Wednesday, June 28, 2017

2018 Historical Fiction Releases

Yep, they're already available for pre-order.

The Girls in the Picture: A Novel by Melanie Benjamin


Release Date: January 16, 2018



A fascinating novel of the friendship and creative partnership between two of Hollywood’s earliest female legends—screenwriter Frances Marion and superstar Mary Pickford—from the New York Times bestselling author of The Swans of Fifth Avenue and The Aviator’s Wife

With cameos from such notables as Charlie Chaplin, Louis B. Mayer, Rudolph Valentino, and Lillian Gish, The Girls in the Picture is, at its heart, a story of friendship and forgiveness. Melanie Benjamin perfectly captures the dawn of a glittering new era—its myths and icons, its possibilities and potential, and its seduction and heartbreak.

(Full description at Goodreads)



The Taster by V.S. Alexander


Release Date: January 30, 2018



In early 1943, Magda Ritter’s parents send her to relatives in Bavaria, hoping to keep her safe from the Allied bombs strafing Berlin. Young German women are expected to do their duty—working for the Reich or marrying to produce strong, healthy children. After an interview with the civil service, Magda is assigned to the Berghof, Hitler’s mountain retreat. Only after weeks of training does she learn her assignment: she will be one of several young women tasting the Führer’s food, offering herself in sacrifice to keep him from being poisoned.

(Full description at Goodreads)



White Chrysanthemum by Mary Lynn Bracht


Release Date: January 30, 2018



Korea, 1943. Hana has lived her entire life under Japanese occupation. Following her mother's footsteps into the sea as a haenyeo, one of the famed female divers of beautiful Jeju Island, she enjoys an independence that few other Koreans can still claim. Until the day Hana witnesses a Japanese soldier threatening her beloved younger sister on shore. Desperate to save her, Hana is captured and transported to Manchuria where she is forced to become a comfort woman in a Japanese brothel. But haenyeo are women of power and strength and Hana holds close the lessons her mother taught her. She will find her way home.

(Full description at Goodreads)



Under the Canopy of Heaven by Susan Meissner


Release Date: February 6, 2018



In 1918, Philadelphia was a city teeming with promise. Even as its young men went off to fight in the Great War, there were opportunities for a fresh start on its cobblestone streets. Into this bustling town, came Pauline Bright and her husband, filled with hope that they could now give their three daughters--Evelyn, Maggie, and Willa--a chance at a better life.

Their dreams are short-lived. Just months after they arrive, the Spanish Flu reaches the shores of America. As the pandemic claims more than twelve thousand victims in their adopted city, they find their lives left with a world that looks nothing like the one they knew. But even as they lose loved ones, they take in a baby orphaned by the disease who becomes their single source of hope. Amidst the tragedy and challenges that surround them, they learn what they cannot live without--and what they are willing to do about it.



The Maze at Windermere: A Novel by Gregory Blake Smith


Release Date: January 9, 2017



A reckless wager between a tennis pro with a fading career and a drunken party guest—the stakes are an antique motorcycle and an heiress’s diamond necklace—launches a narrative odyssey that braids together three centuries of aspiration and adversity. A witty and urbane bachelor of the Gilded Age embarks on a high-risk scheme to marry into a fortune; a young writer soon to make his mark turns himself to his craft with harrowing social consequences; an aristocratic British officer during the American Revolution carries on a courtship that leads to murder; and, in Newport’s earliest days, a tragically orphaned Quaker girl imagines a way forward for herself and the slave girl she has inherited.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Upcoming Historical Fiction

The Green Count (Chivalry) by Christian Cameron


Release Date: July 13, 2017



After the bloody trials of Alexandria, Sir William Gold is readying for a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to ease the burden on his soul. He hopes, too, that the Holy City might allow his relationship with Emile, cousin of the Green Count of Savoy, to develop.

But the Roman Emperor of Constantinople has been taken hostage by an unknown enemy, and the Green Count is vital to the rescue effort. It is up to Sir William to secure his support, but he soon finds that his past, and his relationship with Emile, might have repercussions he had not foreseen...

