Episode 72: Underrepresented Stories of Women In History with Emily VanderBent

 On this week's dose of book recommendations, library love, and literary enthusiasm, our Library Laura Podcast guest is Emily VanderBent. She's the author of Crimson Time, a YA Historical Fantasy novel, and is releasing the second book in that series, Fractured Past, in December 2021. She loves looking at the untold and underrepresented stories of women in history, as well as presenting history in a different light through fantasy fiction. In addition to being an author, she's a historian and an author coach with New Degree Press. We have a great conversation about with lots of book recommendations, as well as stories about the reading and writing life. 

Pick up a copy of Emily's bookvisit her website, and follow her on Instagram @emilyvanderbent_author

Books from today's episode are on the Library Laura storefront on bookshop.org

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Two great questions came up in today's episode, and I'd love to know your responses in the comments! 

1. If you could go back in history ot a time and/or place, where would it be and why? 

2. if you had to recommend a book to a reluctant reader (and if they didn't like it, you wouldn't pester them about reading anymore) what would it be and why? 

Books from today's episode 

Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff- this is the book that Emily's friend's mom gave to her to entice her into becoming a reader. Emily ended up reading it in one day, and enjoying it. She credits this book with helping her become the reader and writer she is today, and will still go back and re-read the book when she needs a reminder of why she fell in love with reading in the first place. 

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab - one of Emily's recent all-time favorites. She loves the details and the interweaving of history in the narrative. It's fantastical and enthralling. 

Emily likes reading anything by Cassandra Clare, especially the Infernal Devices series. 

She also enjoys works by Adrienne Young, Victoria Aveyard and F. Scott Fitzgerald. 

She just finished reading These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

When we talked a few months ago, she was looking forward to reading a manuscript of All My Love from the Trenches by Reilly Vore, an author friend with whom she's been discussing her work in progress for quite a while, and was excited to see it get to this point. 

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - This book came up while discussing Lovely War by Julie Berry, with Death being the narrator of the Book Thief. I've read the book and seen the movie, and the book is better! 

The Lost Girls of Paris  by Pam Jenoff - Emily recommended this historical fiction to me. It's a story of female espionage that goes back and forth between two timelines and three different women to tell a story of special operations in WWII France. This book sounds fantastic and right up my alley. 

Dear America Diaries and Royal Diaries, especially the ones about Mary Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I - Emily and I both got our first introductions to these amazing historical women through this book series. 

American Girl series and Childhood of Famous Americans series - the other historical books I cut my teeth on in the children's section. 

Laura Recommended to Emily 

Code Name Hélène by Ariel Lawhon - Emily loves historical fiction featuring female espionage during WWII, so this was an obvious choice for her. This novel is based on the true story of an Allied spy, Nancy Wake. 

A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II by Sonia Purnell - I hadn't read this one (although I've gone as far as checking it out from the library for a book club!) but it's on the theme of female espionage as well. 

Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War by Karen Abbott - This book is narrative non-fiction, which actually Emily has read and I haven't! It's true stories of women during the Civil War, and actually informs some of the storyline for Emily's second novel, Fractured Past! So that's a fun connection we made during the conversation. 

The Once and Future Witches by Alix Harrow - An alternative history fantasy book with the women's suffrage movement blended with witches. I think Emily would love this for the representation of women's stories in history as well as the excellently spooky atmosphere. A perfect fall read if that's your thing. 

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix Harrow - YA fantasy portal fiction, and a favorite of mine. 

The Elemental Trilogy by Sherry Thomas - This series begins with The Burning Sky and is a great YA fantasy fiction series about a young woman who discovers she's an elemental mage. Lots of adventure, love, magic, and twists and turns. 

Lovely War by Julie Berry - one of my go-to historical fiction book recommendations, I especially love the narrative twist of the Greek gods. 

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn - a WWII historical fiction with a female spy...and a back and forth timeline! Two things Emily and I were talking about loving.   

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton - also a great story that has back-and-forth historical timelines. This book is very atmospheric, with the house playing an important role as almost a character of its own. One of my favorite things is that Frances Hodgson Burnett, author of The Secret Garden, makes a cameo appearance in this story.

 With lots of literary love from my library to yours!

 ~ Laura 


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Library Laura
Laura is an avid reader who is happiest when surrounded by books, tea, blankets and/or friends. Host of the Library Laura Podcast.


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