Ever feel like you’re craving a certain type of book but have no idea where to look? Yep, me, too.
So I’m starting a weekly Find That Book series! Send in your book needs and I’ll open it up to everyone for suggestions, and we’ll see what we can come up with together.
Our first book hunt comes from M. Delfino, who writes:
Hello everyone, I just finished Lost Summers of Newport and I’m in a book dry spell help! … What I’m really looking for is a historical novel with a modern heroine… you know, one chapter in the present, one chapter in the past. The modern girl maybe found letter, a journal, etc…is there one like that about the disappearance of Agatha Christie??? I’d love that.
Fortunately, what I think of as women’s fiction/historical fiction hybrids, with one chapter in the past, one in the present, had a huge boom a decade or so ago, so there are lots to choose from. The ones that leap to mind are:
— Kate Morton’s The Forgotten Garden or The House at Riverton. The Forgotten Garden follows present day Cassandra as she tries to untangle a mystery about a Victorian children’s book writer, while The House at Riverton follows a film director uncovering the secrets of the inhabitants of an English stately home through interviews with a one of the former members of staff.
— Christine Wells’s The Traitor’s Girl or The Wife’s Tale. The Traitor’s Girl follows Australian teacher, Annabel, as she goes to the Cotswalds to find her long lost grandmother and is plunged into a tale of intrigue from the 1930s and 40s, while The Wife’s Tale goes back and forth between modern lawyer Liz and 18th century scandal.
— Laura Anderson’s The Darkling Bride zigzags between the present day and a 19th century tragedy in an Irish castle.
— Susanna Kearsley’s weaves between a modern novelist and the early days of the Jacobite movement in 18th century Scotland.
— If you like a touch of the supernatural, Simone St. James’s The Broken Girls follows a modern journalist trying to solve the murder of her sister and another unsolved murder at a sinister girls’ boarding school two generations earlier.
— And then there’s my own That Summer, which goes back and forth between the present day, when an American inherits her great-aunt’s house in London, and a doomed affair between a housewife and a Preraphaelite artist in 1849.
On the Agatha Christie front, there are two recent novels about Mrs. Christie, but neither of them have a modern frame: Marie Benedict’s The Mystery of Mrs. Christie and Nina de Gramont’s The Christie Affair.
What would you all recommend? Hit me with your favorite dual timeline/modern-woman-discovers-past stories!