Rouge: A Novel of Beauty and Rivalry by Richard KirshenbaumWhat it is: an engaging rags-to-riches story of competing cosmetics empires and their feuding founders.
Inspired by: the real-life rivalry between beauty moguls Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden, as well as the groundbreaking career of African American entrepreneur Madam C.J. Walker.
Why you might like it: In addition to a trio of strong female protagonists, Rouge boasts a richly detailed depiction of the 20th-century cosmetics industry and plenty of glitz and glamour.
The Last Collection: A Novel of Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel by Jeanne MackinParis, 1938: A young American widow begins working for Elsa Schiaparelli, gaining a front row seat to the flamboyant fashion designer's long-running feud with her arch-rival, Coco Chanel.
Why you might like it: Dueling designers create iconic looks against an atmospheric pre-WWII backdrop in this well-researched historical novel.
You might also like: Meryle Secrest's biography Elsa Schiaparelli, if you're Team Schiap. If you're Team Coco, try C.W. Gortner's Madamoiselle Chanel or Gioia Diliberto's The Collection.
Deep River: A Novel by Karl MarlantesIntroducing: Ilmari, Aino, and Matti Koski, Finnish siblings who immigrate to the United States in the early 1900s and settle in Deep River, a hardscrabble logging community in the Pacific Northwest.
What happens: Brothers llmari and Matti risk life and limb in the timber industry, while sister Aino becomes a labor activist.
Author alert: Karl Marlantes' debut, Matterhorn, won the Society of American Historians Prize for his haunting depiction of the Vietnam War.
A Darker Sea: Master Commandant Putnam and the War of 1812 by James L. HaleyWhat it's about: War hero Lieutenant Bliven Putnam receives a promotion and a ship of his own, the USS Tempest, a twenty-gun brig.
Why you might like it: Written by an award-winning historian, this sequel to The Shores of Tripoli features authentic nautical details and well-researched depictions of naval warfare during the War of 1812.
For fans of: C.S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower novels and Patrick O'Brien's Aubrey-Maturin books.
Rough Passage to London: A Sea Captain's Tale by Robin LloydWhat happens: In 1822, 16-year-old Ely Morgan boards a square-rigged ship bound for London to search for his missing brother.
Why you might like it: This coming-of-age story details Ely's adventures on the high seas (including squalls, mutinies, and pirate attacks) as he rises through the ranks from common sailor to sea captain.
Inspired by: the life and career of one of author Robin Lloyd's ancestors.
The North Water: A Novel by Ian McGuireWhat it's about: In 1859, the whaling vessel Volunteer sets sail for the Arctic under the command of the corrupt Captain Brownlee.
Featuring: a motley crew that includes Patrick Sumner, a former army surgeon with a laudanum habit and a trunk full of secrets, and Henry Drax, an alcoholic harpooner with a thirst for brutal violence.
Is it for you? If you like fast-paced, violent sea stories that leave you wondering who (if anyone) will survive, check out The North Water.
The Bermuda Privateer by William WestbrookWhat it is: a swashbuckling maritime adventure story perfect for fans of David Donachie, Alexander Kent, and Seth Hunter.
Starring: Nicholas Fallon, formerly of the Royal Navy and now the privateer captain of the schooner Sea Dog; and Beauty McFarland, his (female) friend and first mate.
Series alert: Captain Nicholas Fallon's adventures continue in The Black Ring.
Landfalls by Naomi J. WilliamsWhat it is: a richly detailed fictional account of the Lapérouse expedition, which sets out in 1785 to circumnavigate the globe -- and never returns.
Why you might like it: Comprised of interlinked vignettes, this meticulously researched novel unfolds from multiple perspectives that illuminate different aspects of the ill-fated expedition.
Reviewers say: This debut "conjures up the long-forgotten past" with "astonishing vividness and immediacy" (The Guardian).
Contact your librarian for more great books!
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