This is the US appearance of Sarita Mandanna's debut novel, a historical epic that plays out amidst the undulating hills, coffee plantations, and picturesque local villages of Coorg in southern India in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I reviewed it from the UK edition in May. Which cover do you prefer? Grand Central, March.
This one sounds right up my alley: a multi-period novel about an Englishwoman determined to unravel the mysteries in her family's past. Per her website, the author based Larkswood House on a place in the Hampshire countryside that was the setting for two devastating tragedies, years apart. Set in the late 19th century and in the pre-WWII years. Dutton, May.
Michelle Moran moves from the ancient world to the French Revolution with her biographical novel about a strong-willed woman whose talent for creating wax masks helped save her life. Great expression on the part of the cover model... I wouldn't want to mess with her. Crown, February.
Unlike her previous meaty historical epics, this is a slim yet haunting time-slip set in the French Pyrenees in the 1920s. An Englishman still troubled by his brother's death in the Great War hopes the fresh, clean air of southern France will help him recuperate. Then he meets a mysterious young woman who understands all too well his feelings of loss. Putnam, February.
Second in the series following The Witch Doctor's Wife (see my earlier review), The Headhunter's Daughter is set deep in the Belgian Congo. In 1945, a Belgian infant girl found abandoned in the jungle is raised by a Bashilele tribesman. Thirteen years later, American missionary Amanda Brown begins investigating the truth behind the story. This leads everyone involved into danger. Avon A, January.
Great title, great cover. No surprise this one's set in France - during both World Wars and in the present day, to be specific. When an American academic discovers a box of decades-old artifacts in the office he's renting in Paris, he begins imagining what its owner's life may have been like. The author, who grew up in Paris, presents a fictionalized story about the real-life Louise Brunet. Reagan Arthur (Little, Brown), February; also Headline Review, Sept 2011.
Edinburgh-based novelist Sheridan's latest takes place against the backdrop of the Arabian Peninsula in 1833, as a young Abyssinian girl finds herself sold to a British naval officer and fortune seeker. Historical adventure with a touch of romance in an exotic land. Avon UK, February.
The deep blue waters of Lake Superior connect three distinct stories across the centuries: that of an Ojibwe woman in 1622, a Norwegian fishing couple in the early 20th century, and a female bar owner in the present day. A debut novel of literary fiction for this Minnesota-based writer. Milkweed Editions, May.
Andrew Taylor's latest (previously out in the UK) is literary suspense set in Cambridge, England, in 1786. A bookseller hired to catalog a wealthy family's extensive library is drawn into a mystery involving a mentally incapacitated man, the mysterious death of a young woman, a secret society, and quite possibly a ghost or two. Hyperion, January.
Although two years have passed since Alfred Dreyfus's conviction as a traitorous spy and subsequent deportation from France, one family believes him innocent. They hire civil lawyer François Dubon to prove their case. A tense and evocative thriller set in late 19th-century Paris. Crown, January; published by Doubleday Canada in August 2010.
Vreeland's first American-set novel brings to light a woman whose artistic talent was concealed behind the name of her successful male employer: Clara Driscoll, the lead designer in Louis Comfort Tiffany's New York art studio at the turn of the 20th century. I look forward to learning more about the art of stained glass and seeing the Gilded Age through Clara's eyes. Viking, January.