Thursday, July 13, 2017

Flight of Dreams Review & Giveaway!

If you're a regular reader of Top Shelf Text, then you know that I recently took a quick trip to the Hamptons. If you're a follower of my Instagram, then you may have seen me apologize to my bookworm friends for being a bad listener.

Here's the scoop: while packing, I asked my Instagram followers whether I should bring Flight of Dreams or Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale. I like to pick a few reads from different genres when traveling, and I was looking for a quality historical fiction novel to bring along to the beach. While the majority of responses were in favor of the latter, I received a few enthusiastic votes for Flight of Dreams, with the qualifier that this was a suspenseful and quick historical fiction read. 



Those few votes won me over, and I am so glad they did because Flight of Dreams was one of those reading experiences that, after finishing, I wish I could experience for the first time again. (And not to worry, friends -- I fully plan to read The Nightingale this summer.)

I had Flight of Dreams on my shelf since reading The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress earlier in the year after the MMD Book Club was lucky enough to chat with Ariel Lawhon herself for an author event. I was instantly smitten with the way that Lawhon talked about the art of writing, the immense research she does in preparation for her books, and the way that ideas spring up in her life. (Psst! Lawhon has a new novel coming out in February of 2018 and I am already impatient to read it.)

Flight of Dreams is Lawhon's imagining of the events that took place leading up to the explosion of the infamous Hindenburg. The story takes place over the course of three days, as the passengers and crew on the Hindenburg journey from Germany to New Jersey. While historical record claims that the flight was uneventful, Lawhon imagines the journey to be much more interesting -- rife with tension, a love story, and revenge. Under the surface, people are nervous about Hitler's rise to power, and while many of the people on board seem to be there for pure enjoyment, all of them harbor secrets about their true reasons for taking flight.

The story is told from multiple perspectives -- from the real people who were actually on the flight, so it's one that I recommend you read distraction-free. (The beach was a perfect setting for me to get lost in the story.) I don't normally get so emotionally invested in characters, but I had full-on heart palpitations when it came to the defining moment in this journey.

Here's what sealed the deal for me at the end, and why I love historical fiction in general and Lawhon's approach in particular. In the author's note, she writes:

"They said it was an uneventful flight...But here's the problem: I don't believe them...I've taken enough transatlantic flights to know you can't place that many people in such a small space for any length of time and not have tension brewing beneath the surface. But if you're going to call bullshit on historical events, you'd best have a good theory to offer as an alternative. This novel is my attempt at a theory."

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GIVEAWAY CLOSED! 


Because I loved this book so much, I want to share it with you. 
To win a copy of your own, comment below and tell me a favorite historical fiction read - I'm always looking to add to my to-read list!

Note: This giveaway is open to U.S. applicants only and not sponsored in any way. 
One winner will receive a copy of Flight of Dreams.
Giveaway entries valid through Wednesday, July 19th.

96 comments:

  1. I love all three of Ruta Sepetys' novels: Between Shades of Gray is about the Lithuanian genocide by the Russians during WWII, Salt to the Sea is about the sinking of a passenger ship for German refugees during WWII, and Out of the Easy is about a girl who lives in New Orleans (maybe the 30's or 40's?) and whose mother is a prostitute, and how she is trying to escape that life for something better. Each was was amazingly wonderful! Authentic, compelling characters, impeccable research, lots of struggle, lots of hope.

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  2. I'd have to go with The Book Thief and also Memoirs of a Geisha. I like historical fiction too and am looking for more great reads. I loved Devil in the White City which wasn't fiction but definitely read like it. Thanks for your posts and instagram stories!!! Julia W.

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  3. I definitely recommend The Nightingale. I also loved Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and News of the World. Looking forward to The Alice Network as well!

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  4. The Nightingale is definitley one of my favorite historical fiction titles of all time, but this was one has been on my TBR since the MMD book club chat with Ariel as well!

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  5. I love The Book Thief and All the Light We Cannot See and Lilac Girls.

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  6. I loved The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I haven't read too much historical fiction as of late. That one sounds great. Thanks for the giveaway.

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  7. Love your review of this one. It has been on my TBR list, but I think I need to push it to the top now.
    One of my absolute favorites is The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd.

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  8. I can't wait to read this one! My favorite historical fiction reads of the year are Lilac Girls and News of the World, but you can't go wrong with Ruta Sepetys. Her books are amazing!

