Thursday, October 30, 2014

My 1000th blog post! Ten new and upcoming historicals that caught my interest

This post marks 1000 entries on this blog. It's a big milestone, and not one I had been thinking about when I started it back in 2006.  For this entry, I thought I'd showcase just 10 new and forthcoming historical novels that caught my attention and which I look forward to reading in the coming year.  They're nearly all by women (well, 9 1/2 of them are by women), so I hope those looking for a more balanced gender mix will indulge me this time.

I'll be offering more previews in the next little while, and if you'd like an even longer list, check out the Historical Novel Society's forthcoming titles for 2015, which I've been busily updating.



I'd buy this one for the cover alone.  (I've been trying to figure out if it's a reworking of this painting by Joseph Stieler, from Ludwig I of Bavaria's Gallery of Beauties.) Berg's latest novel will take an intimate look at unconventional, mold-breaking 19th-century French writer George Sand, who was born with the name Aurore Dupin.  Ballantine, April 2015.



The saga of three sisters from a family of glassblowers in a small village in late 19th-century Germany, not a setting you see much of.  I bought this as a Kindle First title earlier this month. AmazonCrossing, November 2014.



It's about time a publisher saw the wisdom of republishing Valerie Fitzgerald's only novel, a classic epic of love and war set in India during the British Raj. It won the Historical Novel Prize in Memory of Georgette Heyer back in 1981, and back in 2010, I said it was a "prime candidate for reissue." It has a gorgeous new cover design, and since this is a massive (800pp) trade paperback, I hope they've enlarged the typeface.  Head of Zeus, January 2015 (the date keeps shifting, but this is what Amazon UK has now).



Here is another novel whose enticing cover says buy me, and Kearsley's name on a new novel has the same effect for many readers.  It's a romantic time-slip novel that moves between the 1700s and today, the two periods linked by the journal of a woman holding Jacobite beliefs.  Sourcebooks, April 2015.



Sarah Lark is the pseudonym for a German writer whose epic historical "landscape novels" are bestsellers in Spain.  I own three books in her New Zealand series and have always meant to get to them.  Her newest English-language translation takes place in tropical Jamaica in the early 18th century and features a young Englishwoman hoping to improve conditions for her sugar-planter husband's slaves.  Bastei Entertainment, October 2014 (ebook only).



To my mind, few writers combine a homey setting and bone-chilling creepiness like Rett MacPherson.  Her Torie O'Shea genealogical mysteries set in a present-day Missouri river town were auto-buys for me in hardcover.  Her newest book is a true historical about an old crime resurfacing in 1950s West Virginia.  It may be a departure from Torie, but I can't wait to read it. Word Posse, October 2014.



Michelle Moran always chooses intriguing subjects that few other writers have touched.  Her upcoming Rebel Queen looks at the famed military exploits of Lakshmi, the Rani of Jhansi, who fights to defend her people against the British in the mid-19th century.  Touchstone, March 2015.



The Siege Winter (US) or The Winter Siege (UK) whichever title you go by, what you need to know is that this is brilliant historical writer Diana Norman/Ariana Franklin's final novel, completed by her daughter after her death.  It's a standalone set in the English Fens in the 12th century, a setting Franklin has made her own many times over.  I'll be reading this soon for review.  It's out in the UK now from Bantam, but the US publisher is William Morrow, February 2015.



Because the author is Charles Todd (a mother-son writing team), we know this is a twisty historical crime novel, which makes the title a bit unsettling.  Which is great.  This prequel of sorts to Todd's long-running series brings readers back to 1914 and Scotland Yard detective Ian Rutledge's past, before the traumatic wartime service that will leave him a shell-shocked veteran.  I'm reading this now on Edelweiss.  William Morrow, January 2015.



This debut novel piqued my interest from the original Publishers Marketplace blurb since it promised to bring the traditional family saga (my favorite type of novel) to a less familiar setting. Moving from 19th-century China to 1960s Hawaii, this multi-generational novel features a Chinese-Hawaiian shipping family with a multitude of secrets. Harper, April 2015.

