Sunday, May 11, 2008

A visual preview of the fall season

I know I haven't been here much lately. I've been working on an article (about historical fiction, naturally) that I want to get written and turned in before continuing with my book manuscript. However, I've set myself quite a challenge with this article, structure-wise, and it's been slow going.

In the meanwhile, I thought I'd give readers a heads-up on historical fiction titles forthcoming in the autumn, ones that I could find cover images for. Also, the HNS forthcoming books page has been updated through December, but since some large catalogs aren't posted yet (Random House, St. Martin's, Simon & Schuster, among others), it's still incomplete.

The covers link to the Amazon page for the books.

From the author of the bestselling Beneath a Marble Sky, a new novel about a group of castaways on a remote Pacific island during World War II. A wounded Japanese soldier grows closer to the American woman he had rescued. From NAL in September.

The first historical novel from two acclaimed historians. Set in Boston on the eve of the American Revolution, it "weaves together the fictional stories of a Scottish portrait painter and notorious libertine Stewart Jameson, and Fanny Easton, a fallen woman from one of Boston’s most powerful families." Spiegel & Grau, December.

The long-awaited final novel in Penman's trilogy about Henry II, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and their brood. I'll drop everything to read this one when it arrives. From Putnam in October.

Two fictional sisters, Maddalena and Chiaretta, left at the foundling hospital at Venice's Pieta become the pupils of Antonio Vivaldi. From Hyperion/Voice in September. Look for an interview with the author in May's HNR.

A reissue (with new cover) of one of Seton's lesser-known novels, originally published in 1950. Amanda Lawrence, an East Coast debutante, moves to the Arizona desert with her part-Apache husband, Dart, a mining engineer. She feels bored and neglected until a map to a lost mine surfaces. From Chicago Review Press in September.

The Spanish Civil War (and Spain in general) seems to be growing in popularity as a setting. In this first novel, a literary love story, the war is seen from the viewpoint of Guernica's Basque residents. From Bloomsbury USA in September. I generally love "landscape" covers, including this one.

The story of Martha Carrier, one of the first women hanged for witchcraft in Salem, and that of her daughter, Sarah, forced to stand alongside her mother as hysteria grips their village. The author is a tenth generation descendant of her heroine. I glom onto historical novels set in colonial America and got this ARC thanks to a Publishers Weekly giveaway. Out from Little, Brown in September.

From Berkley in October: a novel set in London, three days after Mary Stuart's execution. Lady Janet de Ros, Scottish wife of an English merchant, travels to Edinburgh to prove that Mary was innocent of murdering her husband, Lord Darnley. The author wrote The Spanish Bride, about Catherine of Aragon, under the pseudonym Laurien Gardner.

Decades after the mysterious disappearance of the Cenergite manuscript (called "Revelation of Fire") from a Moscow archives in 1938, two researchers reconstruct its history over the previous two centuries. From the Permanent Press in September.

Courtroom drama, based on a scandalous real-life London divorce case from 1864. From Harcourt in September; it appeared from HarperCollins Canada last month.

Literary saga about sixty years in the life of a Brahmin woman, left widowed at age eighteen in early twentieth-century India, and based on the life of the author's grandmother. Harcourt, September; already out in Canada.

A new biographical novel/literary invention from the author of novels about Josephine and Marie Antoinette. I'm not sure yet who this is about. Grand Duchess Tatiana is on the cover. She was the most photogenic among Nicholas and Alexandra's daughters, so that may or may not mean anything. St. Martin's, October.

More culinary romance from the author of The Wedding Officer; from Bantam in August. Set in London and Abyssinia in 1895.

I can take a wild guess at the subject based on the title. From Crown in late December, a tumultuous romp about a beautiful young woman in the Tudor court.


