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Laura is a keen reader of historical fiction and mysteries with faraway and interesting settings, especially escapist stories with a touch (or more) of magic, and quirky nonfiction. Laura recommends...
The Unkindness of Ravens by
A solid new mystery series starring a woman starting over as a small town librarian, eager to leave behind her murky past. As bodies start turning up in the library, Greer's history makes her the prime suspect, and she decides to go after the truth, no matter how much danger that puts her in. A good read for fans of traditional mysteries with slight gothic vibes.
The Conductors by
Fantasy meets mystery in this clever story of former conductors on the Underground Railroad who use their magic to solve the crimes neglected by the police. With a cast of complex characters and creative magical world-building, this new series has plenty of promise.
The Ruthless Lady's Guide to Wizardry by
Perfect for ending a reading slump, this was a fun and creative historical fantasy about an unconventional group of female bodyguards, with a love story thrown in. Waggoner has created a magical version of England that will leave you wanting more (there's another book set in this universe, so you're all set!).
Kent State by
This powerful and well-researched graphic novel recounts the events leading up to the Kent State tragedy. Told through the eyes of the students on campus, this is a striking, timely, and emotional read, whether you remember seeing the headlines or have only come across mentions in textbooks.
The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne by
Set in 1703 London, this is a fascinating and atmospheric mystery about the obsessive world of collectors and cabinets of curiosities at a time when the scientific and mystical were sometimes unusually linked. Botanist Cecily Kay follows a trail of clues in this satisfying mystery. The descriptions of the curiosities and specimens completely draw you into the setting.
Mexican Gothic by
An absolutely riveting, creepy, and well-written horror book inspired by Gothic classics. Set in 1950s Mexico, a charming socialite travels to an isolated mansion to check on her cousin. The hosts are less than hospitable and the mansion is crumbling, but is there evil lurking in the shadows or is it in her head?
Laura's Historical Mystery Picks