Seventeenth century Swedish politics, tarot cards, and the art of the fan artfully combine in the novel The Stockholm Octavo by Karen Engelmann. Larrson, a young customs officer who excels at card games has insinuated himself into the lives of his betters. After consulting a fortune teller who uses the octavo spread to map out his love life and political connections, Larrson participates in court intrigue that could topple King Gustav himself.
Mary Bowser was a young house slave in pre-civil war Richmond, Virginia. Her abolitionist mistress decided to set her free and send her to Philadelphia to become educated. While in Philadelphia she met a black family who was an integral part of the Underground Railway. As she begins to help other slaves gain their freedom she realizes that her education can be used to further the cause and she becomes a spy in the heart of the Confederacy. Based on true events, The Secrets of Mary Bowser by Lois Leveen is a very personal introduction to a slave’s view of the Civil War.