38 comments:

  1. Congratulations on this 1000th post. It takes a great deal of dedication and love of reading to get to this milestone. Thank you for your wonderful recommendations and heads up on titles I would surely miss.

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    1. Thanks, Carol, for your nice comments and for continuing to read the site!

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  2. Very impressive and congratulations! I have to say that Siege Winter looks wonderful, Susanna Kearsley is basically an auto-buy for me, and Zemindar looks terrific! I also picked up The Glassblower for free through the kindle first program. It is only available for one more day to prime users.

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    1. Good to know! I had decent luck with my first Kindle First choice (Portrait of a Girl) - they have some really good deals there. I have a very old paperback of Zemindar that I never picked up because the print was so tiny. I must be getting old. Thanks for your comments!

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  3. I had a few of these on my list already (The Siege Winter and Diamond Head, both of which I'm very interested in) but I haven't heard of The Glassblower! I love the cover, it feels Christmasy to me and it sounds like a fascinating book. Wonderful list! One of my most anticipated historicals coming up is The Price of Blood in February. I loved the first Emma of Normandy book Shadow on the Crown :)

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    1. The Glassblower does look very Christmasy, doesn't it? I have Price of Blood on my radar, too, since I also loved the first book.

      What a great name for a blog, btw. I've been having fun reading through all of the posts.

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  4. I'm very grateful for your blog and your thoughtful recommendations - here's to 1000 more! My copy of Winter Siege just arrived from the UK, and I'm desperate to finish up Halloween preparations so I can curl up with it. I'll be interested to hear what you think.

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    1. I was very tempted to order a copy of Winter Siege from the UK (in fact I requested it from the publisher, though alas, it didn't show up). But, as luck has it, I received it in the mail the other day as a review assignment. I was very pleased! I'll be getting to it after I finish my current read and will be curious what you think as well. Thanks for the good blog wishes, too!

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  5. Congratulations, Sarah! More fantastic titles for my TBR pile. Thanks for all you do on behalf of historical fiction fans everywhere.

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    1. Thanks for your kind comments, Regina/Marina - the blog has been a pleasure to write! Fingers crossed these books will be good ones.

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  6. Thank you for this, and a thousand others. Wow! That is a lot of reading, writing, and thinking, so gracefully managed.

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    1. Hi Jeannine, thanks very much!

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  7. congratulations on your 1000th, and thanks for this great preview, already so many great new books to read in 2015!!

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    1. Thanks, Emma! I've been finding many other TBR additions via your blog as well!

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  8. Thank you for your blog, Sarah. I've enjoyed it so much, and I've also enjoyed your Genreflecting titles as well. For a hist fic addict like me they are a no-brainer! Will you be writing another up-to-date volume? I know you wrote a section for a recent version of the general Genreflecting volume, but many more historical fiction books have been published since then--both traditional and self-published books.
    Also, you have Michelle Moran's book as coming out in Oct. 2014. According to Amazon US it's coming out in Mar. 2015, and April 2015 in the UK. Is it already out by any chance? Thanks.

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    1. Hi Kim, thanks for your comments on the blog and the big HF tomes as well! I don't have plans to write a third volume at the moment, but I really appreciate your interest in one. The reasons have to do with time (it took me 18 months to write each of the first two) and the increasing budget problems libraries of all types have been facing. Many potentially useful titles aren't being purchased because libraries just can't afford them; I don't know how much demand overall there would be for another of the same type at the moment. Also, there are many libraries out there who bought the first one and not the 2nd, maybe feeling it was sufficient (and maybe not realizing that the second book was mostly new material). So I think it would be hard to justify now, but I won't say it will never happen. Given time, the market may come back...

      Thanks for the correction on Rebel Queen, too! I had the year wrong and just fixed it to say 2015.

