the Abel Jones series.
Owen Parry, Shadows of Glory (2000), about a Welsh immigrant who serves as Union officer and confidential aide to President Lincoln, assigned to investigate rumors of Irish unrest in New York in 1862; #2 in the Abel Jones series.
Owen Parry, Call Each River Jordan (2001), about a confidential aide to President Lincoln who is sent into the Confederacy to investigate the massacre of 40 runaway slaves during the Civil War; #3 in the Abel Jones series.
Owen Parry, Honor’s Kingdom (2002), about a Welsh immigrant, now a confidential aide to President Lincoln, who returns to Britain to investigate the murder of a clergyman which has caused an uproar out of proportion to the man's lowly status; #4 in the Abel Jones series.
Owen Parry, Bold Sons of Erin (2003), about a confidential aide to President Lincoln who, following violence by Irish immigrants unwilling to be drafted into the Union Army, must investigate a general's murder; #5 in the Abel Jones series.
Owen Parry, Rebels of Babylon (2005), about a confidential aide to President Lincoln who must investigate a spate of murders in 1863 Civil War New Orleans; #6 in the Abel Jones series.
Late 19th Century North America
Click on the title for more information from Powell's Books or another online source, or if you're outside the U.S., try The Book Depository.
Tamera Alexander, A Lasting Impression (2011), historical romance about a woman whose passion is to create a lasting work of art and about a man whose quest for vengeance places him in her path; Christian message; #1 in the planned Belmont Mansion series.
Lynn Austin, Until We Reach Home (2008), about three orphaned sisters who immigrate from Sweden and settle in Chicago in 1897; Christian message.
Lynn Austin, All Things New (2012), historical romance about a woman who returns to her Virginia plantation with her widowed mother after the Civil War and begins a friendship with a Quaker from the north, an agent for the Freedman's Bureau; Christian message.
Natasha Bauman, The Disorder of Longing, about orchids, a young woman and her repressive husband in nineteenth century Boston.
Maryka Biaggio, Parlor Games (2013), about May Dugas, who went to Chicago at eighteen and used her skill at seduction to rise socially and travel the world. Review
Joanne Bischof, Be Still My Soul (2012), about a young woman in the Blue Ridge Mountains whose father forces her to marry a man she barely knows after the man kisses her; Christian message; #1 in the Cadence of Grace series.
Joanne Bischof, Though My Heart Is Torn (2013), about a young couple whose marriage faces challenge when another woman claims to be the husband's legal wife; Christian message; #2 in the Cadence of Grace series.
Joanne Bischof, My Hope Is Found (2013), about a woman who must decide which of two men to marry; Christian message; #3 in the Cadence of Grace series.
T.C. Boyle, San Miguel (2012), about a city woman and her family who move to a remote California island in 1888 hoping to restore her health, and the couple who take over their farm in 1930.
Alan Brennert, Moloka’i, about a Hawaiian girl who contracts leprosy in the late nineteenth century.
Ellen Bryson, The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno (2011), about a man P.T. Barnum hires for his "World's Thinnest Man" exhibit and then asks to spy on a mysterious woman.
Fred Busch, The Night Inspector, about a Civil War veteran who returns to New York and while attempting to repair his fortunes, becomes involved with a Creole prostitute and a deputy customs inspector and forgotten novelist Herman Melville.
Elizabeth Camden, The Lady of Bolton Hill (2011), about a woman journalist who returns to Baltimore from London in 1879 to find that her childhood sweetheart has become a wealthy industrialist; Christian message.
Elizabeth Camden, Against the Tide (2012), historical romance about a Boston woman who works as a U.S. Navy translator and a man who asks her help in translating documents which prove connected to a dangerous ring of criminals; Christian message.
DeAnna Cameron, The Belly Dancer (2009), about a woman assigned to enforce proper conduct at the Egyptian belly dancing exhibit at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair.
Stephen L. Carter, The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln (2012), alternative history which imagines that Lincoln was not assassinated in 1865 and was impeached in the Senate during his second term.