(Full description at Goodreads)



Death in St. Petersburg: A Lady Emily Mystery (Lady Emily Mysteries) by Tasha Alexander


Release Date: October 10, 2017



After the final curtain of Swan Lake, an animated crowd exits the Mariinsky theatre brimming with excitement from the night’s performance. But outside the scene is somber. A ballerina’s body lies face down in the snow, blood splattered like rose petals over the costume of the Swan Queen. The crowd is silenced by a single cry— “Nemetseva is dead!”

(Full description at Goodreads)



The Tiger's Prey: A Novel of Adventure (Courtney Family Novels) by Wilbur Smith, Tom Harper


Release Date: October 17, 2017



Tom Courtney, one of four sons of master mariner Sir Hal Courtney, once again sets sail on a treacherous journey that will take him across the vast reaches of the ocean and pit him against dangerous enemies in exotic destinations. But just as the winds propel his sails, passion drives his heart. Turning his ship towards the unknown, Tom Courtney will ultimately find his destiny—and lay the future for the Courtney family.

(Full description at Goodreads)



The Glamorous Dead by Suzanne Gates


Release Date: October 31, 2017



The chipped pink nail polish is a dead giveaway—no pun intended. When a human thumb is discovered near a Hollywood nightclub, it doesn’t take long for the police to identify its owner. Miss Penny Harp would recognize that pink anywhere: it belongs to her best friend, Rosemary. And so does the rest of the body buried beneath it. Rosemary, with the beauty and talent, who stood out from all other extras on the Paramount lot. She was the one whose name was destined for a movie marquee—not for the obituaries. And for an extra twist, now an LAPD detective thinks Penny is the one who killed her . . .

(Full description at Goodreads)



City of Lies (A Counterfeit Lady Novel) by Victoria Thompson


Release Date: November 7, 2017



Like most women, Elizabeth Miles assumes many roles; unlike most, hers have made her a woman on the run. Living on the edge of society, Elizabeth uses her guile to relieve so-called respectable men of their ill-gotten gains. But brutal and greedy entrepreneur Oscar Thornton is out for blood. He’s lost a great deal of money and is not going to forgive a woman for outwitting him. With his thugs hot on her trail, Elizabeth seizes the moment to blend in with a group of women who have an agenda of their own.

(Full description at Goodreads)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Upcoming Historical Novels

Where the Light Falls: A Novel of the French Revolution by Allison Pataki, Owen Pataki


Release Date: July 11, 2017



Three years after the storming of the Bastille, the streets of Paris are roiling with revolution. The citizens of France are enlivened by the ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity. The monarchy of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette has been dismantled—with the help of the guillotine—and a new nation is rising in its place. Jean-Luc, an idealistic young lawyer, moves his wife and their infant son from a comfortable life in Marseille to Paris, in the hopes of joining the cause. André, the son of a denounced nobleman, has evaded execution by joining the new French army. Sophie, a young aristocratic widow, embarks on her own fight for independence against her powerful, vindictive uncle.

(Full description at Goodreads)



The Sisters of Alameda Street: A Novel by Lorena Hughes


Release Date: July 18, 2017



When Malena Sevilla's tidy, carefully planned world collapses following her father’s mysterious suicide, she finds a letter—signed with an “A”—which reveals that her mother is very much alive and living in San Isidro, a quaint town tucked in the Andes Mountains. Intent on meeting her, Malena arrives at Alameda Street and meets four sisters who couldn’t be more different from one another, but who share one thing in common: all of their names begin with an A.

(Full description at Goodreads)



The Boat Runner: A Novel by Devin Murphy


Release Date: September 5, 2017



Beginning in the summer of 1939, fourteen-year-old Jacob Koopman and his older brother, Edwin, enjoy lives of prosperity and quiet contentment. Many of the residents in their small Dutch town have some connection to the Koopman lightbulb factory, and the locals hold the family in high esteem.

On days when they aren’t playing with friends, Jacob and Edwin help their Uncle Martin on his fishing boat in the North Sea, where German ships have become a common sight. But conflict still seems unthinkable, even as the boys’ father naively sends his sons to a Hitler Youth Camp in an effort to secure German business for the factory.

(Full description at Goodreads)



We Were Strangers Once by Betsy Carter


Release Date: September 12, 2017



On the eve of World War II Egon Schneider--a gallant and successful Jewish doctor, son of two world-famous naturalists--escapes Germany to an uncertain future across the sea. Settling into the unfamiliar rhythms of upper Manhattan, he finds solace among a tight-knit group of fellow immigrants, tenacious men and women drawn together as much by their differences as by their memories of the world they left behind.