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  9. Congratulations on your milepost, that's a lot of book lovin' you've had and shared! The Torie O'Shea books were new to me and on my to-read list now. Thanks for the great post.

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    1. Thanks! The Torie novels are great, especially if you like genealogy and/or ghosts. I discovered them mid-series and read through all of the earlier ones one after another.

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  10. Congratulations on your very successful blog. I follow and rely on your recommendations. I read Zemindar a couple of years ago, a fairly tattered pb copy. This new one looks beautiful and I'm tempted to buy it for the keeper shelf and re-read it. A couple of other titles are already on my wish list, but I'm pleased to learn about the Charles Todd prequel. And I'm adding Diamond Head to my wish list. Thanks!

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    1. Hi Linda, and thanks! I'm 70% done with the Charles Todd prequel. It follows the pattern of many of his other books (him driving around interviewing people while he figures stuff out) but it's pretty good.

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  11. Congratulations!!! Thank you for bringing even more wonderful novels to my attention....my wish list just keeps growing!

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    1. Thanks, Colleen! I enjoy reading your reviews as well - it's great to have this small network of HF bloggers going :)

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  12. Congratulations, Sarah! 100 blog posts, brimming with superb content and filled with enjoyment for we readers -- extra kudos are in order for that. So, 100 kudos as well! Blog on, please ... ;)

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  13. I LOVED Zemindar! I'm so glad you're recognizing it. It and M.M. Kaye's Shadow of the Moon are two of my very favorites.

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    1. Hi Deborah, glad you enjoyed Zemindar so much! I'm embarrassed to say I haven't read Shadow of the Moon yet either -- although I liked her novel Trade Wind. By now it's time for a reread since I read it when I was a teenager and don't remember it as well as I should.

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  14. I've just read the "Siege Winter" (titled the "Winter Siege" in the UK). It's vintage Diana Norman in its themes and characterisation and again features Norman's great historical love, Henry II of England. Although delighted to get an unexpected bonus Norman story, I perhaps ungratefully felt that the shift from Norman's usual two main protagonists to two central pairs (whose stories eventually merge) rather muddled the story and diluted its impact, despite it being at times genuinely affecting. I look forward to your review and seeing what you make of it :)

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    1. Hi Annis, I'm not surprised you've read it already :) I just finished the other day and will save most of my thoughts for the review, which I'm nearly done with!, but I did enjoy it. I understand where you're coming from on the split narrative, though... I knew the threads would come together eventually, but it did take quite a while, and the story felt more focused once that happened. And it was nice to see Henry as a young boy in this Norman novel.

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  15. Congratulations on your 1,000th post Sarah!

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  16. Congratulations on your 1000th blog, Sarah! I'm a new follower of your blog, which quickly became my favorite blog. Thanks for the great list of new reads!

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    1. Thanks very much, Eleanor! I'm really pleased you're enjoying the blog. Your upcoming novel sounds great!

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    2. How very kind of you to mention my novel, Sarah! Thank you! Continued success to you!

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    3. Thanks, and likewise!

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  17. Great books on a stellar list. I recently read & loved THE DREAM LOVER. George Sand must've been endlessly entertaining. What a life she led! I won REBEL QUEEN in a book giveaway about a month ago. Looking forward to reading. Happy I found your blog. Can't wait to keep up with your posts. I've been exploring your lovely blog. Historical fiction is my favorite genre so I think I'm following the perfect blog! Thanks! :)

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    1. Hi Mary Evelyn, thanks for visiting and commenting - historical fiction is my favorite genre, too (obviously!). All of the books in this post have been published now, which makes things easier for those looking to read them :) Let me know what you think of Rebel Queen after you get the chance to read it!

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    2. I sure will. Is it great enough to jump to the forefront of my TBR? I mean, I know there's no way you could know everything on my TBR but if you think it's amazing & a must read, I'll certainly begin reading now.

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    3. I haven't read it yet so unfortunately can't say, but I hope to get to it soon!

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