Rhys Bowen Recommends 6 Historical Fiction Books

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I confess that the historical novels I love involve strong women who find themselves challenged beyond what they ever imagined they could do. Until recently war stories were all about heroic men. Now, recently, stories of equally heroic women are appearing: women who spied, who broke codes, who flew planes, who risked their lives and until now have been unappreciated.

In my latest novel of World War II,, Where the Sky Begins, my heroine is a simple woman from the slums of East End London who has her whole life taken from her when her house is bombed and she is buried in the rubble. Having to start over, wounded and evacuated to the countryside, she not only survives but finds strengths she did not know she had — founding a teashop where the young airmen could feel a touch of home and eventually unmasking a traitor in their midst. She encounters love, hope, and betrayal but comes through everything that life throws at her, as so many women of her generation did.

Here are some other historical novels that I have particularly enjoyed involving strong women in extraordinary circumstances, ranging from the Civil War to post–World War II London. What do these books have in common? First, they were all beautifully written. Second, they show the power of female friendship and the strength of women in times of stress and hardship. Long live true heroines!

RHYS BOWEN is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of two historical mystery series. She is also the author of several internationally bestselling historical novels, the latest of which is Where the Sky Begins. Rhys has won twenty major awards and her work is translated into thirty languages. She was born and raised in England but now divides her time between California and Arizona.