8 New Historical Fiction Books
Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, and so many great titles are being published. This week, I am highlighting some recently published and soon-to-be published titles that are standouts in the genre. Several of the books, including The Chanel Sisters, The Invisible Woman and Band of Sisters, highlight real women who left their marks on the world while others like The Arctic Fury and The Last Garden in England, focus on events or time periods in the past.
- The Arctic Fury by Greer Macallister – The Arctic Fury is a dual timeline tale that describes an 1853 all-female expedition led by Virginia Reeve to the wild Arctic to hunt for the missing Franklin Expedition and then the resulting murder trial a year-and-a-half later. The book alternates between the dangerous expedition across the frozen landscape of the Arctic and the subsequent murder trial in Boston as readers slowly learn what really occurred on the doomed expedition.
- Band of Sisters by Lauren Willig – Set during World War 1, Band of Sisters tells the story of a group of women from Smith College who head to France in the midst of the war to help citizens devastated by German attacks. Faced with one crisis after another, the women must band together to help while also addressing their own internal rivalries.
- The Chanel Sisters by Judithe Little – Houstonian Judithe Little chronicles the lives of Antoinette and Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel from their early years at the convent orphanage in Aubazine, France. Their time at the orphanage left a lasting impression on both girls and forged a determination in Coco to create a better life for herself. From the days of their shop on Rue Cambon in Paris to the years after World War 1, Antoinette narrates their story including friendships, romances, and success in the fashion business.
- The Invisible Woman by Erika Robuck – Robuck brings real-life heroine Virginia Hall to life, championing her extraordinary bravery as an Allied spy in German-occupied France during World War 2. She depicts Hall’s exceptional heroism amid the horror of the Nazi atrocities while also highlighting the thousands of regular people who bravely joined the Resistance (and put their lives on the line) to ensure that their country would not fall to the Nazis.
- The Last Garden in England by Julia Kelly – Set in a triple timeline format, 1907, 1944, and 2021, The Last Garden in England follows five women whose lives are interwoven with the fictional Highbury House and its gardens. Kelly vividly brings the gardens to life, and I often felt that I was right there with the characters among the plants and flowers due to her creative and beautiful descriptions. She uses just the right amount of detail, and Kelly’s extensive research is it is easily apparent.
- The Mermaid from Jeju by Sumi Hahn- This dual timeline tale is set in post-World War Korea on a little island called Jeju and in the modern-day United States, and it is the story of Junja, a haenyeo (the famed Korean deep sea divers), who grows up on Jeju. Post-World War 2 is a tumultuous time in Korean history when Japan has withdrawn troops and the United States begins its occupation, and Junja must navigate the fraught political climate, family upheaval and the resulting grief, and her own romance.
- The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict – Agatha Christie disappeared in December 1926 and appeared eleven days later providing no information on where she had been and claiming amnesia. Her empty car was found with her fur coat still in the car even though it was winter, and her husband and daughter had no idea where she went. The mystery surrounding these eleven days exists still today, and Marie Benedict puts her own spin, using a creative format, on where Agatha Christie went and why in this intriguing and clever take on what could have occurred.
- Yellow Wife by Sadeqa Johnson – In this relevant and heartbreaking tale, Pheby Delores Brown, a slave promised her freedom on her 18th birthday, instead finds herself living in an abhorrent slave jail known as Devil’s Half-Acre. Pheby was raised on a plantation in Charles City, Virginia where her mother’s role as the plantation’s medicine woman protected her from the cruel treatment other slaves experienced. When her mother passes away, Pheby loses her expected freedom and is subsequently “rescued” by the Devil’s Half-Acre’s jailer where she must ultimately determine what she is willing to give up to find freedom.
I would love to hear what you have read and loved in the historical fiction genre recently. Drop your titles in the comments below!
For more book recommendations and bookish thoughts, see Cindy’s monthly Buzz Reads column, her Thoughts from a Page Podcast or follow @ThoughtsFromaPage on Instagram. Find upcoming Conversations from a Page events here.
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