The best historical fiction books with a touch of conspiracy

Why am I passionate about this?

I am Lynda Rees, The Murder Guru, multi-award-winning author of historical fiction, contemporary mystery, suspense, romance, middle-grade mysteries, and children’s fiction. I love all things historical, especially American history. I am part-Cherokee, a coal miner’s daughter born in the Appalachian Mountains, and I grew up in northern Kentucky when Newport prospered as a gambling, prostitution, and sin mecca under the Cleveland Mob. My fascination with history’s effect on today’s lives works its way into my written pages. Having traveled the world negotiating with heads of industry and foreign governments during a corporate career in marketing and global transportation, this workaholic adventurer has succumbed to my passion for writing.


I wrote...

Gold Lust Conspiracy

By Lynda Rees,

Book cover of Gold Lust Conspiracy

What is my book about?

Ruthless men rule savage, lawless, 1880’s frontier Skagway, Alaska; and women are only appreciated in dance halls.

Young widow, Jessie, barely knows how to fend for herself, much less those depending on her in the unwelcoming man’s world. She is tasked with instigating the Alaskan Gold Rush, or she will suffer the consequences dictated by the rich and powerful who govern California and the United States. Jessie falls for brokenhearted lumberjack, Logan, who is seeking his fortune. He deserves better than Jessie, with her haunted past and overwhelming responsibilities. She must survive, thrive, and prove to herself she's worthy of love.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Second Mrs. Astor: A Heartbreaking Historical Novel of the Titanic

Lynda Rees Why did I love this book?

Among the many stories about the mysterious Titanic sinking during the romantic, gilded age, this tale melted my heart and made me wonder how distorted the why of the event has been, as it is often told. Not all of what we hear or learn is fact. This mysterious event has left us grasping for answers and wondering about what happened to those whose fates were sealed beneath a watery grave. This story may help satisfy your thirst for that knowledge. It did mine. 

By Shana Abe,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Second Mrs. Astor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Abé is an exquisite storyteller. Rich in detail and deeply moving." —Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author of The Magnolia Palace

"One of the most beautifully written books I’ve ever had the pleasure to read. A gorgeous, phenomenal novel I won’t soon forget.” —Ellen Marie Wiseman New York Times bestselling Author of The Orphan Collector

Perfect for fans of Jennifer Chiaverini and Marie Benedict, this riveting novel takes you inside the scandalous courtship and catastrophic honeymoon aboard the Titanic of the most famous couple of their time—John Jacob Astor and Madeleine Force. Told in rich detail, this novel of…


Book cover of The Moonshiner's Daughter: A Southern Coming-of-Age Saga of Family and Loyalty

Lynda Rees Why did I love this book?

I found this coming-of-age story a satisfying tale of evolving self-discovery in an unlikely situation and in a less-traveled setting. Thrilling twists and turns kept me enthralled from page one to the end. The setting was vivid and colorful, and I fell in love with the well-defined, colorful characters. I highly recommend it.

By Donna Everhart,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Moonshiner's Daughter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If you fell in love with 1960s North Carolina when reading Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, Donna Everhart’s The Moonshiner’s Daughter will transport you right back. Everhart’s sensitive and expert storytelling will capture you in this Southern coming-of-age novel!
 
Set in North Carolina in 1960 and brimming with authenticity and grit, The Moonshiner’s Daughter evokes the singular life of sixteen-year-old Jessie Sasser, a young woman determined to escape her family’s past . . .
 
Generations of Sassers have made moonshine in the Brushy Mountains of Wilkes County, North Carolina. Their history is recorded in a leather-bound journal that…


Book cover of The Nurse's Secret: A Thrilling Historical Novel of the Dark Side of Gilded Age New York City

Lynda Rees Why did I love this book?

I found this historical story spellbinding. My imagination was ignited by the vivid setting that jumps off the page and the well-defined, intriguing characters that kept me fascinated from beginning to end. I highly recommend you read it, but I’m warning you, if you do pick it up, you won’t be able to put it down. I couldn’t. 