Megan Chance, Prima Donna (2009), about a promising young opera singer forced to flee New York and start over without money in the rough environment of Seattle in the Washington Territory.
Megan Chance, An Inconvenient Wife (2004), about a woman struggling for emotional health in Gilded Age New York.
Megan Chance, City of Ash (2011), about a Chicago socialite banished with her husband to the fledgling city of Seattle in 1888 and the actress who befriends her.
Harriet Scott Chessman, Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper (2002), about the relationship between the nineteenth century American Impressionist artist Mary Cassatt and her sister Lydia.
Francis Clark, Waking Brigid (2008), historical horror/fantasy about a beautiful Irish nun in post-Civil War Savannah who is drawn to her family's pagan legacy while white magicians and devil worshiper's clash over the city's soul.
Enrique Clio, The Far-Away War (2009), about Henry Reeve, a young man from Brooklyn who in 1869 joined the insurgents fighting against the Spanish in Cuba and rose to become a brigadier general in the Cuban army.
J. California Cooper, The Wake of the Wind, about emancipated slaves trying to find a safe place to live.
Lori Copeland, Twice Loved (2008), historical romance about a young Texas schoolteacher who must choose between marrying for duty or for love in the years after the Civil War; Christian message.
Lori Copeland, The One Who Waits for Me (2011), about two sisters with part-Indian blood, a former slave, and three soldiers in North Carolina during the months after the end of the Civil War; Christian message.
Sandra Dallas, The Bride’s House (2011), about a woman who marries a dull but responsible man in 1880 after becoming pregnant by a man who abandons her.
Mary Ellen Dennis, The Greatest Love on Earth (2011), historical romance about a lion tamer and a circus-owner's daughter in the 1870s.
Debra Diaz, Place of Peace (2010), historical romance about a woman in the post-Civil-War South who refuses to marry the man her father chooses for her; self-published.
Diann Ducharme, The Outer Banks House (2010), about a seventeen-year-old girl who moves to North Carolina with her wealthy family after the Civil War and is drawn to a fisherman, until revelations about her father's activities threaten their love for each other.
Allan W. Eckert, The Silent Sky: The Incredible Extinction of The Passenger Pigeon (1965), a novel about the life of last wild passenger pigeon known to exist, which was killed in 1900.
Selden Edwards, The Lost Prince (2012), about a Boston woman who returns from Vienna in the late 1890s with a journal that she believes gives her knowledge of the future and the ability to influence future events; sequel to The Little Book.
Elizabeth Engstrom, Lizzie Borden (1991), about Lizzie Borden, the Massachusetts woman tried for murdering her parents with an axe in 1892.
Jack Finney, Time and Again, about a government agent testing a time-travel theory who goes back to New York in the 1880s.
DeVa Gantt, A Silent Ocean Away: Colette's Dominion (2008), about a young woman from Richmond, Virginia, who accepts employment as a companion to the ailing wealthy wife of a sugar plantation owner in the Caribbean and governess to their children, only to discover a sinister plot against the wife; #1 in the Colette trilogy; DeVa Gantt is the pen name of sisters and co-authors Deb and Val Gantt.
DeVa Gantt, Decision and Destiny: Colette's Legacy (2009), about the governess for a man's three motherless children on a Caribbean sugar plantation who struggles to protect them from an abusive stepmother; #2 in the Colette trilogy; DeVa Gantt is the pen name of sisters and co-authors Deb and Val Gantt.
DeVa Gantt, Forever Waiting: Colette's Appeal (forthcoming in Nov. 2009); #3 in the Colette trilogy; DeVa Gantt is the pen name of sisters and co-authors Deb and Val Gantt.
Lawrence Goldstone, The Anatomy of Deception (2008), about a young doctor in 1889 Philadelphia who disagrees with his mentor about the results of the autopsy of a beautiful young woman.
