A Book Set in the 1920s
A Poisonous Journey by Malia Zaidi
The year is 1925, a time that hovers between two catastrophic wars, a time of jazz and sparkle, and a time of peace and reflection. For Lady Evelyn, struggling to outrun the ghosts of her tragic past, it is a time of transformation. Left orphaned after a fire when she was only four, Lady Evelyn Carlisle was raised in London by her stern aunt and uncle. Now, twenty years later she has grown restless and is keen to escape her chaperone's grasp. A letter from her cousin, Briony, living with her husband on Crete, comes at just the right time. Packing what she can, Lady Evelyn makes off for foreign shores. Welcoming her are not only Briony and her husband, Jeffrey, but also his handsome and mysterious friends, Caspar Ballantine and Daniel Harper. Though the latter carries with him tragic memories of the Great War, Evelyn is glad to be in their company. With the sun warming her back and the dazzling sea in her sights, this fresh start seems destined for happy days ahead. Little does she know . . . What starts off as a sunny holiday quickly turns into a sinister nightmare, when Evelyn stumbles across the corpse of one of her cousin's houseguests. Drawn into the mystery surrounding the murder, Evelyn embarks on a mission to discover the truth, forcing her to face her own past as well as a cold-hearted killer. With the help of her cousin, the handsome local police detective, and the mysterious Daniel Harper, will she uncover the truth, before another life is claimed?
Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
From the bestselling author of The Lost City of Z, now a major film starring Charlie Hunnam, Sienna Miller and Robert Pattison, comes a true-life murder story which became one of the FBI’s first major homicide investigations. In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions and sent their children to study in Europe. Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. As the death toll climbed, the FBI took up the case. But the bureau badly bungled the investigation. In desperation, its young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to unravel the mystery. Together with the Osage he and his undercover team began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.
Mrs Dalloway by Virgina Wolf
Virginia Woolf's singular technique in Mrs Dalloway heralds a break with the traditional novel form and reflects a genuine humanity and a concern with the experiences that both enrich and stultify existence. Society hostess, Clarissa Dalloway is giving a party. Her thoughts and sensations on that one day, and the interior monologues of others whose lives are interwoven with hers gradually reveal the characters of the central protagonists. Clarissa's life is touched by tragedy as the events in her day run parallel to those of Septimus Warren Smith, whose madness escalates as his life draws toward inevitable suicide.
Peaky Blinders by Carl Chinn
The Peaky Blinders as we know them, thanks to the hit TV series, are infused with drama and dread. Fashionably dressed, the charismatic but deeply flawed Shelby family blind enemies by slashing them with the disposable safety razor blades stitched in to the peaks of their flat caps, as they fight bloody gangland wars involving Irish terrorists and the authorities led by a devious Home Secretary, Winston Churchill. But who were the real Peaky Blinders? Did they really exist? Well-known social historian, broadcaster and author, Carl Chinn, has spent decades searching them out. Now he reveals the true story of the notorious Peaky Blinders, one of whom was his own great grandfather and, like the Shelbys, his grandfather was an illegal bookmaker in back-street Birmingham. In this gripping social history, Chinn shines a light on the rarely reported struggles of the working class in one of the great cities of the British Empire before the First World War. The story continues after 1918 as some Peaky Blinders transformed into the infamous Birmingham Gang. Led by the real Billy Kimber, they fought a bloody war with the London gangsters Darby Sabini and Alfie Solomon over valuable protection rackets extorting money from bookmakers across the booming postwar racecourses of Britain. Drawing together a remarkably wide-range of original sources, including rarely seen images of real Peaky Blinders and interviews with relatives of the 1920s gangsters, Peaky Blinders: The Real Story adds a new dimension to the true history of Birmingham's underworld and fact behind its fiction.
