The Victorian Era
The reign of Queen Victoria in England, from 1837 until 1901, was a time of mystery and social repression.
Compiled by Forbes Library Staff | Summaries from ContentCafe, NoveList, Wikipedia, Amazon.com | March 2011
- A River in the Sky by Elizabeth Peters
Amelia and Emerson follow an expedition searching for the vanished treasures of the Temple in Jerusalem. Besides suspecting the leader of the expedition of inept excavation practices, they believe him to be secretly working for German intelligence.
- The Children’s Book: A Novel by A. S. Byatt
A tale spanning the end of the Victorian era through World War I finds famous children's book author Olive Wellwood taking in a runaway and exposing the boy to dark truths about her family's summer bacchanals at their rambling country house.
- Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
Growing up as a foster child among a family of thieves, orphan Sue Trinder hopes to pay back that kindness by playing a key role in a swindle scheme devised by their leader, who is planning to con a fortune out of the naive Maud Lilly.
- The Somnambulist by Jonathan Barnes
A tale set in Victorian London introduces the characters of stage magician and detective Edward Moon and his silent sidekick, whose fiendish plot to re-create the apocalyptic prophecies of Samuel Taylor Coleridge threaten the British Empire.
- Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
All is going well for rich, reclusive Mr Norrell, who has regained some of the power of England's magicians from the past, until a rival magician, Jonathan Strange, appears and becomes Mr Norrell's pupil, in a witty fantasy set against the backdrop of nineteenth-century England.
- The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber
Yearning to escape her life of prostitution in 1870s London, Sugar finds her fate entangled in the complicated family life of patron William, an egotistical perfume magnate.
- The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl
In 1865, the preparations of the Dante Club--led by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Oliver Wendell Holmes--to release the first translation of Dante's The Divine Comedy are threatened by a series of murders that re-create episodes from The Inferno
- Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier
Marked for greatness after being struck by lightning in infancy, Mary Anning discovers a fossilized skeleton near her 19th century home that triggers attacks on her character and upheavals throughout the religious, scientific, and academic communities.
- The Wet Nurse’s Tale by Erica Eisdorfer
Losing her baby when the child's father sells the infant to a wealthy woman, Susan of Victorian England convinces the adoptive mother to hire her as a wet nurse and discovers that her employer's home hides sinister secrets.
- The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
A compelling account of the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 brings together the divergent stories of two very different men who played a key role in shaping the history of the event--visionary architect Daniel H. Burnham, who coordinated its construction, and Dr. Henry H. Holmes, an insatiable and charming serial killer who lured women to their deaths
- The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova
His ordered life thrown into disarray when he begins treating an unstable genius artist who has recently attacked a canvas at the National Gallery of Art, psychiatrist and art hobbyist Andrew Marlow struggles to understand the secret that torments the artist.
- Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin
Octogenarian Alice, who as a child inspired Lewis Carroll's famous Wonderland character, looks back on a life marked by an implacable mother, her halcyon days in Oxford and the sons who went off to war.
- The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly
Her family and dreams shattered by her father's untimely death at the hands of a ruthless tea baron, Fiona Finnegan flees East London and eventually establishes herself at the head of the tea trade in New York. This is the first in Donnelly’s Tea Rose trilogy.