By Amanda Skenandore,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Nurse's Secret as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The unflinching, spellbinding new book from the acclaimed author of The Second Life of Mirielle West. Based on the little-known story of America’s first nursing school, a young female grifter in 1880s New York evades the police by conning her way into Bellevue Hospital’s training school for nurses, while a spate of murders continues to follow her as she tries to leave the gritty streets of the city behind…

“A spellbinding story, a vividly drawn setting, and characters that leap off the pages. This is historical fiction at its finest!” —Sara Ackerman, USA Today bestselling author of The Codebreaker’s Secret…


Book cover of The Second Life of Mirielle West

Lynda Rees Why did I love this book?

This is an intoxicating tale of a little-known, true-life, leper colony in the USA during the glamorous Roaring ’20s, as a silent film star’s wife is forcibly quarantined in the Louisiana institution known as Carville, where thousands of people were stripped of civil rights, branded as lepers, and forcibly detained throughout the 20th century.

By Amanda Skenandore,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Second Life of Mirielle West as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The glamorous world of a silent film star’s wife abruptly crumbles when she’s forcibly quarantined at the Carville Lepers Home in this page-turning story of courage, resilience, and reinvention set in 1920s Louisiana and Los Angeles. Based on little-known history, this timely book will strike a chord with readers of Fiona Davis, Tracey Lange, and Marie Benedict.
 
Based on the true story of America’s only leper colony, The Second Life of Mirielle West brings vividly to life the Louisiana institution known as Carville, where thousands of people were stripped of their civil rights, branded as lepers, and forcibly quarantined throughout…


Book cover of Gilded Girl

Lynda Rees Why did I love this book?

Pamela Kelley makes historical fiction come to life on the page in this rags-to-riches story that empowers women during an unheard-of time, as Eliza Chapman, a lady’s maid, learns her father is actually one of the richest men in NYC, and this changes her whole world.

By Pamela Kelley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Gilded Girl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A rags-to-riches saga set in the Gilded Age.
 
While I have enjoyed everything I have read from Pamela Kelley, this book moves to the top of my list from her. I love historical fiction and she really makes it comes to life. - Goodreads review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
 
"The Gilded Girl" is a modern historical romance that was captivating! It is a from rags to riches story that empowers women which was unheard of during this time period. Pamela Kelly's best book in my opinion." - Amazon review ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
 
When Eliza Chapman, a London ladies maid, learns that her real father is…


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The Pianist's Only Daughter: A Memoir

By Kathryn Betts Adams,

Book cover of The Pianist's Only Daughter: A Memoir

Kathryn Betts Adams Author Of The Pianist's Only Daughter: A Memoir

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I was first a clinical social worker and then a social work professor with research focus on older adults. Over the past few years, as I have been writing my own memoir about caring for my parents, I’ve been drawn to memoirs and first-person stories of aging, illness, and death. The best memoirs on these topics describe the emotional transformation in the writer as they process their loss of control, loss of their own or a loved one’s health, and their fear, pain, and suffering. In sharing these stories, we help others empathize with what we’ve gone through and help others be better prepared for similar events in their own lives.

Kathryn's book list on Memoirs illness aging death moving vivid prose

What is my book about?

The Pianist's Only Daughter is a frank, humorous, and heartbreaking exploration of aging in an aging expert's own family.

Social worker and gerontologist Kathryn Betts Adams spent decades negotiating evolving family dynamics with her colorful and talented parents: her mother, an English scholar and poet, and her father, a pianist and music professor. Their vivid emotional lives, marital instability, and eventual divorce provided the backdrop for her 1960s and ‘70s Midwestern youth.

Nearly thirty years after they divorce, Adams' newly single father flies in to woo his ex-wife, now retired and diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Their daughter watches in disbelief…

The Pianist's Only Daughter: A Memoir

By Kathryn Betts Adams,

What is this book about?

Grounded in insights about mental health, health and aging, The Pianist’s Only Daughter: A Memoir presents a frank and loving exploration of aging in an aging expert's own family.

Social worker and gerontologist Kathryn Betts Adams spent decades negotiating evolving family dynamics with her colorful and talented parents: her English scholar and poet mother and her pianist father. Their vivid emotional lives, marital instability, and eventual divorce provided the backdrop for her 1960s and ‘70s Midwestern youth.

Nearly thirty years after they divorce, Adams' father finds himself single and flies in to woo his ex-wife, now retired and diagnosed with…


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