Daisy Goodwin, The American Heiress (2011), about the daughter of ultra-wealthy parents in Gilded Age New York who is brought to England to attract a titled husband. Review
Dana Hand, Deep Creek (2010), a thriller about a small-town judge in 1887 Idaho who uncovers a massacre of 30 Chinese miners while on a fishing trip with his daughter, and then takes on the job of finding the killers.
John Harding, Florence and Giles (2011), about an orphaned brother and sister in New England whose governess seems to have evil intentions and supernatural powers. Review at The Independent
Jody Hedlund, The Doctor’s Lady (2011), historical romance about a man and a woman in the 1830s who both wish to go to India as missionaries and decide to marry because the mission board has stopped accepted unmarried men and women; Christian message.
Jody Hedlund, Unending Devotion (2012), historical romance about a young woman searching for her sixteen-year-old runaway sister amid the debauched and violent lumber camps of Michigan in 1883; Christian message.
Michael Hertz, Lord Gordon (2011), about an unhappily married woman who becomes involved with the struggle to control New York's Erie Railroad when she has an affair with a Scottish rival to her husband's client, Jay Gould; self-published.
Robert Hicks, A Separate Country (2009), about the Confederate general John Bell Hood in the years after the Civil War when, crippled by a wounded arm and the loss of a leg, he married again and settled in New Orleans, a hotbed of yellow fever and racial tension.
John Holt, The Thackery Journal (2013), a novel which imagines the assassination of President Lincoln was part of a conspiracy by U.S. Army generals to replace him with General Ulysses S. Grant; self-published.
Nancy Horan, Under the Wide and Starry Sky (2014), about Fanny van de Grift Osbourne, the American woman who met and later married Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson after leaving her philandering husband.
Katherine Keenum, Where the Light Falls (2013), about a young Ohio woman in Belle Epoque Paris and the conflicts between her artistic career and her relationship with an American Civil War veteran.
William Kennedy, The Flaming Corsage (1996), about a playwright and a woman from a long established family in Albany, New York, and their ill-fated marriage; set between 1884 and 1912; #6 in the Albany Cycle (#4 is set in the early 19th century; see the 20th Century page for the others).
Larry Kimport, A Small Harvest of Pretty Days (2007), about a woman who, after being accused of murdering a man who had gang-raped her years before, she fell in love with the drifter she believed to be the real killer.
Jane Kirkpatrick, The Daughter’s Walk (2011), about a young woman who joins her mother on a cross-country walk from Spokane to New York in 1896 as a fashion promotion, and afterward decides to go on a walk of her own.
Lee Langley, Butterfly's Shadow (2010), about the lives of the characters from Puccini's opera Madame Butterfly after Butterfly kills herself, leaving her baby with its American father.
Eric Lerner, Pinkerton's Secret, a novel in the form of a memoir about the self-promoting founder of the Pinkerton Detective Agency and the woman who assists him and becomes his lover.
J.R. Lindermuth, Watch the Hour (2009), about a coal company policeman who falls in love with an Irish girl involved with the "Molly Maguires," an organization dedicated to improving working conditions for Irish coal miners in Pennsylvania during the 1870s.
Dorothy Love, Beyond All Measure, (2011), historical romance about a young Boston woman who settles in Tennessee with plans to open a hat shop, and a Texan who owns the local lumber mill; Christian message; #1 in the Hickory Ridge Romances series.
Dorothy Love, Beauty for Ashes, (2012), historical romance set in 1876 about a beautiful young widow and a former rice planter from Charleston who plans to emigrate to Australia; Christian message; #2 in the Hickory Ridge Romances series.
Cari Lynn and Kellie Martin, Madam: A Novel of New Orleans (2014), about Mary Deubler, who rose to notoriety as Josie Arlington, a madam in the New Orleans Storyville district at the end of the nineteenth century.
Elizabeth Maguire, The Open Door (2008), a novel inspired by the life of Constance Fenimore Woolson, a popular American author who became friends with novelist Henry James after meeting him in Florence, Italy. Review
Louis Maistros, The Sound of Building Coffins (2009), a surrealistic novel about Vodou, death and redemption in New Orleans. Review
Thomas Mallon, Henry and Clara (1994), about the couple who shared the box at Ford's Theater with Abraham Lincoln and his wife the night he was assassinated.