  1. Thanks for the preview Sarah. Very interesting about Sharon Penman's cover. I'd been waiting to see what Putnam did with it. It's not stellar by the looks of it, but it doesn't need to be because the writing will speak for itself. I've just had the cover roughs through for my October release The Time of Singing - Henry II era as well. We were playing with titles earlier and I suggested, very tongue in cheek as I thought 'The Virgin Mistress's Virgin Lover' but having seen the last entry, I'm not so sure!!!

  2. Another visit to your blog where I end up adding one, two or even ten books to the TBR list!

    I am pleased to see the cover for the Penman as well...makes it somehow more real, as if it is really going to happen!

  3. Anonymous5:55 AM

    Thanks, Sarah! I love some of these covers, in particular Burning Sea, Blindspot, Four Seasons, Toss of a Lemon (iffy title, though...) and Tsarina's Daughter.
    And only one decapitated heroine!

  4. The cover for Devil's Brood doesn't stand out for me either, but as you said, Elizabeth, it's the writing I'm interested in! It reminds me of the US paperback for Time and Chance, which said "generic medieval" to me. Still, I'd rather see that than a super trendy cover for her.

    I think The Time of Singing is a great title. (From the Song of Songs?)

    It's not clear from the cover image (maybe Amazon has an early version), but the authors of Blindspot are Jane Kamensky and Jill Lepore.

    I haven't seen many more decapitated heroines on fall books. Maybe that trend's on its way out (I hope so).

    This is all making me regret not going to BEA!

  5. Lots to look forward to here!

  6. BTW, the cover image for the Penman came from Putnam's fall catalog.

  7. Re decapitated - or half decapitated.
    I have it from a high up book buyer for a UK chain that decapitated is still selling big time as far as customers are concerned. Put a decapitated on the front and sales soar. Can't be more specific because I heard it with ref to an article that's still being written and where book sellers and chain store buyers were being asked. So headless ain't dead yet among the wider population.

  8. Sarah,

    I notice in the "Books Read in 2008" column that you included "The Little Book" by Selden Edwards. From what I've seen elsewhere, it appears to be delightful. Are you planning to review it for HNS or Booklist?

  9. I'm reading The Little Book now for HNS review, and am about half done. It is delightful, and surprising, and although I have an idea where the story is going, I'm by no means certain that's the path he'll take.

    I read the PW review yesterday, and it gives way too much away. The publicity material I got said very little about the storyline, which is really what's needed in the case of a book like this.

  10. Wow! Some great books coming out. Thanks so much for publishing the list. I am really looking forward to Tsarina's Daughter. Finally, has someone heard my cries? Could there be more Russian HF on the horizan? The The Heretic's Daughter looks great too, and the Secret letter.

  11. You're welcome!

    Like you I haven't been able to learn anything about The Tsarina's Daughter. I'm hoping the publisher's catalog will be available soon.

  12. Thanks so much for the preview. I've added some to my TBR. I am especially excited about the new John Shors! I loved Beneth A Marble Sky. I am also a big fan of Penman!

  13. Sarah, Thanks for the rundown. It looks like we will all be busy with our favorites. BTY...I received my first issue of the HNS periodical. I am so glad I bought a subscription.


  14. Hi Donna, glad to hear it and that you're enjoying the magazine. You should be getting the May issues soon too, if you don't have them already.

  15. Anonymous12:49 PM

    Sarah, Chris Humphreys here again. I am popping up all over!
    Being a Luddite (I wrote the first draft of my recent Vlad Dracula book with a fountain pen!) I am just entering the world of blogs, though I have been keeping a sort of journal at my website. But, after perusing your excellent one, C W Gortner's, and Carla Nayland's I realise I must catch up and focus on what I love... duh! Historical Fiction. Thanks for the update on what it takes to be a bestseller. Now I know, I'll set about it right away. What's my editor's name again?

  16. Hi Chris,

    I'm very impressed. I'm so unused to writing longhand that I can barely sign my name legibly (this isn't a good thing).

    Now if you'd said you'd written it in blood, I'd have gotten nervous.

    (Just linked your blog up to my sidebar!)