Although I was thrown off balance by having to miss opening day (thanks to an allergic reaction to something I'd had the night before), I still managed to collect a decent number of historical ARCs. However, I took it pretty easy at the show, doing more sitting than networking, since I wasn't quite up to par by Thursday. Which means I didn't wait on many of the signing lines I intended to.
Instead, I spent a lot of time attending panels at the Uptown and Downtown stages and had a few meetings with publishers and publicists. Among the panels, I especially enjoyed "inside the mystery writer's studio" featuring five writers (all men!), including Brad Meltzer, whose new thriller The President's Shadow features an archivist and has a historical aspect to it. I've added it to my wishlist.
The historical novels I took back with me were a very diverse bunch, time- and setting-wise. Some are for me, and others will be sent out for review for the Historical Novels Review (I attended BEA as a member of the press, representing HNR).
Sourcebooks is putting a lot of effort into promoting Susan Higginbotham's Hanging Mary, which isn't out until next spring; it's the first US-set novel from an author better known for writing about medieval and Renaissance English history.
Captain in Calico, at the very top, is George MacDonald Fraser's first and previously unpublished novel, a pirate adventure about Captain Jack Rackham in the 18th-century Caribbean.
I started reading Emily Holleman's Cleopatra's Shadows on the plane home and regretfully had to set it aside temporarily since I have two other reviews due next week. It has two viewpoint characters: Arsinoe and Berenice, both siblings to Cleopatra whose stories are comparatively little-known.
I also like what they did with the cover art: like the book itself, it takes a familiar subject and looks at it from a new perspective. The original painting has graced many covers, including the one below, but with Cleopatra always at the center. The Holleman cover shifts the view slightly.
And below, the second pile of historical fiction. Two are speculative literary time-slips dealing with past lives, Susan Barker's The Incarnations and Gwendolyn Womack's The Memory Painter. Check out the book trailer for the latter; it's fantastic and does exactly what a trailer should do. It's beautifully filmed, moves quickly, and piqued my interest in the book.
One title that's missing: Geraldine Brooks' The Secret Chord, as I didn't have the stamina to wait in an hour-long signing line. I did, however, attend the discussion she had with Washington Post book reviewer Ron Charles at one of the BEA stages, and it was great, with insight into how she decided on and researched her upcoming novel of King David.
Look for reviews of many of the above titles later in 2015 or early in 2016.
Which fall books are you looking forward to the most?