Books

Love historical fiction? Check out these 8 Canadian novels this summer

Yearning to be transported to an earlier time period? Try one of these Canadian novels.

Yearning for a book that will transport you to an earlier time period? Try one of these eight Canadian novels.

Children of the Moon by Anthony De Sa

Anthony De Sa is the author of Children of the Moon. (Laura Bombier, Doubleday Canada)

Pó, born with albinism, is considered a curse among her community in Tanzania. Ezequiel, an adoptee of Portuguese missionaries, is an outcast among both his father's people and his mother's Makonde tribe. As civil war erupts, Pó and Ezequiel find each other.

Anthony De Sa is a past Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist whose previous books include Kicking the Sky and Barnacle Love.

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

Esi Edugyan is a Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning novelist. (Canadian Press, HarperCollins)

Esi Edugyan's Washington Black tells the story of 11-year-old Washington Black, a slave on a Barbados sugar plantation. His master is Englishman Christopher Wilde, who is obsessed with developing a machine that can fly. The two develop a bond, but when a man is killed, Wilde must choose between his family and saving Washington's life — and the choice results in an unforgettable adventure around the world. 

Washington Black won the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Up From Freedom by Wayne Grady

Up From Freedom is a novel by Wayne Grady. (CBC)

Wayne Grady was 47 when he discovered that his father was black. He had been passing as white since before Grady was born. In his novel, Up From Freedom, Grady delves deeply into his family's roots through fiction — exploring slavery in America in the mid-19th century. At the heart of the story is Virgil Moody, who travels from Texas to Indiana in search of the boy he considers his son. Through it all, we see the daily lives of black and white characters entwined and ensnared by slavery. 

At the Mountain's Edge by Genevieve Graham

At the Mountain's Edge is a novel by Genevieve Graham. (genevievegraham.com, Simon & Schuster)

The Yukon gold rush of 1897 holds the promise of a fresh start for Constable Ben Turner, a haunted recruit from the North-West Mounted Police, and Liza Peterson, whose family plans to move their general store from Vancouver to Dawson City. But the journey north proves to be far more dangerous than either of them realizes. Together they face off against the natural elements, forming a deep bond along the way.

At the Mountain's Edge is Genevieve Graham's fourth historical fiction novel.

Aria by Nazanine Hozar

Aria is a novel by Nazanine Hozar. (Tenille Campbell, Penguin Random House Canada)

Aria is the story of a young orphan girl, growing up in the midst of the mounting dissent that preceded the Iranian revolution. Discovered on the side of the road by a soldier, Aria is shaped by three very different women as she grows up, falls in love and becomes a mother. 

Aria is B.C. writer Nazanine Hozar's debut novel.

The Italian Teacher by Tom Rachman

Tom Rachman's latest novel is The Italian Teacher. (Penguin Random House)

The Italian Teacher paints a full-colour portrait of a self-absorbed artist, Bear, his artist wife, Natalie, and his son, Pinch, who desperately wants his father's attention. Opening in Rome in 1955, the novel explores eccentricities and casts criticism at the world of modern art.

The Italian Teacher is Tom Rachman's third novel and was a finalist for the Costa Novel Award, a British book prize.

The Gown by Jennifer Robson

Jennifer Robson holds up her historical novel The Gown. (Sinisa Jolic/CBC)

Jennifer Robson's historical novel The Gown offers a fictional take on the making of Queen Elizabeth's wedding dress. The book moves between Canada in 2016, where a young woman looks into her grandmother's mysterious past, to Britain in 1947, where a country struggling in the aftermath of war prepares to celebrate the marriage of Princess Elizabeth.

The Quintland Sisters by Shelley Wood

The Quintland Sisters is a novel by Shelley Wood. (HarperCollins, shelleywood.ca)

The Dionne quintuplets were five identical sisters born in Callander, Ont., in 1934 and became international sensations. The Quintland Sisters is a fictionalized look at their early life, following a reluctant 17-year-old midwife, Emma Trimpany, who comes to care for the girls after they are taken from their parents, and is swept up in the maelstrom of their lives.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.