Thomas Mallon, Two Moons (2000), about a mathematically gifted widow and an astronomer at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington D.C. in 1877.
Thomas Maltman, The Night Birds, about a German-American farming family and their struggles with present and past misfortunes in 1876 Minnesota.
Kate Manning, My Notorious Life (2013), about a daughter of Irish immigrants who becomes a New York midwife and comes into conflict with anti-vice crusader Anthony Comstock; loosely based on the life of Ann Trow Lohman.
Jan Marquart, Voices from the Land (2011), historical stories set in northern New Mexico; Christian message; self-published.
F. Van Wyck Mason, Trumpets Sound No More (1975), about a group of Confederates who set out after the surrender at Appomattox to find a treasure of the Mexican Emperor Maximilian said to be buried on an island off the Mexican coast.
Anthony McCarten, Brilliance (2012), about inventor Thomas Alva Edison and financier J.P. Morgan, whose relationship threatens Edison's spiritual and creative integrity. Review
Mark McGinty, The Cigar Maker (2010), about a Cuban rebel who settles in Tampa, Florida, with his family in 1898 and sets up a cigar factory amid the challenges of labor unrest, corruption and a violent underworld.
Ami McKay, The Virgin Cure (2012), about a slum girl sold as a servant in 1871, who escapes only to land in a brothel where men with syphilis hope to be cured by deflowering a virgin.
Arthur Meeker, Prairie Avenue
(1949), about a boy who comes to stay with wealthy relatives in Chicago during the late nineteenth century and discovers his adored aunt is not admirable in all respects. Review
Judith Miller, In the Company of Secrets (2007), about a young woman who takes a job as assistant chef at the elegant Hotel Florence in the company town of Pullman, where the Pullman railroad cars are manufactured; #1 in the Postcards from Pullman series; Christian message.
Judith Miller, Whispers Along the Rails (2007), about a young woman who works as assistant chef at the elegant Hotel Florence in the Pullman company town and also as an undercover detective for the company; #2 in the Postcards from Pullman series; Christian message.
Judith Miller, An Uncertain Dream (2008), about a young woman torn between her loyalty to her employer and the man she loves when employees of the Pullman Car Works go on strike; #3 in the Postcards from Pullman series; Christian message.
Judith Miller, A Hidden Truth (2012), about two young women in the Amana Colonies of Iowa in 1892 who want to uncover secrets that could change their lives; Christian message.
Serena Miller, The Measure of Katie Calloway (2011), historical romance about a woman who flees her violent husband and takes work as a cook in a lumber camp after the Civil War.
Robert Morgan, Gap Creek (1999), about a young married couple in Appalachia.
Robert Morgan, The Road from Gap Creek (2013), about a family in Appalachia during the Depression and World War II; sequel to Gap Creek.
Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus (2011), magical realism set at the end of the nineteenth century about two young magicians who perform in a circus that appears mysteriously at nightfall and disappears in the morning.
Thomas E. Morrissey, Donegan and the Splendid Little War (2002), about a war profiteer and pro-Cuban journalist who intentionally misleads the American public in an effort to get the United States to free Cuba from Spain in 1898; self-published.
Thomas E. Morrissey, Donegan and the Panama Canal (2009), about a journalist who conspires with American and French lobbyists to persuade President Theodore Roosevelt and Congress to build a canal in Panama; self-published; sequel to Donegan and the Splendid Little War.
Eric Nicol, Dickens of the Mounted (1989), a humorous novel about the third son of author Charles Dickens, who served in the Canadian North West Mounted Police during the late 1800s.
Cornelia Nixon, Jarrettsville (2009), about a woman who murders her fiancé, an act whose roots lie in the assassination of President Lincoln at the close of the Civil War.
