Historical Florida Novels

May 12, 2022

8 Books To Try If You Loved A Land Remembered

A Land RememberedEasily the most-requested book in our shop, A Land Remembered is a generational saga set in the early days of the Florida frontier. "In this best-selling novel, Patrick Smith tells the story of three generations of the MacIveys, a Florida family who battle the hardships of the frontier to rise from a dirt-poor Cracker life to the wealth and standing of real estate tycoons. The story opens in 1858..."

Smith did write several other novels (including Allapatah, Angel City, and Forever Island, which are also set in the Sunshine State). But once you've devoured Smith's other books, it can be hard to find more like them. I've been a bookseller in Florida for almost thirteen years, so I've had time to put together a pretty good selection for you.

Cracker WesternsThe Cracker Western series

Most of these are written by Lee Gramling but a few other authors contributed as well (Bridger's Run, Guns of the Palmetto Plains, Wiregrass Country, Alligator Gold). The series is in the midst of a reprint, so if you have any trouble finding the right edition please let me know! I can always check on it for you and update the link/editions if need be. 

Blue AsylumBlue Asylum (2012) by Kathy Hepinstall 

"Amid the mayhem of the Civil War, Iris Dunleavy is put on trial by her husband, convicted of madness, and sent to Sanibel Asylum to be restored to a compliant Virginia plantation wife. But her husband is the true criminal; she is no lunatic, only guilty of disagreeing on notions of cruelty and property. On this remote Florida island, Iris meets a wonderful collection of inmates in various states of sanity, including Ambrose Weller, a Confederate soldier haunted by war, whose dark eyes beckon to her. Can love in such a place be real? Can they escape, and will the war have left any way—any place—for them to make a life together?"

Cross CreekCross Creek by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

"Originally published in 1942, Cross Creek has become a classic in modern American literature. For the millions of readers raised on The Yearling, here is the story of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings's experiences in the remote Florida hamlet of Cross Creek, where she lived for thirteen years. From the daily labors of managing a seventy-two-acre orange grove to bouts with runaway pigs and a succession of unruly farmhands, Rawlings describes her life at the Creek with humor and spirit. Her tireless determination to overcome the challenges of her adopted home in the Florida backcountry, her deep-rooted love of the earth, and her genius for character and description result in a most delightful and heartwarming memoir."

MariaMaria by Eugenia Price (1977)

"In this captivating tale, Eugenia Price paints a vivid picture of the tumultuous historic and political events that shaped the life of a remarkably independent woman in the colonial south... When Spain agrees to give all of Florida in exchange for the city of Havana, Maria and her husband are forced to relocate to the newly British garrison town of St. Augustine, Florida. Faced with challenges that would unnerve a less resourceful woman, Maria makes a name for herself-developing and enhancing her position with influential citizens of St. Augustine. Eventually marrying three times, Maria proves herself to be an extraordinary woman-for any day or time." First in a trilogy.

Shadow CountryShadow Country by Peter Matthiessen (2008)

"Killing Mister Watson, Lost Man’s River, and Bone by Bone (Peter Matthiessen’s great American epic about Everglades sugar planter and notorious outlaw E. J. Watson on the wild Florida frontier at the turn of the twentieth century) were originally conceived as one vast, mysterious novel. Now, in this bold new rendering, Matthiessen has marvelously distilled a monumental work while deepening the insights and motivations of his characters with brilliant rewriting throughout."

Light A Distant FireLight a Distant Fire: A Novel of Osceola and the Second Seminole War by Lucia St Clair Robson (1991)

"When Andrew Jackson declared war on the Seminole, he never envisioned battling a people who would become symbols of courage, loyalty and patriotism. In the vast, alligator-infested swamps of the Everglades they confounded the U.S. Army. Unable to win militarily, the Seminole were captured under flags of truce and transported to Oklahoma Territory. They are the only tribe never to surrender or sign a peace treaty."

