9 Fantastic Books Set During the Turn of the Century

The turn of the twentieth century was an exciting time for many. Music was in the air, war was on the way, and new inventions were drastically changing the way we lived. If you want to dive into this fascinating era, these nine fantastic books can serve as your time machine. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

9 Fantastic Books Set During the Turn of the Century

Title Author
1. The Year of Necessary Lies Kris Radish
2. The Latecomers Helen Klein Ross
3. Bowlaway Elizabeth McCracken
4. Between Earth and Sky Amanda Skenandore
5. The Orchardist Amanda Coplin
6. Valiant Gentlemen Sabina Murray
7. Archangel Andrea Barrett
8. Forsaken Ross Howell Jr.
9. White Feathers Susan Lanigan

8 Great Turn of the Century Films

  1. Titanic (1997)
  2. Doctor Zhivago (1965)
  3. The Great Gatsby (2013)
  4. Reds (1981)
  5. There Will Be Blood (2007)
  6. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
  7. Changeling (2008)
  8. The Artist (2011)

Progressives During the Turn of the Century

In Depth

At the turn of the 20th century, the world was experiencing a huge cultural shift. Technology was advancing at a rapid speed, women were claiming a more equal place in society, and the work of the industrial revolution was beginning to set the mold for the type of hyper-connected world we live in today. If you've ever wondered what it might be like to glimpse into this fascinating time, you've come to the right place. Here, in no particular order, are some of the most wonderful books that take place during the turn of the century.

In the #1 spot is "The Year of Necessary Lies" by Kris Radish. In 1903, Boston society girl Julia is about to make a good marriage. That is, until she finds out that her husband-to-be is involved in the plume trade, a violent industry that traffics in the deaths of rare and magnificent birds. When Julia is recruited by a group of radical feminists, she ends up taking action by heading to Florida to stop hunters in their tracks. Once there, however, she's forced to take daring risks in order to enact change.

At #2 is "The Latecomers" by Helen Klein Ross. Three generations of New England women will be defined forever by the actions of Bridey, a sixteen-year-old Irish girl who finds herself an abandoned, single mother in the America of 1908. As an immigrant with nowhere to go and no one to lean on, Bridey must give up her child and put all memories of her deceased sweetheart Thom out of her mind. She puts herself to work for the Hollingworths and becomes a part of the family. But after a tragedy sends everything into chaos, neither Bridey nor her employers will ever be the same again.

But after a tragedy sends everything into chaos, neither Bridey nor her employers will ever be the same again.

For #3, we have Elizabeth McCracken's "Bowlaway." Bertha Truitt is an individual of mysterious birth. She was placed with her few possessions in the middle of a New England cemetery as a child, right at the dawn of the 20th century. Growing up, Bertha just wants to be normal. She marries Leviticus Sprague, the town doctor responsible for saving her life. But even if Bertha isn't itching to know her own origin story, the townspeople certainly are, and sooner or later, the truth is going to come to light, whether Bertha is around for it or not.

For #4, we get Amanda Skenandore's "Between Earth and Sky." It's just an average morning in 1906, until Alma picks up the daily newspaper and sees a shocking crime. An FBI agent has been killed and the prime suspect in the case is Harry, one of Alma's oldest friends. As a child, Alma was the only white student at her father's assimilation school for children of color, where she and Harry met. She knows how deep Harry's scars go, but she never expected that a lifetime of being denied his own traditions and getting racially targeted could turn him into the bitter, frightened man she sees today. But could he really have committed this vicious murder?

At #5 is "The Orchardist" by Amanda Coplin. Near the Cascade Mountains, orchard worker Talmadge tends his trade, cultivating fruits and flowers in isolation. He loves the land, and feels tied to the place where his mother is buried and his sister once shared her life with him, before disappearing completely. After selling his wares in town one day, Talmadge runs into two young, pregnant girls in need of help. He decides to take them in without asking any questions. But in the Wild West, no one is truly safe, and Talmadge's beloved family orchard could be at risk of destruction at any moment.

He decides to take them in without asking any questions.

At #6 is Sabina Murray's "Valiant Gentlemen." Roger Casement and Herbert Ward are best friends. They share adventures together, travel the world side-by-side, and carry each other through domestic disputes. But when World War I starts up, all bets are off. They refuse to see eye to eye, and their changing political loyalties drive a wedge between them, sending the two men toward radically different paths. Ward marries a brilliant heiress and fights on the front lines with his sons, while the closeted Casement allies himself with the Irish rebellion.

Coming in at #7 is Andrea Barrett's "Archangel." In these short stories, fact and fiction intermingle to create rich, layered depictions of the lives of great thinkers and average citizens adjusting to a new, technologically-advanced world. From a 12-year-old scientist experimenting with motorized bikes in 1908 to a Darwin rival trying to preserve his own legacy, the characters grapple with questions of science, progress, and the influence of theories and inventions that we still live with today.

For #8 we get Ross Howell Jr.'s "Forsaken." Hampton, Virginia, isn't the most tolerant place in the world. Especially not in 1912, during the time of "Virgie" Christian's explosive trial. As the first woman ever to be executed in the state's history, the seventeen-year-old's death sets a horrifying precedent in a town already beset by racial tension. When teen reporter Charles Mears takes on the case, he's dedicated to learning the true story behind the murder of Virgie's white employer. What he finds sets the scene as a colorful cast of characters come together to tell the true story of the shocking crime and its aftermath.

When teen reporter Charles Mears takes on the case, he's dedicated to learning the true story behind the murder of Virgie's white employer.

Finally, at #9, is Susan Lanigan's "White Feathers." In 1913, Irish teen Eva is itching to escape her stuffy stepmother's London home. When she gets the chance to attend a prestigious girl's school in Kent, she leaps at it, quickly falling in love with one of her professors. But when World War I breaks out and her beau takes a pacifist stance, she has to decide where her own loyalties lie. With her sister's life being held hostage, Eva will have to make a choice. Will she present her lover with the shameful white feather of cowardice or be denied funds for her sister's medical treatment?