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  9. Flight of Dreams has been on my TBR for quite some time, it looks like a great book. Two of my favorite historical fiction novels are News of the World and The Red Tent.

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  10. I enjoyed Lilac Girls and The Kitchen House a lot!!!

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  11. Oh gosh! One of my favorites is Ahab's Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund! Loved the main character Una. Would love to read this one too! Your review has me sold!

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  13. Going back to books that were popular a few years ago: Freeman by Leonard Pitts, Mudbound by Hillary Jordan, The Angel Makers by Jessica Gregson, The Dry Grass of August by Anna Jean Mayhew - all given five stars on my Goodreads account.

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  14. Historical fiction is my favorite genre! I love The Nightingale for traditional historical fiction and Outlander for something a little out of the box ��

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  15. An all time favorite series of mine is The Mark of the Lion trilogy by Francine Rivers. The setting is Ancient Rome/Corinth/Ephesus and her writing is so incredibly powerful. The second book, An Echo in the Darkness was my favorite of the 3. I remember reading it at like 2am and just weeping, it was so moving. Told from multiple perspectives, I felt so attached to all the characters. (Note: the first book starts with a brief history of the time which always seems to bog people down...just get through and it'll be so so so worth it!)

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  16. I don't read much historical fiction, but I enjoyed the first Maisie Dobbs book and LOVED The Help (although I'm guessing you've read that one). I read Unbroken (nonfiction) last summer, and even though I loved it, it was so intense that it's made me shy away from all of the WWII fiction lately. I guess I need to bite the bullet and pick one up!

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  17. I loved The Paris Wife by Paula McClain. It was that book that got me interested in Ernest Hemingway's story. Now I am obsessed. I also really like Erika Robuck and all of her historical fiction novels.

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  18. Outlander for sure! I am so invested in the characters. The premise sounds so outlandish (lol) but it really is full of complex characters and in-depth world building!

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  19. We Were The Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter was astounding! It is based on the author's family and I was blown away by this family's strength and resiliency during WW2. The beauty of this book had me in tears.

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  20. Ugh! Now I NEED to read this. I also really enjoyed The Wife, The Maid, and The Mistress. Some favorite historical fiction books include The Nightingale, The Book Thief, All The Light We Cannot See -- can you tell I have a thing for WW2?!

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  21. Historical fiction! Have you read Homegoing or The Kitchen House? I also loved The Lilac Girls. All different eras, but all have great plots and characters.

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  22. I would have to say that A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner is a new favorite for me. I struggle to remember much about a book after I finished it, but this one has stayed with me. Another favorite is Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.

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  23. I'm not sure if it totally counts as Historical Fiction (a genre I'm really only beginning to dip my toes into these past few years!), but Guernsey Literary + Potato Peel Pie Society will always, always have my heart. This one sounds right up my (and my hi-fi-loving sister's!) alley!

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  24. To be honest, historical fiction is usually not my cup of tea! But you make Flight of Dreams sound so compelling, I'd love to give it a try if I win!

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  25. I loved the author chat too! The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton is definitely one of my top favs of this genre.

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  26. The Maggie Hope series by Susan Eila MacNeal is super fun! They're quick reads too.

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  27. This sounds interesting! I loved All the Light We Cannot See...it's one of my favorite books! -Allison H (@books.and.bevvies on Instagram)

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  28. One of my favorites is The Shoemakers Wife. So Good!

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  29. My favorite historical fiction is the duo of Winds of War and War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk. These are MASSIVE books. But so worth it. I also loved our chat with Ariel Lawhon and would love to read Flight of Dreams!

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  30. I really enjoyed The Book Thief.

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  31. Reading through everyone's comments and thinking, "Yes! I loved that one too!" So many good ones. Two that have stayed with me the longest are The Nightingale and Homegoing.

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  32. I can see that I am in good company with my love is historical fiction! I recently read Lilac Girls and adored it, but I think my favorite has been To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey. I also really enjoyed The Alienist by Caleb Carr because it came on the heels of reading a Eleanor Roosevelt biography which featured Teddy Roosevelt and he plays a role in The Alienist!