RunawayRunaway (1994) by Heather Graham

First in a series of Florida Civil War era historical romance novels. "New York Times bestselling author Heather Graham recreates the tumultuous history of America’s least-known frontier, Florida, in a love story that burns with passion and truth." Published over about six years, the other titles include: Captive, Rebel, Surrender, Glory and Triumph. Their print status comes and goes but so far I've been able to keep them in stock most of the time! 

By Reef and Trail By Reef and Trail: Bob Leach's Adventures in Florida (1909)

"Set in pre-1900 Florida, this story of a young Florida cracker becoming a man is set in the natural world of a bygone Florida. It gives a unique, contemporary glimpse into an unspoiled, and virtually uninhabited Florida. Includes the original glossary and Outdoor Advice from the original 1909 edition and includes illustrations by Charles Livingston Bull, illustrator of Jack London's first edition of Call of the Wild."

The Floridians by Ann O'Connell Rust

Unfortunately this series is out of print so they can be difficult to find. I included it here anyway though because it really does belong! (And sometimes we have used copies in stock.) The series includes Punta Rassa, Palatka, Kissimmee, Monticello, and Pahokee.

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Staff Pick Badge
A Land Remembered Cover Image
$14.20
ISBN: 9781561641161
Availability: Warehouse, In Stock | Usually Ships in 1-5 Days | New
Published: Pineapple Press - September 1st, 1996

A Land Remembered has been ranked #1 Best Florida Book eight times in annual polls conducted by Florida Monthly Magazine.


Allapattah Cover Image
$13.31
ISBN: 9781561645657
Availability: Warehouse, In Stock | Usually Ships in 1-5 Days | New
Published: Pineapple Press - September 15th, 2012

Twenty-five-year-old Seminole Toby Tiger lives in despair in the Florida Everglades. He loves the land and everything that exists in the natural world: the deer and egrets, turtles and herons, cypress trees and sawgrass, ponds and marshes, and, most of all, Allapattah, the crocodile.


Angel City Cover Image
$9.75
Email or call for price
ISBN: 9781561645671
Published: Pineapple Press - October 25th, 2012

After leaving their failed farm in West Virginia, Jared Teeter and his family make their way to Florida, with dreams of fishing, going to the beach, and running their own roadside produce stand. What they find instead is a nightmare in a migrant labor camp, where they become the indentured servants of a soulless crew chief and his mindless henchmen.


Cross Creek Cover Image
$16.15
ISBN: 9780684818795
Availability: Warehouse, In Stock | Usually Ships in 1-5 Days | New
Published: Scribner - March 20th, 1996

Cross Creek is the warm and delightful memoir about the life of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings—author of The Yearling—in the Florida backcountry.

Originally published in 1942, Cross Creek has become a classic in modern American literature.


Forever Island Cover Image
$16.91
ISBN: 9780393336917
Availability: Warehouse, In Stock | Usually Ships in 1-5 Days | New
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - January 1st, 1973

A classic and heartbreaking tale of one man’s fight to protect nature, and a treasured way of life, against the forces of greed.


Bridger's Run (Cracker Western) Cover Image
$10.64
ISBN: 9781561641741
Availability: Warehouse, In Stock | Usually Ships in 1-5 Days | New
Published: Pineapple Press - April 1st, 1999

Cracker Westerns are rip-roarin, action-packed, can't-put-'em-down tales set in the frontier days of Florida. They are full of adventure, real heroes, and vivid, authentic details that bring Florida's history to life.


Guns of the Palmetto Plains (Cracker Western) Cover Image
$13.31
ISBN: 9781561640706
Availability: Warehouse, In Stock | Usually Ships in 1-5 Days | New
Published: Pineapple Press - January 1st, 1994

Cracker Westerns are rip-roarin, action-packed, can't-put-'em-down tales set in the frontier days of Florida. They are full of adventure, real heroes, and vivid, authentic details that bring Florida's history to life.


