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Fourth of July weekend reads

Swapna Krishna is a freelance writer, editor, and book reviewer. She has been blogging about books at S. Krishna's Books since 2008. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband. Find her on Twitter at @skrishna and on her blog at www.s...

Books to read for Independence Day weekend

Fourth of July weekend brings so much to mind -- the smell of barbeque, the heat of the evening as you're waiting outside for the fireworks to start, the cool waters of the pool, the sizzling of meat on the grill. But the long weekend is also great for something else -- reading! Here are some book picks for the Fourth of July weekend.

What kind of books do you want to read over the Fourth of July weekend? Exciting and interesting to be sure, but also books that remind you about U.S. history. After all, the reason we celebrate the Fourth is because of the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. Our first pick takes readers back to the time period before the Revolutionary War, to see how one woman helped change history.

The Tory WidowThe Tory Widow cover
Christine Blevins

Christine Blevins' novel about the pre-Revolutionary War period in the U.S. covers a span of over 10 years. Anne Peabody is living in New York City, and when Jack Hampton kisses her in the street to celebrate the repeal of the Stamp Act, she wonders if her future might involve him. But Jack disappears, leaving Anne to the arranged marriage she's dreading.

Ten years later, in 1775, Anne is now a widow and is the proprietor of her husband's business — a printer specializing in Tory propaganda. She doesn't necessarily believe what she prints, that the Americans should be British subjects, but it's her livelihood and her only way of making an income as a widow. But when Jack, a rebel and supporter of American independence, reappears, it makes her question her work and wonder if she can't put her press towards a better cause.

While The Tory Widow will make you remember the Revolutionary War and the fight for independence, our second pick takes you forward in time, to the Civil War and the slaves' fight for freedom.

The Secrets of Mary BowserThe Secrets of Mary Bowser cover
Lois Leveen

Mary Bowser was born a slave in Richmond, Virginia, and she firmly believes she'll die a slave. But when her owner's daughter, Bet, decides that Mary should be sent to Philadelphia for schooling, Mary sees her chance to be a free person. As Mary is educated, she becomes involved with the abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad, which moved slaves from the South to the North so they too could find freedom.

Rather than remaining in safety and comfort up north, Mary chooses to return to Richmond to spy for the abolitionists. There is war coming, and she wants to do her part. The true story of Mary's courage and determination will inspire you, and the fictional life Lois Leveen has built around this historical woman is well worth reading.

If you're not in the mood for a historical novel, then perhaps Allison Leotta's novels centering around the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington, D.C. might be more your style.

Law of Attraction & DiscretionLaw of Attraction cover
Allison Leotta

Anna Curtis is a new Assistant U.S. Attorney, and she specializes in domestic violence cases. She meets a woman named Laprea Johnson who has been abused by her ex-con boyfriend. As Anna tries to advocate for Laprea, she learns that the defendant, D'marco Davis, is being represented by an old friend that she may have new feelings for. Law of Attraction is a well-written and pulse-pounding legal thriller, and you have just enough time to pick it up and devour it before its sequel, Discretion, releases on July 3.

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