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  33. I don't know that I could pick a favorite historical fiction, but I am currently reading one that is set in the same time period as Flight of Dreams. It is The Muralist by B.A. Shapiro. It was a recommendation from my mother and so far I am enjoying seeing the struggle of those immigrating and running away from WWII and Hitler, and the relevance that has to us today as we turn anyway so many people fleeing the Middle East and the wars and persecution in their countries. I would love a copy of Flight of Dreams!!

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  34. I am loving books from multiple perspectives right now! That alone may cause this one to move way up on my TBR list. A recent historical fiction favorite would be All the Light We Cannot See. This one is also told from multiple perspectives and the ending just gave me all the feels.

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  35. I loved Wolf Hall! I also loved Home going so much. Looking forward to this read!

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  36. I really liked The Shadow Queen by Rebecca Dean. It's about Wallis Simpson, and I thought it was fascinating!

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  37. I have read a few interesting historical novels this year. being a Maisie Dobbs fan because of the facts surrounding WW1 and 2, I just finished The Care And Management Of Lies by the same author which covers the beginnings of WW1, marriage, a focus on food, waiting and loss.

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  38. I just read We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter and loved it! The Author's note really added a lot to the book. I also liked A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline. Historical Fiction is my favorite!

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  40. I love love love Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. But I will always read any WWII topic book.

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  41. I really enjoyed the book Burial Rites. It's set in Iceland and is about the last woman ever executed. It's beautifully written and pretty compelling.

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  42. Hard to pick just one! Most recently, I enjoyed Salt to the Sea and The Girl Who Wrote in Silk, but The Nightingale is the best from the past few years.

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  43. My all time favorite would probably be All the Light We Cannot See. I loved the juxtaposition of the two main characters and how they came together to save each other in the end.

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  44. I loved All the Light We Cannot See! Where the Light Falls is my next historical fiction read. I'm really excited to dig into it!

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  45. You know it's hard to pick just one great read, so I'll give you several that have stayed with me throughout the years. My first historical fiction novel I loved was Johnny Tremain (read in 5th grade). Now I find myself wanting to reread The Help, Outlander, and The Nightengale, all based around the world and divin deep into this historical and societal issues of the time with characters that hook you from the very beginning. On my TBR list is The Orphan's Tale and Lincoln in the Bardo.

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  46. Sarah's Key! The way the author goes back and forth between past and present kept it suspenseful. Plus, I learned so much about Paris during WWII.

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  47. City of Light by Lauren Belfer is a favorite of mine. It's set in Buffalo where I live so I love reading about the same streets I walk every day. I also loved Water for Elephants, Sarah's Key, The Kitchen House and so many others!

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  48. I love the entire Maisie Dobbs series and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. Basically anything set in England around the 2 world wars.

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  49. I've just recently been getting into historical fiction, so all the light we cannot see is my favorite so far.

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  50. I recently enjoyed Salt to the Sea and The War That Saved My Life!

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  51. I definitely count Invention of Wings as historical fiction.. so that'd be my pick. Loved it!! I made sure that the old Grimke house was one of our first stops in our recent trip to Charleston (it's a law office now.. but you can totally picture it way back when if you stand across the street - hah!)

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  52. Oh my! I added this to my "to read" list when you were reading it! What a fun giveaway! Thanks for the chance to win! I was going to suggest The Nightingale since I'm not sure it could be topped as my favorite read this year, but close behind it are Secrets of a Charmed Life (Meissner) and Letters to the Lost (Grey).

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  53. The Nightingale would have to be an all-time favorite. Such a beautiful and gut-wrenching story! I also recently read The Kitchen House and Glory Over Everything by Kathleen Grissom which are both absolutely incredible! Must-reads!

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  54. Thanks for the fun giveaway! I would love Flight of Dreams. There are already so many great titles mentioned in the comments above. To echo many of the early commenters, I was completely swept away by The Nightingale. I also really enjoyed Paula McClain's The Paris Wife and Circling the Sun. All the Light We Cannot See is one of my all-time favorite books. I love getting lost within the pages of a historical novel about World War II.

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  55. When I read Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein it put me in a reading slump for months because all I wanted to do was read that book for the first time again! I read it 3 times in a year!

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  56. I love so many historical fiction books, yet, I wouldn't name it as a favorite genre. I just finished The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah last night. I've been so hesitant to read that book but it really was a good book. It's like a slow steady burn of consistently good storytelling from start to finish. However, my favorite is Salt To The Sea by Ruta Sepetys. She is one of my favorite authors.

