Thursday, December 23, 2010

A visual preview of the spring season, part two

As usual I'm a little late getting these posted, but here are some more upcoming titles to look forward to.  The good thing is you won't have long to wait for them, especially if you find any monetary gifts in your Christmas stocking.

This is the US appearance of Sarita Mandanna's debut novel, a historical epic that plays out amidst the undulating hills, coffee plantations, and picturesque local villages of Coorg in southern India in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  I reviewed it from the UK edition in May.  Which cover do you prefer?  Grand Central, March.

This one sounds right up my alley: a multi-period novel about an Englishwoman determined to unravel the mysteries in her family's past.  Per her website, the author based Larkswood House on a place in the Hampshire countryside that was the setting for two devastating tragedies, years apart.  Set in the late 19th century and in the pre-WWII years.  Dutton, May.

Michelle Moran moves from the ancient world to the French Revolution with her biographical novel about a strong-willed woman whose talent for creating wax masks helped save her life.  Great expression on the part of the cover model... I wouldn't want to mess with her.  Crown, February.

Unlike her previous meaty historical epics, this is a slim yet haunting time-slip set in the French Pyrenees in the 1920s.  An Englishman still troubled by his brother's death in the Great War hopes the fresh, clean air of southern France will help him recuperate. Then he meets a mysterious young woman who understands all too well his feelings of loss.  Putnam, February.

Second in the series following The Witch Doctor's Wife (see my earlier review), The Headhunter's Daughter is set deep in the Belgian Congo.  In 1945, a Belgian infant girl found abandoned in the jungle is raised by a Bashilele tribesman.  Thirteen years later, American missionary Amanda Brown begins investigating the truth behind the story.  This leads everyone involved into danger.  Avon A, January.

Great title, great cover.  No surprise this one's set in France - during both World Wars and in the present day, to be specific.  When an American academic discovers a box of decades-old artifacts in the office he's renting in Paris, he begins imagining what its owner's life may have been like. The author, who grew up in Paris, presents a fictionalized story about the real-life Louise Brunet.  Reagan Arthur (Little, Brown), February; also Headline Review, Sept 2011.

Edinburgh-based novelist Sheridan's latest takes place against the backdrop of the Arabian Peninsula in 1833, as a young Abyssinian girl finds herself sold to a British naval officer and fortune seeker.  Historical adventure with a touch of romance in an exotic land.  Avon UK, February.

The deep blue waters of Lake Superior connect three distinct stories across the centuries: that of an Ojibwe woman in 1622, a Norwegian fishing couple in the early 20th century, and a female bar owner in the present day.  A debut novel of literary fiction for this Minnesota-based writer.  Milkweed Editions, May.

Andrew Taylor's latest (previously out in the UK) is literary suspense set in Cambridge, England, in 1786. A bookseller hired to catalog a wealthy family's extensive library is drawn into a mystery involving a mentally incapacitated man, the mysterious death of a young woman, a secret society, and quite possibly a ghost or two.  Hyperion, January.

Although two years have passed since Alfred Dreyfus's conviction as a traitorous spy and subsequent deportation from France, one family believes him innocent.  They hire civil lawyer François Dubon to prove their case.  A tense and evocative thriller set in late 19th-century Paris.  Crown, January; published by Doubleday Canada in August 2010.

Vreeland's first American-set novel brings to light a woman whose artistic talent was concealed behind the name of her successful male employer: Clara Driscoll, the lead designer in Louis Comfort Tiffany's New York art studio at the turn of the 20th century.  I look forward to learning more about the art of stained glass and seeing the Gilded Age through Clara's eyes.  Viking, January.


  1. This is a beautiful collection of books! Larkswood and Madame Tussauds would be my top choices. I also think the cover of Larkswood is gorgeous.

  2. They all look and sound great! I didn't realize the Kate Mosse book wasn't already out in the U.S., I've had it since 2009...although I haven't read it yet.

  3. I am definately reading the new Michelle Moran book and I am super excited for Clara and Mr. Tiffany - I'm a huge fan of all things Tiffany.

  4. Anonymous9:28 PM

    Hi Sarah, this is my first time commenting - I love your blog and have found so many great books through your reviews and links! My grandma and I both owe you a huge thanks.

    Anyway, I was wondering if you could type out the name of the author for "The Long-Shining Waters." I can see Danielle, but then I can't make out the last name. I checked on this list of upcoming historical fiction titles, but couldn't find it there.

    Aside from that one, I'm most looking forward to The Headhunter's Daughter and Tiger Hills. I'm glad non-traditional settings like Africa and India are beginning to show up more in historical fiction. Britain and America have long been disproportionately represented. (By the way, I like the US cover for Tiger Hills best.)


  5. Hi Melissa, thanks for taking the time to comment - I'm glad to hear you and your grandmother enjoy the site! My apologies on forgetting to retype the name - the author of The Long-Shining Waters is Danielle Sosin. She has a website here, with more details (I love the background color of the cover). I also need to add it to the HNS page.

    I, too, would love to see more out-of-the-way settings in historical fiction, as I don't like reading about the same places over and over.

  6. I agree that these are gorgeous covers - and not a headless one among them, did anyone else notice? (Unless the silhouette on the Vreeland counts, as you can't see her face.)

    I'm not sure why Kate Mosse's book has taken so long to come out in the US. It's been a while since Sepulchre.

  7. Another great collection!

    I'll probably be going for the two Taylors - Andrew Taylor's "Academy of Ghosts" and Kate Taylor's "A Man in Uniform", although Michelle's novel about Madame Tussaud looks fascinating.

    My "Tiger Hills" cover vote goes to the UK version- much sharper and cleaner in appearance and I love the colours. The US version looks a bit muddy to me. However these things are subjective, and I see someone else preferred the US version :)

    Happy Holidays, Sarah! Thanks for all the work you put in to bring these wonderful novels to our attention.

  8. Definitely want to read Clara and Mr. Tiffany after attending the exhibit about the Tiffany Girls at the NY Historical Society a few years back.

  9. So many goodies! The Dreyfus and Pyrenees novels will be up first for me, though I am cautiously curious about Myers's book. The setting is an immediate drawcard for me, but I need to try to find out a bit more about the main protagonist. I have not read Myers before, and missionaries in Africa can be a tricky subject.

    Wishing you a very Happy Christmas, Sarah! Thank you for the admirable and inspiring work you do on your blog and all the wonderful book discussions, which have been so rewarding for me :-)

  10. Happy holidays, everyone! And thank you so much for reading the blog and leaving comments - I enjoy all of the discussion.

    Annis, I prefer the UK cover of Tiger Hills also - the colors are beautiful, plus it has a mystery and grandeur about it that comes across in the novel, too. I've got the Andrew Taylor here and the Kate Taylor on the way so am all set there :)

    Elizabeth - sounds like an excellent exhibit. If I lived in NYC I'd have been there.

    Danielle, I'd be interested to hear what you think of the Myers if you read it. She was a new author for me (I'd never read her other series). Her main character isn't holier-than-thou, and the first book had a humorous touch - some of it quirky, some of it very dark. She grew up in the Belgian Congo, the daughter of missionaries, and I understand the setting reflects her experiences.

  11. Thank you for the interesting information about the author's background, Sarah. My hesitation has to do with the question of alien values and how they, when mixed with medicine, education, and evangelisation, impact another culture. Not being holier-than-thou is a good start, though, and as I love meeting-of-cultures stories, I am too curious not to pick this one up.

    I hope you are enjoying a beautiful Christmas Day!