Patricia O'Brien, Harriet and Isabella (2008), about the 1875 adultery trial of the famous clergyman and abolitionist Henry Ward Beecher and the division it caused between his daughters, Harriet Beecher Stowe (author of Uncle Tom's Cabin) and Isabella Beecher Hooker (a leader in the women's suffrage movement).
Felix J. Palma, The Map of Time (2011), historical fantasy in which H.G. Wells, the author of The War of the Worlds, investigates cases of time travel to and from the twenty-first century.
Felix J. Palma, The Map of the Sky (2012), historical fantasy in which H.G. Wells is asked to recreate the Martian invasion from his nove. The War of the Worlds; sequel to The Map of Time.
Gary E. Parker, Distant Shores, about a former child slave searching for his mother at the end of the Civil War; #3 in the Southern Tides series; Christian message.
Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller, A Daughter's Inheritance (2008), historical romance about a young woman who receives an inheritance that upsets her family and creates pressure for her to give up her love for the family boat-keeper; #1 in the Broadmoor Legacy series; Christian message.
Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller, An Unexpected Love (2008), historical romance about a young American woman who travels to England and is courted by two men, a wealthy but unscrupulous widower and a young minister who works with her father; #2 in the Broadmoor Legacy series; Christian message.
Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller, A Surrendered Heart (2009), historical romance about a young woman under pressure to marry a man she does not love, instead of studying medicine as she wishes, during a cholera epidemic; #3 in the Broadmoor Legacy series; Christian message.
Tracie Peterson and Judith Miller, To Have and To Hold (2011), about a young woman who moves back to Bridal Veil, the Georgia island where she grew up, with her father and discovers that investors want to build a resort on their land; #1 in the planned Bridal Veil series; Christian message.
Marge Piercy, Sex Wars (2005), about Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and Victoria Woodhull and their struggle to improve the lives of women.
Taylor M. Polites, The Rebel Wife, (2012), about a young widow in Reconstruction-era Alabama who discovers her husband's past was more complicated than she realized.
Beth Powning, The Sea Captain’s Wife (2011), about a New Brunswick woman whose longing to go to sea with her ship-captain husband turns to grim reality when he finally brings her with him.
Thomas Pynchon, Against the Day, a sprawling literary novel set during the years between the Chicago World’s Fair and the first World War.
Conrad Richter, Always Young and Fair (1947), about a beautiful but selfish Pennsylvania woman in the years after the Spanish-American War.
Conrad Richter, A Simple Honorable Man (1962), about a Pennsylvania shopkeeper who becomes a Lutheran minister at the age of 40 in the late nineteenth-century.
Conrad Richter, The Aristocrat (1968), about an aging spinster, the last of a family that once dominated her Pennsylvania town, and her battle of wills with a group of mine owners whose school taxes have gone unpaid. Review at Time Magazine
Claire Holden Rothman, The Heart Specialist (2011), about an orphaned Quebec girl determined to pursue a medical career, despite the fact that Canadian medical schools will not admit women.
Peter Rushforth, Pinkerton’s Sister (2005), about the reclusive sister of Ben Pinkerton, the character from Madame Butterfly
Peter Rushforth, A Dead Language (2006), about the tormented youth of Ben Pinkerton, the character from Madame Butterfly
Ruth Rymer, Susannah, A Lawyer: From Tragedy to Triumph (2009), about a young woman who decides to become a lawyer after she is attacked and nearly killed in 1877, even though the Supreme Court has recently declared women to be unsuited to practice law.
Kim Vogel Sawyer, A Whisper of Peace (2011), historical romance about an Alaska woman whose mother was Athabascan and father was white, and a missionary who comes to set up a church and school for the Athabascan people in the late 1800s; Christian message.
Kim Vogel Sawyer, What Once Was Lost (2013), about a young woman in Kansas who finds herself in charge of a poor farm in the 1890s after her missionary parents die; Christian message.
John Sayles, A Moment in the Sun (2011), a panoramic story of the year 1897 from the perspective of a gold miner in the Yukon, an African-American soldier in the Spanish-American war, the man who assassinates President McKinley, and many others.
