BTC Summer Reads, Little-Known Events Prompt

Our first prompt of our BTC Summer Reads reading challenge was inspired by The Medicine Woman of Galveston by Amanda Skenandore. Set during the Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900, this novel follows a female doctor who is willing to do anything to help support her son—even joining a traveling medicine show. In Galveston, Tucia tries to break free from Huey and his traveling medicine show, only to be pulled even deeper into his schemes. But there is a far greater reckoning ahead, as a September storm becomes a devastating hurricane that will decimate the Gulf Coast—and challenge Tucia to recover her belief in medicine, in the goodness of others—and in herself.

If you want even more books that explore historical events you might not have heard about it, check out these books recs!

The Flower Sisters by Michelle Collins Anderson

Drawing on the little-known true story of one tragic night at an Ozarks dance hall in the author’s Missouri hometown, this beautifully written, endearingly nostalgic novel picks up 50 years later for a folksy, character-driven portrayal of small-town life, split second decisions, and the ways family secrets reverberate through generations.

The Book Spy by Alan Hlad

Perfect for fans of Kate Quinn, Marie Benedict, and Pam Jenoff and inspired by true stories of the heroic librarian spies of WWII, the new book from the internationally bestselling author of Churchill’s Secret Messenger transports readers from the New York Public Library to Portugal’s city of espionage in a thrilling, riveting tale.

The Lost Girls of Willowbrook by Ellen Marie Wiseman

For fans of The Girls with No Names, The Silent Patient, and Girl, Interrupted, the New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan Collector blends fact, fiction, and the urban legend of Cropsey in 1970s New York, as mistaken identities lead to a young woman’s imprisonment at Willowbrook State School, the real state-run institution that Geraldo Rivera would later expose for its horrifying abuses.

American Flygirl by Susan Tate Ankeny

One of WWII’s most uniquely hidden figures, Hazel Ying Lee was the first Asian American woman to earn a pilot’s license, join the WASPs, and fly for the United States military amid widespread anti-Asian sentiment and policies.