Travel back in time with these fantastic historical fiction books about New York City
New York City is such a fascinating place and there are so many great stories to tell!
Dive back in time with these great books. You’ll visit some many fascinating stories with these historical fiction about New York City book choices. Which will you read first?
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Historical Fiction About New York City
Go back in time with these great books set in New York City. You’ll get to know both fictional and fascinating real-life characters. These books will suck you in and not let you go until you finish.
While all of these books are quite different, there is one thing that is common across them all. The commonality is that the setting is as important to the plot as the characters.
Which one of these books do you want to read next?
Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney
On the last day of 1984, 85-year-old Lillian Boxfish decided to take a walk. Trust me, you’ll want to come along with her.
Along the way Lillian remembers her long and eventful life in Manhattan from the Jazz Age to the 1980’s. She came to New York City to carve out a career for herself and spent time as the highest paid woman in advertising in America. But, like most people her life wasn’t just about her career. You’ll go along with her through love, children, and all the complications of life.
To me, this book felt like a conversation with a friend. I walked along with Lillian and treasured all of her memories. Pick this one up if you want to get lost in a comforting book.
Murder on Astor Place by Victoria Thompson
I love a good mystery series and this historical mystery takes you to New York City in 1896. Murder on Astor Place is the first book in the Gaslight Mystery Series about widowed midwife Sarah Brandt.
In this book, Sarah visits one of her patients in a rooming house and discovers that one of the other young female boarders has been murdered. The victim was from one of the most prominent families in New York and the sister of one of Sarah’s old friends. The family fears scandal, so they ask Sarah to help investigate.
If you like this book, the Gaslight Mysteries is a great series to get lost in. It’s a lengthy series with book #24 scheduled to be released in April of 2021.
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
Take a trip back to 1937 in Greenwich Village where you’ll meet Katey and Tinker. Their chance encounter will take Katey from the Wall Street secretarial pool all the way to high society and the exclusive suites of Condé Nast.
You’ll fall in love with the characters as they navigate the different rungs on the ladder of society. And, along the way, Towles paints a descriptive masterpiece that will bring 1930’s New York City to life.
This book consistently get high ratings and enthusiastic recommendations and I’ll add mine to the mix. It’s a wonderful book worth reading especially if you like a good historical novel.
The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis
The Dollhouse is a fascinating look at 1950’s New York City wrapped around an intriguing mystery. This book begins in the present day when Rose sets out to write about the history of the Barbizon Hotel for Women. The building was remade into condos (where Rose currently lives), but some of the old residents still lived in the building. Rose become intrigued by mentions of a horrible fight which resulted in the death of a hotel maid.
While investigating the story, the reader is sent back in time to meet Darcy, who moved to the Barbizon after finishing secretarial school. She’s excited about moving there, but doesn’t fit in with her glamorous neighbors. She befriends Esme, a hotel maid, who introduces her to a different side of New York – seedy jazz clubs with its addictive music, drugs, and romance.
The story of Darcy and Esme weaves between past and present until Rose pieces together the mystery she set out to solve. I loved this look at 1950’s NYC and got caught up in trying to solve the mystery. I look forward to reading more historical fiction from Fiona Davis, most of which are set in New York City.
What I’m Reading Next
After reading The Dollhouse, I definitely want to check out more of Fiona Davis’s books. Her latest is The Lions of Fifth Avenue is set at the New York Public Library and checks a lot of my boxes. Books, check. Libraries, check. Mystery, check. Historical fiction, check. This sounds like a book that I would love.
I’m also planning on reading The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin, which is a fictional account of the real-life friendship of Truman Capote and Babe Paley. I always love a good fictional account of real-life people and I’ve read and enjoyed other books by Benjamin. I’m adding this one to by TBR list!
Do you have any recommendations for my TBR list?