Timothy Schaffert, The Swan Gondola (2014), about a ventriloquist who falls in love with an enigmatic woman who plays Marie Antoinette in a guillotine scene at the 1898 Omaha World’s Fair.
Barbara Scott, Listen With Your Heart (2002), historical romance set in America and Ireland about the daughter of a stage magician who falls in love with an Irish tenor; self-published.
James Scott, The Kept (2014), about a midwife and her twelve-year-old son in upstate New York in the winter of 1897 who struggle to survive after a violent tragedy and confront the truth about their family.
Steven A. Segal, Ida's Story (2013), about a woman raised in poverty in Kansas City who rises above numerous traumatic experiences, including the death of her husband and being forced into an insane asylum.
Anya Seton, The Turquoise (1946), about a woman who leaves her native Santa Fe as a teenager, searching for a better life, only to find herself alone and pregnant in New York City.
Ntozake Shange and Ifa Bayeza, Some Sing, Some Cry (2010), a family saga following seven generations of black American women from the time of Emancipation into the present.
Robert Anthony Siegel, All Will Be Revealed, about a late nineteenth century pornographic photographer and a medium who has begun to fake her trances.
Dominic Smith, Bright and Distant Shores (2011), about two orphans, young men in Chicago and the New Hebrides, caught up in an insurance magnate's scheme to bring tribal artifacts and Melanesian natives to Chicago to celebrate the completion of his company's skyscraper in the 1890s.
Annette Snyder, Arpetta Honor, historical romance set in the late nineteenth century about a New York attorney whose wife is unbalanced and the servant girl who loves him.
Irving Stone, Adversary in the House (1947), a biographical novel about union leader Eugene V. Debs.
Beverly Swerling, City of Promise (2011), about a New York man who returns from the Civil War and has the idea to built the city's first apartment house for middle class residents.
Lalita Tademy, Cane River, about four generations of black women in nineteenth century Louisiana.
Elswyth Thane, Ever After, about two Virginia families during the last decade of the nineteenth century; #3 in the Williamsburg novels.
Herman K. Trabish, Oil in Their Blood (2006), about two American families and their quest to control oil resources from the late nineteenth century to World War I; #1 in a planned trilogy; self-published.
Herman K. Trabish, Oil in Their Blood: The American Decades (2008), about two American families and their quest to control oil resources; #2 in a planned trilogy; self-published.
John Vernon, Peter Doyle, a satiric novel about a man who unknowingly possesses some of Napoleon’s body parts.
Gore Vidal, 1876 (1976), about an unacknowledged son of Aaron Burr who returns to America in 1876 with the ambition of regaining his fortune.
Gore Vidal, Empire (1987), about a woman who publishes a Washington D.C. newspaper during the Gilded Age.
Victoria Vinton, The Jungle Law, about Rudyard Kipling’s friendship with a neighbor’s boy after he moved to Vermont in 1892.
Susan Vreeland, Clara and Mr. Tiffany (2011), about Clara Driscoll, an employee of Louis Comfort Tiffany who designed some of his most celebrated glass lamps and windows.
Margaret Walker, Jubilee (1966), about the daughter of a house-slave in Georgia after the Civil War.
Helene Wecker, The Golem and the Jinni (2013), historical fantasy about a Jewish supernatural creature and an Arabic supernatural creature who meet and become friends in an immigrant neighborhood of New York City in 1899.
Jessamyn West, Leafy Rivers (1967), about a young bride in Ohio territory in the 1880s.
Edmund White, Hotel de Dream (2007), about the last days of American author Stephen Crane (who wrote The Red Badge of Courage) as he and his wife spend recklessly in England and he begins writing a scandalous new novel about a boy prostitute.
Frank Yerby, Pride's Castle (1949), about a New York robber baron's love for a woman.
Frank Yerby, A Woman Called Fancy (1951), about a woman in Augusta, Georgia, who flees the marriage arranged for her by her drunken father.
Frank Yerby, The Serpent and the Staff (1958), about a man who escapes poverty in New Orleans' Irish district to become a physician and works to bring modern medicine to former slaves in the days of the Ku Klux Klan.
