Welcome to the 2020 Q4 contest! This month’s contenders are in and it is time to vote. If you don’t know, this contest occurs every quarter with the theme changing every quarter (learn more about the quarterly contest). This quarter is the historical fiction/nonfiction genre. Historical fiction happens to be my favorite genre so I can’t wait to see which book wins! Authors submitted their books, I randomly selected the contenders, and now you get to vote!
If you are among the first 25 voters who voted for the winning book, you will get the winning book for free coming straight from the author. Time is of the essence. Voting will be open until December 31st at midnight EST.
Alright, you know the details. Let’s get on to the 10 historical fiction and nonfiction books.
- 1. Saturday and The Witch Woman
- 2. Countess Jacqueline
- 3. The Tea Room
- 4. The Mathews Family: Mathews Family Saga Book 1
- 5. FIRE BLOSSOM
- 6. The Wise Men and the Star
- 7. The Lonely Vampire
- 8. For Want of a Ship
- 9. Quasimodo: A Prequel
- 10. Choosing Life: My father’s journey in film from Hollywood to Hiroshima
- Vote For Your Favorite Historical Fiction Book!
- Let’s Talk About It!
1. Saturday and The Witch Woman
With tears flooding his cheeks, my Grandfather Philip Chartrand read a terrible letter from his brother in Cuba: Saturday their slave father had died. Suppressing his grief, Philip carried the first of eleven letters that Saturday had written about his life into the Branchville, SC depot kitchen.
There he began reading it to his wife and to an old slave cook. As Saturday begins telling about life in the written word, the little audience became transfixed by his story and always craved Saturday’s next letter until Philip read all eleven of them.
The story opens when Kwambe Ansong (Born on Saturday) fell captive in 1767 to slave raiders in Nigeria. He was only seven years old. French slave traders transported him on the Middle Passage to Saint-Domingue (now Haiti), but not before the ship captain murdered his mother.
Sold to the Breda plantation, Saturday grew up and was secretly educated. In 1781 he became slave attendant to my Grandmother Catherine Chartrand at Mille Fleurs (Thousand Flowers) Plantation. They became very close, but when she died in the great slave uprising of 1791, he fled to Charleston with her two white boys (my Grandfather Philip and Uncle John).
There he refused his freedom because it was the only way Charleston authorities would allow him to raise Catherine’s children. They bonded as a family and love tied them together until Saturday’s death at age ninety.
Long after the boys grew up, Saturday became involved in a Charleston slave conspiracy (1822) and had to flee to Cuba where he gained his freedom and continued his search for the love of his life–Witch Woman, a voodoo priestess. Through many tribulations of the heart, they were finally reunited.
Readers should enjoy my “Saturday & The Witch Woman” because it is well-told and well researched and in the first-person narrative. For more information, see my website. I am Thomas Ott, a Haitian historian, and storyteller.
2. Countess Jacqueline
She was born to rule Holland, yet she stands in the deadly crosshairs of every male ruler in Europe. Based upon true events.
In 1416, Jacqueline inherits the countship of Holland at the age of sixteen and is determined to reign on her own. She disregards her assembly’s demand to choose a husband, then leads her army to victory in their first defensive battle. In response, Duke Philip sends his good friend to Den Haag to thwart Jacqueline’s efforts.
Lord Renard Borselen resents being used as a pawn yet agrees to meet with the Dutch assembly. When he sees Jacqueline, he recalls the day they first met years ago and a spark of excitement catches him, the first since that day. He openly shifts his stance and now there is hell to pay for them both.
As Jacqueline continues her great struggle to retain her title and fight for the freedom of her people, she is torn between her country and her love for Renard. Will Duke Philip ever let her have both?
3. The Tea Room
First, there was a Bride-Show, then there was a revolution.
Locked away in the seclusion of the Terem Apartments, the Romanov Tsarevnas was no threat to the crown. Yet the same Romanov blood flowed through their veins, and they weren’t so easily forgotten – one of them ruled Russia for seven years. Maria Alekseyevna writes her deepest thoughts in her diary, hides away to read, and has a forbidden love that lives in her secret script.
4. The Mathews Family: Mathews Family Saga Book 1
From their beginnings in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, their lives have been intertwined with American history. As a young child, Increase Mathews witnesses the birth of the United States. Along with his mother and siblings, he remains on the farm while their older male relatives join the ranks of the Continental Army.
After the Revolutionary War ends, social and political unrest continues throughout central Massachusetts during Shays’s Rebellion. With the opening of the Northwest Territory, his uncle Brigadier-General Rufus Putnam, brother-in-law Captain Jonathan Stone, and older brother John Mathews are among the first 48 men to settle in Ohio in 1788.
This historical novel includes transcripts of actual letters written between family members and Mathews/Matthews genealogical records.
5. FIRE BLOSSOM
Torn between two worlds. Two loves…
Three days before their betrothal, Fire Blossom, a free-spirited Comanche princess, rides back to her camp after secretly meeting Lone Wolf only to discover a posse of settlers slaughtering her tribe. She’s captured, beaten, and left for dead at a remote farm. Revenge is foremost on her mind when she awakens, but she can barely breathe let alone move, and keeps a mistrusting eye on Colton, the Texas Ranger who rescued her.
