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Meet These American Literary Figures in a Way You Never Have Before

Person walking up an old wooden staircase.

Well-dressed person walking up an old wooden staircase.

Photo by Hunters Race on Unsplash

The United States in the 19th century was a very different place than it is today. Though we still experience divides along class and gender lines, expected societal behaviors were far more prescripted, restrictive, and, well, stoic back then. There was a strong sense of things that were and were not done (unlike today’s modern U.S. political arena *cough* *cough*).

Today’s book is historical fiction that takes a peek into the lives of some of the well-to-do, the American elite, and important figures in literary history. So, let’s dive in.

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Dearest David, by Glen Ebisch, is a delightful read. The characters use modernized language that flows nicely without, in my opinion, becoming a distraction. The story follows a young, working-class woman who becomes a servant in the Emerson household. Along the way, several other notable American literary figures are inserted into the mix. At its heart, the novel is a love story. However, this book doesn’t follow the standard romance formula. If you’re fond of historical romances, you should really know this before reading because you may otherwise be disappointed.

If you’re an American literary history buff, don’t expect everything in this narrative to be 100% accurate. The main character doesn’t have a real-life counterpart, although most of the other characters in the book were real people. Also, several aspects of the timeline were shuffled around to fit the narrative tension. All of this is clearly explained in the backmatter, though, along with how and when events really transpired.

PS: Want to read a queer historical romance set in America after World War II? Click here.

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A Novel Featuring Queer Romance in Post-WWII America

Women holding hands.

All you need is love.

Women holding hands.Photo by on Unsplash

This is the first queer historical fiction I’ve ever read, and I absolutely adore it. Because of the time period in which the story is set, the book has some homomisia (explanation of that word here), transmisia, sexism, and racism (without praising or glorifying any of it, mind you). Some of this has been internalized and expressed by the characters about themselves. If this is something which may be difficult for you to read, thank you for stopping by, and I hope you pop in tomorrow. 🙂



If you buy something through these links, I get paid. I never recommend anything that I don’t believe is an interesting and high-quality product. See my Disclosure Page for more information.

Written by Vanta, this novel is the second in the Juliana series. Olympus Nights on the Square follows Alice “Al” Huffman from May of 1945 through September of 1955. And she is desperately in love with a cabaret singer named Juliana— a very married Juliana. As the war comes to an end and society returns to the way things were (think “women giving back their jobs to the returning men”), Al finds it difficult to give up the freedom she’d felt. Through the narrative, she wrestles with her own identity, her financial future, and her undying love for Juliana.

One aspect of this book I really appreciate is how casually historical trends and figures are worked into the plot. The birth of television, the Red Scare, McCarthyism, purported scientific “cures” for homosexuality, and famous music icons like Liberace. And it’s also particularly poignant that finding accurate information about the female body was so difficult at that time, let alone books about queer people and their relationships.

More than anything, this story highlights the confusion and sheer terror associated with being queer during this tumultuous and conservative time in America. But it also brings forth the beautiful and deep bonds that only love can build.

PS: Don’t forget to buy this book!

Buy it here and I’ll get some money to pay bills and keep this site running.

Buy it here and I get nothing. (I won’t judge. You do you.)