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In 2023, join a book club or two and discover these thought-provoking historical fiction titles that are sure to stimulate your next discussion and introduce you to powerful diverse narratives.

Here are the best book club picks of 2023>>

River Sing Me Home by Eleanor Shearer

A heart-rendering novel taking readers on one mother’s journey across the Caribbean to reclaim the pieces of her family that slavery so ruthlessly ripped apart. Following the Emancipation Act of 1843, Rachel flees the Providence plantation in Barbados after her enslaver announces that those enslaved will now serve six years to obtain their freedom. Tired of living a life of captivity, Rachel embarks on a life of her own, putting one foot in front of the other, but never forgetting to look over her shoulder.

What unfolds within these pages is a true testament to resilience and a mother’s unconditional love. As Rachel seeks to reconnect with her five children who were sold, she quickly learns that the wickedness of slavery reached more individuals and countries who all bear the scars.

Dust Child by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai

Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai is back with a sweeping dual multigenerational saga that will have readers immersed in the tragedy of war and its consequences.

In 1969, Trang and Quynh who are willing to do whatever it takes to help their parents pay off their debts even if that means fraternizing with American GIs. In a time of war, Trang never expected to fall in love—especially not with an American soldier—but she does. Years later, that American solider returns to Vietnam to face his past. Simultaneously, Phong, an orphan, is determined to find his biological parents after years of bullying and being called “the dust of life.” What unfolds is a story of love, tragedy, and redefining your destiny.

The House of Eve by Sadeqa Johnson

The House of Eve eloquently illustrates the resilience of young Black women and girls determined to achieve their dreams despite what society as predetermined for them. Eleanor Quarles is a young college student with big aspirations and hidden secrets. Ruby Pearsall is a young high school student determined to attend college and escape the poverty around her. Just as it seems their goals are within reach, unexpected incidents threaten to usurp all they have work so hard for. But it is through these challenges that we witness the resilience and vulnerability that will leave you breathless.

Stealing by Margaret Verble

Set in the 1950s, Stealing by Margaret Verble is a captivating novel following a young Cherokee girl who is kidnapped and brought to a Christian boarding school. Exploring the raw and heart-breaking history of Indigenous reform schools, readers will be immersed into Kit Crockett’s story of tragedy, mystery and survival as she begins to uncover the truth and regain control of her life.

Wandering Souls by Cecile Pin

Following the Vietnam War, three siblings, Anh, Thanh, and Minh, set out to Hong Kong to start over and will wait for the rest of their family to follow. Unfortunately, their family never arrives and at sixteen years old, Anh, is forced to become the guardian to her younger brothers. Left without options, the three relocate to the UK as refugees, but struggle with moving on and accepting their new reality. As each find their footing, it is evident that there is little holding them together and familial love may not be strong enough.

Symphony of Secrets by Brendan Slocumb

If you loved The Violin Conspiracy get ready for another riveting historical fiction mystery. Bern Hendricks is a professor and musical expert tasked with authenticated the work of a twentieth-century composer. While doing so, Bern discovers that this famed composure may have stolen his music from a young Black female composer, Josephine Reed. Shocked by this discovery, Bern is determined to set the record straight, despite every attempt to keep this secret hidden.

Paper Names by Susie Luo

Spanning three decades, Paper Names by Susie Luo is a gripping novel told from three different perspectives. Brought together by a life-changing event, Luo eloquently intertwines the struggles of a Chinese immigrant father and his first-generation daughter with the powerful fearlessness of a white lawyer with crippling family secrets. Paper Names explores love, class, identity and family, which are sure to create intriguing book club discussions.

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Wade In The Water by Nyani Nkrumah

Set in Ricksville, Missippi with flashbacks between the 1960s and 1980s comes an intriguing dual perspective narrative between a young Black girl and young white woman whose paths cross and an unexpected friendship develops. There are secrets threatening to be exposed, and both are willing to do whatever it takes to keep the truth hidden. Exploring implicit bias, belonging, and what it truly means to be a part of a community, Wade In The Water is a novel that will spark interesting conversations.

A Right Worthy Woman by Ruth P. Watson

This brings to light the untold story of Maggie Lena Walker, the first Black woman to charter a bank and serve as a bank president. A Right Worthy Woman takes readers on a remarkable young woman’s journey to define her own path after observing the wealth gap between Black and white individuals. Set in the nineteenth century, this novel is rich with detail including influential figures like W.E.B. DuBois and Mary McLeod and delivers an emotional impact.

The Brightest Star by Gail Tsukiyama

The Brightest Star is a deeply moving novel illustrating a young Asian woman struggle to claiming her space in a white dominated industry. Turning her back on cultural and familial expectations to follow her dreams of becoming a Hollywood actress, Anna May sacrifices everything she has known. Faced with setbacks and racial assumptions, Anna never loses her ambition and fights boldly to become a star. This powerful novel is inspired by actress Anna May Wong, the first and only Asian American woman to achieve recognition in early Hollywood.

Here are 23 historical fiction books based on real women>>