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Air date: Nov. 19, 2023
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Hi, this is Jessica Russell. I’m the assistant director of collection services at Sno-Isle Libraries. And welcome to Book Buzz.
Today's reading recommendations are from the historical fiction genre, but with very different vibes.
First, we’re going to hear from Celeste, library associate from Library on Wheels, who will take us to several different settings. Take it away, Celeste.
If you like Jody Hedlund's "Waters of Time" series, or if you're looking for a clean, faith-based alternative to Diana Gabaldon's “Outlander” series, then Gabrielle Meyer’s “When the Day Comes” is for you.
In this time-crossing novel, Meyer introduces an extraordinary concept, entwining two timelines that protagonist Libby lives in concurrently. On her 21st birthday, she faces a monumental choice — to permanently inhabit one of these realities. Each day’s sleep is a portal to the alternate era. She closes her eyes in 1774 Colonial Williamsburg, then opens her eyes the next day in 1914's New York or England.
Spanning centuries, the novel offers a rich tapestry of historical details, inspirational threads of faith, and characters that feel like close personal friends. Meyer's storytelling captures the imagination, compelling me to keep turning the pages. The chaste romance had me rooting for the love story to work out, amidst all the obstacles. And Libby shines as a captivating heroine — intelligent, steadfast, and endearing.
Skeptics of time-travel stories may find themselves converts after reading Meyer’s cleanly written, unpredictable, historical novel.
Thanks, Celeste! I hope readers who tend to shy away from the time-travel genre will give this one a chance.
Next, let’s hear about a historical fiction story of a different kind, from Jennifer, librarian at the Mill Creek Library. Go ahead, Jennifer.
Set in the 1830s, “Washington Black” by Esi Edugyan introduces eleven-year-old George Washington Black, or "Wash," an enslaved boy on a Barbados sugar plantation. Wash catches the eye of his master’s brother, Titch, an ambitious and eccentric naturalist who dreams of building a flying machine. Titch takes Wash as his assistant and, unusually for this time period, recognizes his talent in spite of his skin color.
A tragic mishap forces Titch and Wash to flee the plantation in the airship, and this book turns into an epic and powerfully moving adventure. During his journey, Wash travels from childhood to adulthood, and from slavery to freedom.
Edugyan's prose is a real treasure, earning “Washington Black” critical acclaim. The multi-layered characters and brilliantly crafted story are both thought-provoking and emotionally poignant. This book is about characters struggling to find family, to make connections with the people that they love, even when they fundamentally are not able to understand each other.
My heart aches for Washington Black still. Long after I finished reading it, I'm still thinking about it!
Thanks, Jennifer! This is the author’s impressive third novel and I can’t wait to see what she writes next.
Our recommendations this week are: “When the Day Comes” by Gabrielle Meyer and “Washington Black” by Esi Edugyan.
Join us next time, when we’ll explore more great reading recommendations – interesting books you can find at your favorite local bookstore or at your local library.
Until then, I’m Jessica Russell from Sno-Isle Libraries.
Thanks for joining us for Book Buzz on KSER.
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