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  57. The Nightingale has also been my favorite historical fiction that I've read lately, but a close second was The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes.

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  58. Mischling and Everyone Brave is forgiven... Both intense WW2 NPVELS.

    Moloka'i... HF about Hawaii... Can't get it out of my head!

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  59. priscilla lescarbeau (2.ps.in.a.bokstagram)July 13, 2017 at 1:01 PM

    Historical fiction is by far my favorite genre! i absolutely loved The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. I felt every emotion the two main characters were going through, especially Vianne. As a mother of two I couldn't imagine the struggle mothers had to go through during this devastating time in history.
    My new favorite (#howdidilivethislongwithoutreadingthis) has been the Outlander series. I mean Diana Gabaldon can write a story!!! How she keeps it going and keeps my interest is beyond me, but I keep coming back for more. Love that the books are now being made into a series. Who doesn't love to watch their favorite characters come to life? Speaking of which I have recently been made aware that The Nightingale is being made into a movie with a release date in 2018?!?!? Plenty of time to read it!

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  60. So hard to choose favorites in historical fiction! One of my favorites read this year is The Nightingale, but Homegoing and Everyone Brave is Forgiven are also a huge favorites. I've been reading a ton of WW II fiction this year so Flight of Dreams is definitely high on my list. I also love historical fiction by Susan Meissner, Kathleen Grissom, Adriana Trigiani. Great review and what a fun thread of comments to read through!

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  61. My favorite is Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner. It is a gorgeous literary fiction novel that tells a family story of how they settled their part of CA. This is a definite I wish that I could read it again for the first time. I led a book group last summer and had to reread it and it was still pretty amazing!

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  62. Ah, so hard to pick just one! But I'm going to go with an oldie but goodie that I haven't seen anyone else post: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. It's set during the French Revolution and has one of the most heartbreaking and beautiful endings I've ever read. It's definitely not an easy read, but it's one of my favorites!

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  63. I recently read We Were the Lucky Ones which is based on a true story of a Jewish family in Poland during WWII! Their story is absolutely incredible and it was written beautifully! One of my favorite books this year!!

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  64. Lilac Girls was so so good! Loved reading a story interwoven through countries and their contrasting views on WW2.

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  65. Suite Francaise by by Irène Némirovsky is such a beautiful book. I really felt it in my soul, which sounds sooooo cheesy but as a fellow bookworm I know you know what I mean! I don't remember much of the plot, just that it was about WWII France and everyone was fleeing. I definitely remember how it made me feel, though!

    I didn't know that the author died at Auschwitz until after I read (and loved) the book, but it sure makes the book feel even more memorable.

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  66. Thank you for hosting!! <3 Okay I can't just recommend ONE so... Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys is a new WWII historical fiction favorite of mine. But I also love The Secret History of the Pink Carnation Series by Lauren Willig for something lighter - romance/mystery. Aaaand I am Livia by Phyllis T. Smith is an ancient Roman historical story that I absolutely couldn't put down.

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  67. Can't recommend Beatrice Colin's To Capture What We Cannot Keep enough!

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  68. Oh I adore historical fiction! The Book Thief is an all time fave of mine. I also loved News of the World, it was so beautiful. I also love Victorian detective novels. The Barker and Llewelyn series by Will Thomas is a lot of fun, and is anything by Deanna Raybourn. Ok and lastly, check out Susanna Kearsley if you're not yet familiar. :)

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  69. I think my favorite historical fiction novels are The Nightingale and All the Light We Cannot See. I adore World War II fiction, particularly set in France. I am excited to check out Flight of Dreams now! Thanks for sharing!

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  70. I have to say that I never want to pick up historical fiction. However, when I do, I cannot put it down! My most recent read that I enjoyed was Lilac Girls.

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  71. I have read many of Lisa See's books and enjoyed them all. Snowflower and the Secret Fan is one of my favorites.

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  72. I loved Wolf Hall--much more than I even expected! I enjoy the Tudor period, but didn't think I would care for a novel from Cromwell's point of view. I was wrong!

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  73. Loved The Birth of Venus. Historical fiction is my jam!

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  74. The Century Trilogy by Ken Follett - no one does historical fiction like Follett (in my opinion!). I also loved the Book Thief by Marcus Zusak and Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys.