(Full description at Goodreads)


Monday, May 29, 2017

Upcoming Releases in Historical Fiction

Cocoa Beach: A Novel by Beatriz Williams


Release Date: June 27, 2017



Burdened by a dark family secret, Virginia Fortescue flees her oppressive home in New York City for the battlefields of World War I France. While an ambulance driver for the Red Cross, she meets a charismatic British army surgeon whose persistent charm opens her heart to the possibility of love. As the war rages, Virginia falls into a passionate affair with the dashing Captain Simon Fitzwilliam, only to discover that his past has its own dark secrets—secrets that will damage their eventual marriage and propel her back across the Atlantic to the sister and father she left behind.

[Full description at Goodreads]



The Last Tudor (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels) by Philippa Gregory


Release Date: August 8, 2017



Seventeen-year-old Jane Grey was queen of England for nine days. Her father and his allies crowned her instead of the dead king’s half-sister Mary Tudor, who quickly mustered an army, claimed her throne, and locked Jane in the Tower of London. When Jane refused to betray her Protestant faith, Mary sent her to the executioner’s block, where Jane transformed her father’s greedy power-grab into tragic martyrdom.

[Full description at Goodreads]



The Trust: A Novel (Liam Taggart and Catherine Lockhart) by Ronald H. Balson


Release Date: September 19, 2017



When his uncle dies, Liam Taggart reluctantly returns to his childhood home in Northern Ireland for the funeral—a home he left years ago after a bitter confrontation with his family, never to look back. But when he arrives, Liam learns that not only was his uncle shot to death, but that he’d anticipated his own murder: In an astonishing last will and testament, Uncle Fergus has left his entire estate to a secret trust, directing that no distributions be made to any person until the killer is found. Did Fergus know, but refuse to name, his killer? Was this a crime of revenge, a vendetta leftover from Northern Ireland’s bloody sectarian war? After all, the Taggarts were deeply involved in the IRA. Or is it possible that the killer is a family member seeking Fergus’s estate? Otherwise, why postpone distributions to the heirs? Most menacingly, does the killer now have his sights on other family members?

[Full description at Goodreads]



The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish


Release Date: June 6, 2017



Set in London of the 1660s and of the early twenty-first century, The Weight of Ink is the interwoven tale of two women of remarkable intellect: Ester Velasquez, an emigrant from Amsterdam who is permitted to scribe for a blind rabbi, just before the plague hits the city; and Helen Watt, an ailing historian with a love of Jewish history.

[Full description at Goodreads]





The Lost Letter: A Novel by Jillian Cantor


Release Date: June 13, 2017



Austria, 1938. Kristoff is a young apprentice to a master Jewish stamp engraver. When his teacher disappears during Kristallnacht, Kristoff is forced to engrave stamps for the Germans, and simultaneously works alongside Elena, his beloved teacher's fiery daughter, and with the Austrian resistance to send underground messages and forge papers. As he falls for Elena amidst the brutal chaos of war, Kristoff must find a way to save her, and himself.

Los Angeles, 1989. Katie Nelson is going through a divorce and while cleaning out her house and life in the aftermath, she comes across the stamp collection of her father, who recently went into a nursing home. When an appraiser, Benjamin, discovers an unusual World War II-era Austrian stamp placed on an old love letter as he goes through her dad's collection, Katie and Benjamin are sent on a journey together that will uncover a story of passion and tragedy spanning decades and continents, behind the just fallen Berlin Wall.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Review: Illuminating Women in the Medieval World by Christine Sciacca

Release Date: June 20, 2017

This is an analysis of women's roles in the middle ages using medieval illustrations of women, and accompanying them with only a very brief description of each. It comes across as rather like an academic coffee table book. I was hoping for much more text and analyses than what there is, but it is still interesting if you take it for what it is. I am sure the images are much more interesting in the print version too (I was given a free ebook copy for review from the publisher via NetGalley). It is published by Getty Museum, and indeed it strikes me as the type of book you would buy in a museum gift shop as a souvenir of the paintings you viewed there.



Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Upcoming Releases in Historical Fiction

The Vengeance of Mothers by Jim Fergus

Release Date: September 12, 2017



9 March 1876
My name is Meggie Kelly and I take up this pencil with my twin sister, Susie. We have nothing left, less than nothing. The village of our People has been destroyed.Empty of human feeling, half-dead ourselves, all that remains of us intact are hearts turned to stone. We curse the U.S. government, we curse the Army, we curse the savagery of mankind, white and Indian alike. We curse God in his heaven. Do not underestimate the power of a mother’s vengeance...

So begins the journal of Margaret Kelly, a woman who participated in the government's "Brides for Indians" program in 1873, a program whose conceit was that the way to peace between the United States and the Cheyenne Nation was for One Thousand White Women to be given as brides in exchange for three hundred horses. Mostly fallen women, the brides themselves thought it was simply a chance at freedom. But many fell in love with the Cheyennes spouses and had children with them...and became Cheyenne themselves.



Mr. Dickens and His Carol: A Novel of Christmas Past by Samantha Silva

Release Date: October 31, 2017



For Charles Dickens, each Christmas has been better than the last. But when his newest book is an utter flop, his publishers offer an ultimatum: either he writes a Christmas book in a month, or they will call in his debts, and he could lose everything. Grudgingly, he accepts, but with relatives hounding him for loans, his wife planning an excessively lavish holiday party, and jealous critics moving in for the kill, he is hardly feeling the Christmas spirit.

Frazzled and filled with self-doubt, Dickens seeks solace and inspiration in London itself, his great palace of thinking. And on one of his long walks, in a once-beloved square, he meets a young woman who might be just the muse he needs. Over the next few weeks, Eleanor Lovejoy propels Dickens on a Scrooge-like journey that tests everything he believes about generosity, friendship, ambition—and Christmas.



A Lady in Shadows: A Madeleine Karno Mystery by Lene Kaaberbøl

Release Date: December 5, 2017



New York Times bestselling author Lene Kaaberbøl returns with her beloved protagonist Madeleine Karno—an ambitious young woman who shatters the confines of nineteenth century France as she struggles to become the first female forensic pathologist and hunt down what appears to be a Jack the Ripper copycat.

On June 2nd, 1894, in the wake of President Marie Francois Sadi Carnot’s assassination, France descends into chaos and riots in the streets of Varbourg. Many lives are lost in the mayhem, but when one lady of the night is found murdered with brutal incisions and no sign of a struggle, it is clear something is amiss. Madeleine Karno, the tenacious protagonist from Doctor Death, must ask herself the terrifying question: Do they have their very own Jack the Ripper in France?

(Full description at Goodreads)



Dark Winds Rising: A Novel by Mark Noce

Release Date: December 5, 2017



Queen Branwen finds her world once again turned upside down as Pictish raiders harry the shores of her kingdom. Rallying her people once more, she must face her most dangerous foe yet, the Queen of the Picts. Ruthless and cunning, the Pictish Queen turns the Welsh against each other in a bloody civil war, and Branwen must attempt to stop her before her country threatens to tear itself apart.

All the while Branwen is heavy with child, and finds her young son’s footsteps dogged by a mysterious assassin. Branwen must somehow defeat the Picts and save her people before the Pictish Queen and a mysterious assassin threaten to destroy their lives from the inside out.

(Full description at Goodreads)

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Review: Elfrida: The First Crowned Queen of England by Elizabeth Norton

In 10th century England, the wife of the king was not necessarily crowned and anointed. This is a much deserved biography on the first queen of England to be crowned, Elfrida (aka Ælfthryth, Alfrida, or Elfthryth) who is better remembered for the accusations against her of murdering her step-son to put her own son on the throne. The third wife of Edgar the Peaceful, she was a key figure in the strengthening of the Church in England, and as regent for her young son.

Due to a lack of primary sources, biographies on women of early English history often wind up being more about the people and events around them then about the women themselves, but that did not feel like the case here. Never dull or dry, it gave a thorough view on who Elfrida was and why she not only deserves her own biography, but deserves to be given the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the accusations of murder against her. It really illuminates this period of history too, giving you a complete picture of the politics of the time.

This biography proves that Elfrida's much overlooked story is ripe for a historical drama.



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