Frank Yerby, The Garfield Honor (1961), about a man hunted by the brothers of two women he took as lovers, a woman who killed herself after he left to fight in the Civil War, and a woman he met after settling in Mexico.
Frank Yerby, Griffin's Way (1962), about the Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi after the Civil War.
Frank Yerby, The Girl from Storyville: A Victorian Novel (1972), about a young woman who seems fated to follow the mother who abandoned her into the life of a New Orleans prostitute.
Nancy Zaroulis, The Last Waltz (1984), about two young women who come of age in Boston during the 1880s, one wealthy and beautiful, the other poor and plain.
Mysteries: Late 19th Century America
Click on the title for more information from Powell's Books or another online source, or if you're outside the U.S., try The Book Depository.
Michelle Black, Séance in Sepia (2011), a standalone mystery about a present-day woman why buys a spirit photograph and discovers the ghostly images in the photograph were connected with an 1875 murder trial, and about the man accused of the murders. Review at Reading the Past
Kenneth Cameron, Winter at Death’s Hotel (2013), a thriller in which Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's wife Louisa tries to find a serial killer terrorizing New York during her husband's book tour to America in the 1890s.
Caleb Carr, The Alienist, a psychologist investigates a series of murders in late nineteenth century New York.
Caleb Carr, The Angel of Darkness, about an investigation into a series of murders in late nineteenth century New York; sequel to The Alienist.
Megan Chance, The Spiritualist, about a New York woman suspected of murdering her husband during a séance.
Paula Cohen, Gramercy Park (2003), a thriller about a celebrated tenor who rents a secluded New York mansion in 1894 only to find it still inhabited by a frightened young woman, the former ward of the mansion's deceased owner.
David Ebershoff, The 19th Wife (2008), a historical story about a former wife of the Mormon prophet Brigham Young who leads a crusade against polygamy in 1875, interwoven with a present-day story of a young man thrown out of a polygamist sect in Utah who returns to find out the truth behind his father's murder.
Steven F. Havill, Race for the Dying (2009), about a young physician who arrives in a logging town on the Washington coast in 1891 to find that too many people are dying and the clinic he is supposed to work for is strangely organized. Review or Author Interview
Anna Loan-Wilsey, A Lack of Temperance (2012), about a Kansas woman who in 1892 takes a position as temporary secretary in the Ozarks, where her employer is murdered; #1 in the Hattie Davish mystery series.
Anna Loan-Wilsey, Anything But Civil (2013), about a traveling secretary who takes a job in Galena, Illinois, with a British scholar who shortly after her arrival is falsely accused of murder; #2 in the Hattie Davish mystery series.
M. Louisa Locke, Maids of Misfortune: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery (2009), about a clairvoyant young widow in 1879 San Francisco who goes undercover as a maid to investigate the death of a client; self-published; #1 in the Annie Fuller mystery series.
M. Louisa Locke, Uneasy Spirits: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery (2011), about a clairvoyant young widow in San Francisco who teams up with a young Irish servant to investigate and expose a fraudulent medium; self-published; #2 in the Annie Fuller mystery series.
M. Louisa Locke, Bloody Lessons: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery (2013), about a young widow in San Francisco who teaches school and moonlights as a clairvoyant; self-published; #3 in the Annie Fuller mystery series.
Carol McCleary, The Alchemy of Murder (2010), a mystery in which American reporter Nellie Bly, novelist Jules Verne and scientist Louis Pasteur team up to solve a murder at the 1889 Paris World's Fair; #1 in the Nellie Bly mystery series.
Carol McCleary, The Illusion of Murder (2011), a mystery featuring American reporter Nellie Bly as sleuth, traveling in Egypt where she witnesses a murder with international implications; #2 in the Nellie Bly mystery series. Review
Carol McCleary, The Formula for Murder (2012), a mystery featuring American journalist Nellie Bly making a trip to England to investigate the murder of another reporter with the assistance of Oscar Wilde and Arthur Conan Doyle; #3 in the Nellie Bly mystery series.
