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Disaster! Historical Fiction Favorites

Jennifer Piper

Disaster Historical Fiction: 10 shocking, heartbreaking, unnerving, hopeful, inspiring books you will hate to put down

Reading about disasters is not everybody's cup of tea, but if you're in the mood there's nothing like some good historical fiction set in a real-life disaster.


A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner








Title: A Fall of Marigolds

Author: Susan Meissner
Event: 9/11 World Trade Center attacks and 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, New York City

Two women a century apart are linked by trauma and one beautiful scarf. Lovely literary fiction.

Buy on Amazon


The Johnstown Girls by Kathleen George








TitleThe Johnstown Girls
Author: Kathleen George
Event: Johnstown Flood 1889, Johnstown, Pennsylvania

Includes real historical photos. Romance, mystery, history, and twins separated in early childhood. What more could you want?


 Buy on Amazon


The Stars are Fire by Anita Shreve








TitleThe Stars are Fire
Author: Anita Shreve
Event: The Great Fires of 1947, Maine

A New York Times bestseller from the author of The Pilot's Wife. Follows the story of a firefighter's (wait for it) ... wife.


Buy on Amazon



1906 by James Dalessandro







Author: James Dalessandro
Event: San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906

Popular historical novel complete with death and terror, corruption and scandal. The more I read about disasters, the more it seems like they can all be blamed on some careless or conniving politician or very rich person.

Buy on Amazon



Hurricane by Janice A. Thompson







Author: Janice A. Thompson
Event: Galveston Hurricane of 1900

Highly rated and well-researched Christian historical fiction about the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history.


Buy on Amazon



The Last Town on Earth by Thomas Mullen







TitleThe Last Town on Earth
Author: Thomas Mullen
Event: Flu Pandemic of 1918

A town in the forests of the Pacific Northwest quarantines itself in this haunting novel that will make you ask yourself, "What would I do? WHAT WOULD I DOOOOO??????"


Buy on Amazon



All That is Solid Melts Into Air by Darragh McKeon




TitleAll That is Solid Melts Into Air
Author: Darragh McKeon
Event: Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster, Ukraine, 1986

Literary fiction following several characters who are affected in different ways by the disaster, covering life, death, love, heroism, family, politics, and the fall of the Soviet Union. Whew!


Buy on Amazon



Safe as Houses by Eric Walters




TitleSafe as Houses
Author: Eric Walters
Event: Hurricane Hazel, Ontario, 1954

A young babysitter contends with frightening adult responsibilities during a flood brought on by devastating Hurricane Hazel, which killed 81 people in Canada. This book targets middle-school readers but is appropriate for anyone 10 and up. Highly rated on GoodReads.

Buy on Amazon


The Woman in the Photo by Mary Hogan




TitleThe Woman in the Photo
Author: Mary Hogan
Event: Johnstown Flood 1889, Johnstown, Pennsylvania

A highly rated coming-of-age novel weaving together the stories of two young women generations apart. 

Buy on Amazon



Blackout by Connie Willis cover image    


Author: Connie Willis
Event: The London Blitz, 1940-1941, London, UK

I am a sucker for time travel stories, and Connie Willis is a master of the genre. Journey into the chaos of the Blitz in WWII London.

Buy on Amazon

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