The Bermondsey Bookshop by Mary Gibson
'Happiness had never been something she'd looked for. A quiet day with no insults or wallops, that was the best she could imagine.' Set in 1920s London, this is the inspiring story of Kate Goss's struggle against poverty, hunger and cruel family secrets. Her mother died in a fall, her father has vanished without trace, and now her aunt and cousins treat her viciously. In a freezing, vermin-infested garret, factory girl Kate has only her own brave spirit and dreams of finding her father to keep her going. She has barely enough money to feed herself, or to pay the rent. The factory where she works begins to lay off people and it isn't long before she has fallen into the hands of the violent local money-lender. That is until an unexpected opportunity comes her way – a job cleaning a most unusual bookshop, where anyone, from factory workers to dockers, can learn to read and then buy books cheaply. A new world opens up, but with it come new dangers, too. Based on the true story of the Bermondsey Bookshop, this is the most inspiring and gripping novel Mary Gibson has yet written.
The Gamekeeper's Wife by Clare Flynn
A gripping story of love, duty, sacrifice and determination in the aftermath of the First World War. Martha Walters is the widow of an abusive man. Martha has nothing and is about to lose her home. Christopher Shipley is the reluctant heir to a substantial family fortune. He has more money than he needs or wants, and responsibilities he cannot shirk. They were never meant to fall in love, but sometimes the wrong person is the right one. Then a terrible secret is revealed, which could force them apart.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
See my review here:
Through the narration of Nick Carraway, the reader is taken into the superficially glittering world of the mansions which lined the Long Island shore in the 1920s, to encounter Nick's cousin Daisy, her brash but wealthy husband Tom Buchanan, Jay Gatsby and the mystery that surrounds him.
The Paris Girl by Natalie Meg Evans
Paris, 1920s. Tatiana Vytenis has worked hard to leave her past behind. Once a ruined Russian princess in hiding, she is now a sought-after model and engaged to Gérard de Sainte-Vierge – a handsome, if occasionally overbearing, aristocrat. With the Sainte-Vierge heirloom ruby sparkling on her finger, Tatiana feels as though she should be happy. Not long ago she was penniless and now she’s about to become a marquise. But fate still has a final hand to play. One night in a bohemian café in Montparnasse, Tatiana discovers she’s been the unknowing plaything of the Sainte-Vierge family. Hidden beneath their genteel exteriors, Gerard and his brother have a secret darker side, and her darling fiancé will gladly ruin Tatiana’s life to save his own reputation. As Tatiana’s situation becomes ever more desperate, she crosses paths with an unlikely guardian angel. Serious, dark-haired Regan Dortmeyer is an American in Paris – a war photographer running from his own hard knocks in Hell’s Kitchen, New York. He’s no fancy French nobleman, but Regan has seen the lengths to which a wicked man like Gerard will go. As the consequences of her disastrous engagement threaten to swallow Tatiana up, he might be the only one who can save her now…
The Poppy Wife by Caroline Scott
Until she knows her husband's fate, she cannot decide her own... An epic debut novel of forbidden love, loss, and the shattered hearts left behind in the wake of World War I 1921. Families are desperately trying to piece together the fragments of their broken lives. While many survivors of the Great War have been reunited with their loved ones, Edie's husband Francis has not come home. He is considered 'missing in action', but when Edie receives a mysterious photograph taken by Francis in the post, hope flares. And so she begins to search. Harry, Francis's brother, fought alongside him. He too longs for Francis to be alive, so they can forgive each other for the last things they ever said. Both brothers shared a love of photography and it is that which brings Harry back to the Western Front. Hired by grieving families to photograph gravesites, as he travels through battle-scarred France gathering news for British wives and mothers, Harry also searches for evidence of his brother. And as Harry and Edie's paths converge, they get closer to a startling truth. An incredibly moving account of an often-forgotten moment in history, The Poppy Wife tells the story of the thousands of soldiers who were lost amid the chaos and ruins, and the even greater number of men and women desperate to find them again.
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
Alaska, the 1920s. Jack and Mabel have staked everything on a fresh start in a remote homestead, but the wilderness is a stark place, and Mabel is haunted by the baby she lost many years before. When a little girl appears mysteriously on their land, each is filled with wonder, but also foreboding: is she what she seems, and can they find room in their hearts for her? . .