This week's Nonfiction November topic is hosted by Sarah at Sarah’s Book Shelves. Book Pairing: This week, pair up a nonfiction book with a fiction title. It can be a “If you loved this book, read this!” or just two titles that you think would go well together. Maybe it’s a historical novel and you’d like to get the real history by reading a nonfiction version of the story. I'm really excited about this week's topic, so I won't be able to stop with just one pairing. I love historical fiction and I love nonfiction, so I find it quite natural and entertaining to read a fiction book on a topic and then follow it up with a nonfiction buddy on the same topic. I find the fiction an easy way to get familiar with something before I delve into the nonfiction side.
The Spymistressby Jennifer Chiaverini & Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spyby Karen Abbott The Spymistress is a thrilling novelization of the life of Elizabeth Van Lew, a Civil War hero who risked everything to steal Confederate secrets during the Civil War. Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy chronicles the adventures of four female Civil War spies, including Van Lew.
The Nightingaleby Kristin Hannah & Ravensbrückby Sarah Helm The Nightingale is the story of two French sisters trying to survive the German occupation during World War II. The younger sister joins the Communist resistance, ferrying downed airmen across the border to safety. Ravensbrück details the deathly existence of Nazi Germany’s only concentration camp built solely for women.
Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson & An American Plague by Jim Murphy Both are utterly compelling accounts of the yellow fever epidemic that ravaged Colonial Philadelphia. Rich details, based on extensive research, highlight the previously neglected care-giving role of African-Americans. Although both books are geared towards a middle grade audience, I thoroughly enjoyed - and learned a lot - reading them as an adult.
In I, Elizabeth, Miles traces, through the queen's own voice, Elizabeth's turbulent years as a princess in Henry VIII's court, her uneasy status during the brief reigns of her brother Edward and sister Mary and her decades on the throne. In the nonfiction counterpart, Weir uses myriad details of dress, correspondence and contemporary accounts to create an almost affectionate portrait of a strong, well-educated ruler loved by her courtiers and people alike.