Lake County Public Library

Parallel Narratives – Historical & Contemporary

These novels contain a contemporary storyline that, in some way, parallels or draws information from a historical storyline.

Byatt, A.S. Possession
The lives of two modern scholars parallel the lives of the two Victorian poets that the scholars are researching.

Chevalier, Tracy. The Virgin Blue
Ella Turner does her best to fit in to the small, close-knit community of Lisle-sur-Tarn. She even changes her name back to Tournier, and knocks the rust off her high school French – in vain. Isolated and lonely, she is drawn to investigate her Tournier ancestry.

Dean, Debra. The Madonnas of Leningrad
In a novel that moves back and forth between the Soviet Union during World War II and modern-day America, Marina, an elderly Russian woman, recalls vivid images of her youth during the height of the siege of Leningrad.

Deford, Frank. Bliss, Remembered
Now an elderly woman, Sydney Stringfellow recounts for her son her experiences as a swimmer at the 1936 Berlin Olympics where she had an unforgettable and forbidden love affair with the son of a Nazi diplomat.

DeRosnay, Tatiana. Sarah’s Key
On the anniversary of the roundup of Jews by the French police in Paris, Julia is asked to write an article on this dark episode and embarks on an investigation that leads her to long-hidden family secrets and to the ordeal of Sarah.

Fasmon, Jon. The Geographer’s Library
Nine hundred years after a twelfth-century Sicilian burglar steals artifacts that possess the secret to eternal life and scatters them throughout the world, a Connecticut reporter finds evidence that someone is collecting the artifacts again.

Fiorato, Marina. The Glassblower of Murano
Venice, 1681. Glassblowing is the lifeblood of the Republic, and Venetian mirriors are more precious than gold. Jealously guarded by the murderous Council of Ten, the glassblowers of Murano are virutally imprisoned on their island in the lagoon. But the greatest of the artists, Corradino Manin, sells his methods and his soul to Louis XIV of France to protect his secret daughter. In the present day, his descendent, Leonara Manin, leaves London for a new life as a glassblower in Venice — only to find her fate inextricably linked with her ancestor’s dangerous secrets.

Fortier, Anne. Juliet
When Julie Jacobs leaves for Italy per the instructions of her late aunt’s will, she never imagines that she’ll be thrust into a centuries-old feud, not to mention one of the most legendary romances of all time.

Howe, Katherine. The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane
Forced to set aside her Ph.D. research in order to help the settling of her late grandmother’s abandoned home, Connie Goodwin discovers a hidden key among her grandmother’s possessions that is linked to a darker chapter in Salem witch trial history.

Kostova, Elizabeth. The Historian
Discovering a medieval book and a cache of letters, a motherless American girl becomes the latest in a series of historians, including her late father, who investigate the possible surviving legacy of Vlad the Impaler.

McCrumb, Sharyn. The Ballad of Frankie Silver
As a convicted killer awaits execution in Tennessee, Sheriff Spencer Arrowood wonders if he arrested the right man years ago. Searching for answers, he discovers shocking parallels with a case more than a century old–the controversial hanging of a 19-year-old North Carolina woman. Suddenly he finds himself in a frantic struggle to stop history from repeating itself.

Mosse, Kate. Labyrinth
Alice, a volunteer at an archaeological dig, becomes a target after discovering a pair of crumbling skeletons in the Pyrenees mountains, while eight hundred years in the past, Alais, the daughter of a crusader, must safeguard the location of the Holy Grail.

Nesbo, Jo. The Redbreast
A tale moving from the final months of World War II to the present, and from the Russian front to contemporary South Africa, follows the dual adventures of a freedom-seeking war martyr and an alcoholic police officer who is drawn into a mystery with pastorigins.

Neville, Katherine. The Eight
A young novice during the French Revolution risks her life to keep a jeweled chess set that Moors gave Charlemagne, and in the 20th century, a computer expert and a chess master try to solve its mystery.

O’Farrell, Maggie. The Hand That First Held Mine
A spell-binding novel of two women connected across fifty years by art, love, betrayals, secrets, and motherhood.

Pears, Iain. The Dream of Scipio
An ancient manuscript called “The Dream of Scipio” links three separate centuries–the fifth, the end of the Roman Empire; the fourteenth, the time of the Black Death; and the twentieth during World War II–and three stories of love, all set in Provence.

Phillips, Christi. The Rossetti Letter
Fearing that her research will be rendered useless if a Cambridge professor proves his theory about seventeenth-century Venetian courtesan Alessandra Rossetti, Ph.D. candidate Claire Donovan agrees to chaperone a troubled teen in order to gain passage tothe professor’s presentation in Venice.

Setterfield, Diane. The Thirteenth Tale
When her health begins failing, the mysterious author Vida Winter decides to let Margaret Lea, a biographer, write the truth about her life, but Margaret needs to verify the facts since Vida has a history of telling outlandish tales.

Silbert, Leslie. The Intelligencer
Novice private investigator Kate Morgan teams up with a European financier who is investigating a centuries-old manuscript that documents the final days of an Elizabethan-era murder victim.

Zafon, Carlos Ruiz. The Shadow of the Wind
A boy named Daniel selects a novel from a library of rare books, enjoying it so much that he searches for the rest of the author’s works, only to discover that someone is destroying every book the author has ever written.

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