Colton hasn’t felt anything except revenge for two years and he’s anxious to continue his hunt for the warrior who killed his wife. Yet, he’s distracted by the blue-eyed beauty healing in his bed who refuses to admit she wasn’t born a Comanche.
As Fire Blossom’s terrifying memories unfurl, will she return to her place beside Lone Wolf or stay with Colton in a world she was taught to hate?
6. The Wise Men and the Star
The story of the Wise Men in Matthew’s Gospel has always been an enigma. The only three important terms in that tale-“wise men,” “star,” and “east”-are all lost in obscurity, rendering it useless as a record. For this reason, many scholars consider it just another miracle story of the kind that surrounded other ancient heroes.
But what if a piece of information was missing whose recovery would make it as clear today as it was to the original readers? In The Wise Men and the Star, Dr. Miller explains how he uncovered that missing piece, which then revealed who the Wise Men were, the location of the East when they arrived in Bethlehem, and what was the star they saw.
Delve into the origins of Magi; discover where the “East” was, and uncover a fact known to the first readers of Matthew’s but lost to later generations. When this is all done, the date of Jesus’s birth, the nature of the star, the location of the manger, and the date and time of the arrival of the wise men will all become clear.
7. The Lonely Vampire
Myrna Ivester feels unsure of her choices in life until Ileana Vladislava, a lonely vampire, encounters her and changes her life forever.
This folklore horror style novel is about Ileana Vladislava, a vampire who flees Transylvania in 1578 in the midst of eradicating vampires from the region and reestablishes herself in Newcastle upon Tyne, a city in Tyne and Wear, England. Hundreds of years later, Ileana lives out a lonely existence in Wightwick Hall, a castle within the Jesmond Dene woodland valley.
When Ileana sees the young and beautiful Myrna Ivester at a public library, there is something about her that sets her apart from anyone else. She decides to take a risk and transform Myrna into a vampire believing it is her destiny. With the impending threat against the vampires by Claymor, a vampire hunter in the form of a grudge-bearing werewolf, the war between good and evil finds a new battlefield in Newcastle upon Tyne.
8. For Want of a Ship
John Roy immigrated to New Orleans from Dundee Scotland. He’s working under Beauregard building the Custom House when the Civil War erupts. He is not a slaveholder but loves his adopted state. “For Want of a Ship” takes you through his efforts to aid his adopted country by building cannons, ship armament, and even a submarine for the Confederacy.
When New Orleans falls, he knows his family will be safer if he is not in Louisiana within General Butler’s reach. He goes to Selma to work in a foundry and then to Shreveport to help build the CSS Missouri, the last Confederate ironclad to surrender in American waters.
While the war is front and center, family life goes on. His brother is murdered because of his political views in a polarized nation. His son is killed fighting a fire in the New Orleans French Quarter. You’ll meet his daughters, his wife, and their outspoken Irish maid. His friend, a free man of color who joins a Confederate militia troop, has his own opinions about the war.
The book is about real people and based on true events much of it documented in John Roy’s Diary and other books. His submarine is now on display in Baton Rouge at the Capitol Park Museum. It’s an up-close and personal look at real people during the nation’s most trying time. It is book three in my War in the West trilogy but is completely stand-alone.
9. Quasimodo: A Prequel
The untold tragic story of how Victor Hugo’s Quasimodo, the bell-ringer of Notre Dame came to be.
It’s the year 1456, in Paris France. The Royal Family is at odds over the crown, and the King and the Church fight for authority. A young girl, Jacquette, is raised by a controlling aunt, ruled by blind obedience to the church and mentored by the dark and manipulative Archdeacon.
Jacquette’s only comfort is her friendship with Agnes the midwife, and the strength she pulls from stories about her hero, Joan of Arc. As Jacquette’s life is hurled into despair by forces beyond her control, she questions everything she had believed since childhood. This is the untold beginning, before Victor’s Hugo’s, Hunchback of Notre Dame. This is the tragic story of how Quasimodo came to be.
10. Choosing Life: My father’s journey in film from Hollywood to Hiroshima
What does it do to a young man to encounter human horror in the midst of what should be a celebration of victory? Herbert Sussan was sent to film the aftermath of the atomic bombings in the winter of 1945-46 and was shocked to discover the total devastation and the continuing human suffering caused by the new weapon. His own government suppressed the resulting footage for decades.
Herbert died of cancer he attributed to the radiation without ever being able to make the movie to convince the world to ban nuclear weapons. His daughter followed his footsteps to Japan, lived in Hiroshima, and collected the accounts of survivors whom he had filmed. And in the process came to a new understanding of who her father was and what the bomb had done to her family and to the world.
This true story is a legacy for all of us as the world continues to face the dangers of the nuclear holocaust. What do we do so no other young man or woman has such an encounter?
Vote For Your Favorite Historical Fiction Book!
Okay, so you have gotten the chance to read through the summary of these awesome historical fiction and nonfiction books for this quarter’s contest. Now, you can vote for your favorite one and if that one wins AND you are among the first 25 voters, you will get the book for free, provided by the author! What are you waiting for? Go on and vote! At the beginning of January, I will announce the winner!
Let’s Talk About It!
You have now read through the summaries of the contending books. And hopefully you have voted as well. Whether you voted or not I would like to know one thing. Which historical fiction or nonfiction book do you think will win? Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to share this post so the book you voted for has more of a chance of winning!
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