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Check It Out

Courier Article by Erika Qualls
Sunday, July 11, 2010

July is perfect time to pick up historical book

July is a month full of history. We all know that America celebrates our independence from England by the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4. Most people don't realize that the document's wording was approved on July 4, but it wasn't signed until over a month later! The first zeppelin flew on July 2, 1900, the Liberty Bell cracked on July 8, 1835, and man first landed on the moon on July 20, 1969. With these fun history facts to get you going, check out the following historical books- both non-fiction and fiction- to read during the "dog days" of July.

Paradise Lane by Elizabeth Gill begins with rich, comfortable Annabel living in London in 1902. While Annabel and her mother don't have the best relationship, it isn't until her father's death that Annabel learns why. The life of privileged young woman was a lie for Annabel. She is not who she thought she was, and now that her fiancé has called off the wedding and the woman she called Mother has kicked her out, Annabel is left with no other choice but to find her real family.

For lovers of Little Women, check out Louisa May Alcott: the woman behind Little Women by Harriet Reisen. This non-fiction book gives a detailed account of Alcott and how she came to be a celebrity during her time. Raised by Bronson Alcott, a transcendentalist incapable of providing for his family, and Abigail May, an intelligent woman who would have to carry her entire household, Louisa May Alcott grew up dependent on charity and constantly moving to outrun debts. As she grew older and recognized her father's failings, Louisa becomes determine to support her family through writing and becomes the J.K. Rowling of her day.

If you want to read about Louisa May Alcott, but are not a fan of biographies, Kelly O'Connor McNees' The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott will give you history of Alcott with some liberties. True to the real Louisa, McNees' character is desperate to leave her family's situation in New Hampshire for Boston. Local merchant, Joseph Singer, falls for Louisa and forces her to choose between her love for him and the independence she craves.

Amandine by Marlena de Blasi is a debut fiction novel about a young orphan growing up in the convent of Montpellier in France. Abandoned by her Polish royalty family, Amandine grows up loved by her nurse and the nuns that run the convent. Desperate to find her real family, however, Amandine is wise beyond her years and continues to seek out her mother. When World War II comes to France, Amandine is faced with the horror of war and what it means for her beloved nurse.

Last to the list, is Betsy Ross and the Making of America by Marla R. Miller. While most Americans grew up with the legend of Betsy Ross and her flag, many historians believe that it was merely that- a legend. Miller sets out in a wonderful biography of Ross to prove that while the legend was neither right nor wrong, Ross was an important woman with a unique perspective to the founding of our country.

Happy Reading!