I've also been working my way through a growing pile of ARCs sent to me by Booklist, many of them by debut historical novelists. Not that I'm complaining... my editor tends to pick better books for me than I do for myself, and odd as it seems, sometimes I like not having to choose what to read next. When left to my own devices, I can wander around my home library for hours, perplexed by this wrenching decision (and wasting precious reading time in the process).
Most of these books have been excellent, and I'll be reprinting a selection of the reviews on the blog after they appear in the magazine.
Besides all this, three of my reviews just went online at the Historical Novel Society's site. Judging by everything I've read so far in 2012, it's a very good year for historical fiction.
Overseas, by Beatriz Williams (Putnam, official pub date May 10th) is a gushy, epic love story that combines modern Wall Street, the popular WWI era, time travel, romance, mystery, and more. Did I mention the to-die-for Edwardian hero? It's great summer escapism. I'm afraid I got a bit gushy in my review in return... I couldn't help it.
Julie Cantrell's Into the Free (David C. Cook, Feb.) is a very different sort of historical novel. Gritty yet hopeful, it tells of the painful coming of age of a poverty-stricken young woman in Depression-era Mississippi. Although you'll find in the inspirational section of your local bookstore, there's no reason it should be limited to a Christian audience.
Finally, Anne Brear's To Take Her Pride (Knox Robinson, March), a saga of Victorian-era Yorkshire, was a delightful surprise. I got it as a Kindle freebie during the publisher's promotion weekend and meant to read just the beginning - I was in the middle of something else - and found myself wanting to return to the story. What began as a pleasant enough historical romance developed into much more. This was the first review I've ever done from an electronic copy, too.
The links above lead to my writeups. Both the Williams and Cantrell are debuts, and I've since bought several of Anne Brear's earlier novels (she used to write as Anne Whitfield).