Back in January, I'd posted a gallery of 2016 debuts. I'd already been thinking about a new post focusing on authors' second historical novels, so here we go: below are a dozen sophomore works of historical fiction to be published in 2016. They're all by women, not by design, but I didn't come across relevant titles by men in a quick scan through forthcoming titles (let me know what I've missed). If these sound good, you can check out the authors' first efforts also.
Following upon An Appetite for Violets (see review) is a new culinary tale of psychological suspense. Set in early 19th-century Manchester, England, it's about a young wife, her cook, a failing marriage, and a desperate secret. Thomas Dunne, January 2016. The UK title is The Penny Heart.
An artistic young Scotswoman and a French soldier, childhood friends who had stayed in touch for years via letters, are reunited under difficult circumstances in WWI France. Brockmole's debut was the bestselling epistolary novel Letters from Skye (see my interview). Ballantine, May 2016.
Jessie Burton's The Miniaturist, set in 17th-century Amsterdam, was a major bestseller and Waterstones' Book of the Year for 2014. Her second novel moves ahead in time, to Spain of 1936 and London thirty years later, in a tale of two women, art, and deception. I have a galley, but the cover is different than the above, so the art may be changing. Ecco, July 2016.
DiSclafani's second book after The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls, which took place in the '30s, focuses on the vibrant society of 1950s Houston, Texas, and a complicated tale of women's friendship. Riverhead, May 2016.
A tale of glamour, privilege, secrets, and tragedy involving two outcasts, a British journalist and a rich American businessman's wife, who meet and reconnect on the Italian Riviera in the 1950s. Her first novel was The Book of Lost and Found (see review). Little, Brown, August 2016.
Four years after publication of The Snow Child, a magical tale set in 1920s Alaska (which I haven't read yet but which was highly recommended to me), comes Ivey's new novel about the people involved in an expedition deep into the central Alaskan wilderness in 1885. Little, Brown, August 2016.
Second in a duology about 7th-century Empress Wu, China's only female ruler, Randel's novel continues the story begun in The Moon in the Palace, following Mei and her fight to secure China's future – and against her royal lover's murderous wife. I loved book one and am eager to read the sequel. Sourcebooks Landmark, April 2016.
Rindell's next novel after The Other Typist, a novel of obsession and secrets in Prohibition-era NYC, stars three ambitious individuals aiming to succeed in the cutthroat world of book publishing in late '50s Greenwich Village. Putnam, April 2016.
Phyllis T. Smith's first novel I Am Livia (see my interview) was an enjoyable take on Livia Drusilla, wife of Emperor Augustus. Daughters of Palatine Hill, as you can assume from the title, remains in imperial Rome, recounting the intrigue-filled story of Selene, Cleopatra's daughter; Julia, Augustus' only child; and Livia, in her later life. Lake Union, February 2016.
The lives of two women -- a Jewish socialite who had abandoned her child, and the working-class Irish Catholic woman who took the baby in -- become intertwined in post-WWI coastal Massachusetts. Solomon's first novel was The Little Bride, literary fiction set in the 19th-century West. Viking, July 2016.
Continuing the poignant story of the Morgan family of Scranton, Pennsylvania, sixteen years after the first book (the excellent Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night), All Waiting Is Long, set in the '30s, recounts the complex relationship between Violet Morgan and her younger sister, Lily, in a world full of social strife. Akashic/Kaylie Jones, July 2016.
A young woman, newly arrived in small-town Illinois in 1874, is forced to accede to her mother's deceptive behavior while struggling to find a place for herself in an environment of political intrigue and the fight for women's rights. Volmer's first novel was Crown of Dust, set during the California Gold Rush. Soho, May 2016.