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  75. My favorite historical fiction read so far this year was definitely Homegoing. I also just read Where the Light Falls which comes out this month (or maybe it's out?) which is set during the French Revolution. That's not a time period I read about much, but it was a great one!

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  76. This book sounds so good!!! I loved The Women in the Castle.

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  78. I LOVE historical fiction and will read regardless of the giveaway - but I just finished Lilac Girls (so good), you have to read Nightingale, and All the Light We Cannot See. The Book Thief and The Girl with the Pearl Earring were the books that got me hooked to the genre back when I was 13 :) - Emily

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  79. Hey there! So I'm so excited about this! I loved reading Brigid of Kildare. Also, for fun historical romance, any books by Judith McNaught are so entertaining! Love your blog!!! Thank you for all of your suggestions!!!:)

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  80. My favorite historical fiction author is Ann Rinaldi! I think most of what she writes is technically YA, because my favorite book of hers, Time Enough for Drums, was something I first read in middle school, but I really love everything of hers that I've read!

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  81. "Goodnight from London" is my most recent FAVORITE historical fiction book. I'm a huge "Outlander" fan, love anything from Ruth Septys, and I *highly* recommend "The Nightingale"!

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  82. I loved Hum of You Don't Know the Words, All the Light We Cannot See, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. Looking forward to picking up Wolf Hall.

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  83. I think I'd have to say Lonesome Dove. This book took me months to get through, as it wasn't my typical kinda book, but it's one of my dad's all time favorites, so I wanted to stick with it. So glad I did. I loved it and still think of it all the time...6 years after finishing it!

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  84. Pretty much all the ones that everyone else said, but I'd add "The Color Purple", "Christy", "Anne of Green Gables", "Those Who Save Us" by Jenna Blum.

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  85. I have so many historical fictions loves, but I really enjoyed Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye. Such a fun novel!

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  86. I'm new to historical fiction because for the longest time I just assumed I wouldn't like it. After reading a couple because of book clubs, and loving them, I'm now convinced I was wrong and have missed out on a whole genre! So this giveaway is perfect. My most recent favorite historical fiction book would have to Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys.

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  87. Historical fiction is my favorite genre. I especially love World War II books. However, I just finished A Gentleman in Moscow. WOW! This book has moved up to one of my all-time favorites. I love where historical fiction leads me. After reading this book, I thoroughly enjoyed a Netflix series on the Romanovs. And I am not finished with my Russian phase! 🤓

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  88. Historical fiction books I've enjoyed this year have been The Women in the Castle, The Alice Network, and The Velvet Hours.

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  89. So hard to pick one to mention :) one that comes to mind is the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Such a fun read!

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  90. This sounds like a great pick but you have got to read The Nightingale! Potato Peel Pie Society is also one that has been on my TBR for a while.

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  91. What a great giveaway! I loved The Poisonwood Bible!

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  92. I'm glad you asked for us to comment with a favorite historical fiction because it reminded me how much I really like historical fiction! It also helped me realize how infrequently I actually seem to pick up a book from that genre! I love several of the books already mentioned, but wanted to add one that I didn't see listed. I read it awhile back, but I really liked The Ship of Brides, by Jojo Moyes. This was a story about the journey of Australian war brides traveling to England to be with their husbands after WW2 ended. Before reading this, I knew nothing about these war brides or their journey. I just found it very interesting.

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  93. Ah! This giveaway is amazing. HF can be tricky because it can be difficult to make a reader care about a past event that is not done justice in a textbook. The memory of that can stay with a person and can make said person steer clear of such an interesting genre. The most recent HF I read was The Alice Network, and it was not what I expected but in the best way! I loved the characters and alternating perspectives. The author, Kate Quinn, told an amazing story.

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  94. So many fabulous Historical Fiction books. I read this genre quite a bit- but my recent favorites are:

    Fall of Marigolds, Susan Meissner
    Salt to the Sea, Ruta Sepetys
    Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, Lisa See (I've loved all her books)

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  95. Flight Of Dreams sounds great! I loved Secrets Of A Charmed Life by Susan Meissner. It was beautifully descriptive and heartfelt. I felt like I was there and it captured me!

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  96. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I'm realizing I haven't read too many historical fiction now and should get on it stat. Thank you for the giveaway!

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