17 Temptitle for Title Removal (Cracker Western) Cover Image
$15.09
ISBN: 9781561641567
Availability: Warehouse, In Stock | Usually Ships in 1-5 Days | New
Published: Pineapple Press - September 1st, 1998

Cracker Westerns are rip-roarin, action-packed, can't-put-'em-down tales set in the frontier days of Florida. They are full of adventure, real heroes, and vivid, authentic details that bring Florida's history to life.


45 Temptitle for Title Removal (Cracker Western) Cover Image
$10.64
ISBN: 9781561644476
Availability: Warehouse, In Stock | Usually Ships in 1-5 Days | New
Published: Pineapple Press - September 1st, 2009

Cracker Westerns are rip-roarin, action-packed, can't-put-'em-down tales set in the frontier days of Florida. They are full of adventure, real heroes, and vivid, authentic details that bring Florida's history to life.

With enough shoot-outs and stampedes for any good Western story, Alligator Gold adds its unique Florida twist with an alligator in a deep blue spring.


Shadow Country Cover Image
$20.40
ISBN: 9780812980622
Availability: Warehouse, In Stock | Usually Ships in 1-5 Days | New
Published: Modern Library - November 26th, 2008

NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER •  “Altogether gripping, shocking, and brilliantly told, not just a tour de force in its stylistic range, but a great American novel, as powerful a reading experience as nearly any in our literature.”—Michael Dirda, The New York Review of Books


Cross Creek Cover Image
$16.15
ISBN: 9780684818795
Availability: Warehouse, In Stock | Usually Ships in 1-5 Days | New
Published: Scribner - March 20th, 1996

Cross Creek is the warm and delightful memoir about the life of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings—author of The Yearling—in the Florida backcountry.

Originally published in 1942, Cross Creek has become a classic in modern American literature.


Maria: First Novel in the Florida Trilogy Cover Image
$20.39
ISBN: 9781618580085
Availability: Warehouse, In Stock | Usually Ships in 1-5 Days | New
Published: Turner - December 4th, 2012

In this captivating tale, Eugenia Price paints a vivid picture of the tumultuous historic and political events that shaped the life of Mary Evans, a remarkably independent woman in the colonial south. Born in Charles Town, South Carolina, Mary, a skilled midwife, accompanied her first husband, British soldier David Fenwick, when his regiment fought the Spanish in Cuba.


Runaway Cover Image
$7.59
Email or call for price
ISBN: 9780440216889
Published: Dell - July 1st, 1995

New York Times bestselling author Heather Graham recreates the tumultuous history of America’s least-known frontier, Florida, in a love story that burns with passion and truth.
 
“I accepted you as payment on a gambling table because you’re incredibly beautiful. And I want you for the same reason.”
 


Light a Distant Fire: A Novel of Osceola and the Second Seminole War Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9780982977996
Availability: Warehouse, In Stock | Usually Ships in 1-5 Days | New
Published: Lucia St Clair Robson - February 6th, 2014

When Andrew Jackson declared war on the Seminole, he never envisioned battling a people who would become symbols of courage, loyalty and patriotism. Inspired by Chief Osceola, they and their Black allies fought an unjust war of greed and aggression. In the vast, alligator-infested swamps of the Everglades they confounded the U.S. Army.


Staff Pick Badge
Blue Asylum Cover Image
$16.90
ISBN: 9780544002227
Availability: Warehouse, In Stock | Usually Ships in 1-5 Days | New
Published: Harper Paperbacks - April 9th, 2013

"A first-rate choice for fans of intelligent historical romances."—Library Journal, starred review Amid the mayhem of the Civil War, Iris Dunleavy is put on trial by her husband, convicted of madness, and sent to Sanibel Asylum to be restored to a compliant Virginia plantation wife.


By Reef and Trail: Bob Leach's Adventures in Florida Cover Image
$16.10
Email or call for price
ISBN: 9781890623357
Published: Lost Classics Book Co. - November 16th, 2010

Set in pre-1900 Florida, this story of a young Florida cracker becoming a man is set in the natural world of a bygone Florida. It gives a unique, contemporary glimpse into an unspoiled, and virtually uninhabited Florida.