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5 Books for Fans of The Alienist

Dangerous mysteries, atmospheric backdrops and fascinating characters--what's not to love? Check out some of the best historical novels to read this spring.

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Winter Sisters by Robin Oliveira

In the wake of a devastating blizzard in Albany in 1879 that kills their parents, two small girls vanish. Everyone in the city assumes the girls are dead, lost in the snow--except Dr, Mary Sutter, a close friend of the parents. She learns of the girls’ disappearance and takes it upon herself to find them. Hearing the news, Mary’s mother and niece Elizabeth return to the city to help Mary in her search despite really having their own reasons for coming home. But the truth of what happened is far from what they expected, ultimately destroying families, reputations and the fragile social order of the city. Atmospheric and haunting, Winter Sisters is a thrilling novel that explores the fate of two small girls, the dark secrets of a community and the devastating fallout that results.

Tangerine by Christine Mangan

After an incident tore them apart, Alice Shipley hasn’t spoken to her old roommate and friend Lucy in over a year. Living in Tangier, Alice attempts to adjust to her new life—until she discovers Lucy is arriving with her new husband. Returning to old habits, Lucy encourages Alice to discover the exotic cities and bustling markets of Morocco. Alice soon recognizes the familiar patterns of Lucy’s controlling behavior. Then Alice’s husband disappears, and she must question every aspect of her life, including herself and the choices that have led her to Morocco. Set amidst an exotic and nostalgic backdrop, this thriller is both atmospheric and electric.

White Rose, Black Forest by Eoin Dempsey

In December of 1943, German dissenter Franka Gerber is searching for a reason to live. Before Hitler rose to power, her family lived joyfully, enjoying the summer days in a cottage in the Black Forest. Brutal forces then devastated the country Franka once knew, taking away her father and brother. Alone and hopeless, Franka discovers an airman lying unconscious in the snow wearing a Luftwaffe uniform. She hates everything he stands for, but she refuses to let him die. But the man is not who he seems, forcing Franka to discover his true identity before the Gestapo hunt them down.

The Hunger by Alma Katsu

The Donner Party, a wagon train of American pioneers, leaves Illinois for California in 1846, but a series of misfortunes and mishaps quickly derail the journey. Diminishing rations, vicious fighting and the odd death of a child have pushed the group to its breaking point, but the dream of settling in the West pushes them on. Tragedy—or possibly someone or something much more real than plain bad luck—seems to be stalking the group. As they trek through uncharted lands, members of the group slowly begin to vanish and madness sets in. A supernatural spin on the real story of the Donner Party, The Hunger examines human nature in one of its darkest and most tragic moments.

Dodging and Burning by John Copenhaver

In the summer of 1945, twelve-year-old Ceola Bliss is mourning the loss of her brother who’s been declared missing in the Pacific. She passes time by reading pulp detective stories and spending time with her friends Jay and Bunny, until a single day changes their lives forever. Jay tells Ceola and Bunny he’s found a dead body, but when they come upon the crime scene, the body is gone. They learn that a local woman, Lily Vellum, has gone missing and set out to solve her murder, especially with the help of a photo Jay took of the crime scene. As Ceola obsesses over the mystery, Bunny grows suspicious of Jay and the photo. Both a riveting mystery and a coming-of-age tale, Dodging and Burning follows Bunny as she embarks on an investigation of her own, ultimately leading her to a fateful discovery.

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