Frances McNamara, Death at the Fair (2008), about a woman graduate student from the University of Chicago who must clear her colleague of a murder charge during the Chicago World's Fair in 1893.
Frances McNamara, Death at Hull House (2009), about a woman who takes a job at Jane Addam's charitable community, Hull House, and must find out whether a murder relates to her own family tragedy; #2 in the Emily Cabot mystery series.
Frances McNamara, Death at Pullman (2011), about a woman and her friend who go to the Pullman company town in 1894 to help the starving, laid-off workers, and find they must investigate a murder connected to a bombing plot; #3 in the Emily Cabot mystery series.
Frances McNamara, Death at Woods Hole (2012), about a woman and her friend who go to Cape Cod in 1894 to study at the Marine Biology Lab and find a corpse in the squid tank; #4 in the Emily Cabot mystery series.
Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini, The Bughouse Affair (2013), about a woman who used to be a Pinkerton detective and her partner, a former Secret Service agent, who operate a detective agency in San Francisco in the 1890s and take on two seemingly unrelated cases, hampered by a madman who believes he is Sherlock Holmes; #1 in the Carpenter and Quincannon mystery series.
Marcia Muller and Bill Pronzini, The Spook Lights Affair (2013), about a team of detectives in 1895 San Francisco who investigate the apparent suicide of a debutante; #2 in the Carpenter and Quincannon mystery series.
Ann Parker, Silver Lies (2003), about a woman who co-owns a saloon with a free black man in a Colorado silver mining town who must find out what happened when a friend's corpse is discovered behind their saloon; #1 in the Silver Rush mystery series.
Ann Parker, Iron Ties (2006), about a woman saloon co-owner in a Colorado silver mining town who investigates after a photographer friend witnesses a shooting on the line of the railroad being built to the town; #2 in the Silver Rush mystery series.
Ann Parker, Leaden Skies (2009), about a woman saloon co-owner in a Colorado silver mining town who investigates after former President Grant's 1880 visit to the town sparks a crime wave; #3 in the Silver Rush mystery series.
Cynthia Peale, The Death of Colonel Mann (2000), about a man in Victorian Boston who is searching for incriminating letters written by his young cousin and discovers the corpse of a blackmailer instead; #1 in the Beacon Hill mystery series.
Cynthia Peale, Murder at Bertram's Bower (2001), about a woman who runs a home for fallen women in Victorian Boston and convinces her brother to investigate when two of her young residents are murdered; #2 in the Beacon Hill mystery series.
Cynthia Peale, The White Crow (2002), about a woman who convinces her brother to investigate when a man drops dead during a seance; #3 in the Beacon Hill mystery series.
Matthew Pearl, The Technologists, (2012), about students in the first graduating class of the new Massachusetts Institute of Technology who team up to investigate a series of horrifying diasasters in 1868.
Stef Penney, The Tenderness of Wolves (2007), a literary novel about a Scottish immigrant in coastal Canada who decides to track down the real killer after her son is accused of murder in 1867.
Kieran Shields, The Truth of All Things, (2012, also titled The Salem Witch Society), about a deputy marshal in 1892 Portland, Maine, who must team up with a part-Indian Pinkerton agent to solve a murder which might be connected to the witch persecutions of 200 years earlier; #1 in the Lean and Grey series.
Kieran Shields, A Study in Revenge (2013, also titled The Devil’s Revenge), about a police detective and a half-Abenaki-Indian criminalist in 1893 Portland, Maine, who investigate the case of a murdered thief whose body was removed from its grave and disfigured; #2 in the Lean and Grey series.
Jane Steen, The House of Closed Doors (2012), about an unmarried and pregnant seventeen-year-old sent to a poor farm near Chicago in the 1870s, where she begins to suspect a murder has taken place; self-published.
Frank Yerby, Gillian (1960), about a man struggling to find out who really killed an Alabama heiress after his innocent brother has confessed and been sentenced to execution.
Back to Top