Happy June, everyone. Where does the time go?
I've been blogging a lot about the "big" historical novels for late 2006, so I thought I'd focus this entry on some forthcoming titles from smaller presses. While these novels may not have the big marketing/publicity push that their counterparts from major publishers have, they look equally intriguing. These are all in my TBR pile - I got copies of these at BEA, one to send for review and one to keep for myself.
Devotion by Julia Oliver (University of Georgia Press, October) is a short biographical novel about Varina "Winnie" Davis, youngest child of Jefferson Davis, former President of the Confederacy. She's described on the back cover as a modern woman, an "ambivalent torchbearer of the South's Lost Cause" who didn't really buy into the celebrity that surrounded her. Great cover.
I got sucked into Yvette Christianse's Unconfessed (Other Press, November) based on the first few pages, but forced myself to put it down so that I could finish up my latest review book. It's narrated by Sila van den Kaap, slave of a Dutchman in the Cape Colony of South Africa in the 1820s, who details why she was condemned for murder and sentenced to a lengthy term on Robben Island. It's based on 19th century South African court records, and the author is a native South African now living in New York City.
Finally, Markus Orths' Catalina (Toby Press, October) recounts the true story of Catalina d'Erauso, a 17th century Spanish woman who disguised herself as her brother, left the convent (where she had become a nun in order to receive an education), and explored the world - traveling to New Spain, Chile, and Peru. Toby Press has published a small number of historical novels originally appearing in the German language, to their credit. This looks to be on the literary side, with a "warts and all" approach to its subject, so I'm not sure what my final impression will be, but it looks interesting enough.