Saturday, May 14, 2011

Historical fiction picks at BEA

(This post was updated on May 20th with many new details courtesy of the Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews BEA preview publications.)

In just over a week, I'll be heading to BEA in New York for four days of networking and book chat, presentations, walking, dining, sightseeing, and shopping.  Anyone else going?  I'll also be heading to the book blogger con on Friday the 27th, as one of five Sara(h)s on their roster.

It's taken me a while to draw up a list of signings/galley grabbing that may interest historical fiction readers. The online schedule isn't as user-friendly as usual; you have to click around a while to find out what the authors will be signing and what their books are about.  So I may have missed some important titles... please let me know in the comments if you spotted something I didn't!  It doesn't appear to be a big year for historicals at BEA, but there will be some exciting-sounding books on offer.

Galleys to Grab

Doubleday (booth 4617)
Erin Morgenstern, Night Circus - described by PW as having "19th-century magicians, star-crossed lovers, and a most unusual circus."

Simon & Schuster (booth 3652-53)
Alma Katsu, The Taker - a combo of historical novel and supernatural epic spanning over a century in rural Maine.  Are you spotting a trend yet?  Historical paranormal is hot.  Well, anything paranormal is hot.

Alice Hoffman, The Dovekeepers - novel, based on the true events of Masada, which is being referred to as the author's Beloved.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (booth 3438)
Umberto Eco, The Prague Cemetery - about conspiracy theories in 19th-century Europe.

HarperCollins (booth 3338-39)
Deborah Lawrenson, The Lantern - a modern gothic set in the south of France, and PW says there will be galleys everywhere.  Not historical, but anything remotely Thirteenth Tale/Kate Morton-ish is good enough for me.

Random House (booth 4617)
Charles Frazier, Nightwoods - literary fiction set in 1960s small town North Carolina.

Macmillan (booth 3352)
Yangzom Brauen, Across Many Mountains - an epic of three generations of Tibetan women in the mid-20th century.  Per her website, the author is an actress in theatre and film.  Giveaway at 9am on Wednesday 5/25.

Stella Tillyard, Tides of War - epic of Regency England, at 9am on Wednesday 5/25

Steve Sem-Sandberg, The Emperor of Lies - novel of the Lodz ghetto, at 10am on Wednesday 5/25

Spiegel & Grau (booth 4420)
Ellen Feldman, Next to Love - multi-generational epic about three young women and the men they're involved with, set during WWII.


Tuesday, May 24th, 11-12, table 13
Alma Katsu, The Taker - see description above

Tuesday, 11-11:30, table 26
James R. Benn, A Mortal Terror, latest in his Billy Boyle WWII mystery series

Tuesday, 11:30-noon, table 4
Evan Fallenberg, When We Danced On Water - a famous Jewish choreographer, now aged, meets a younger woman whose presence brings back suppressed memories from his past.

Tuesday, 12-12:30, table 16
Thanhha Lai, Inside Out and Back Again - Vietnam-era YA fiction.

Tuesday, 1-2pm, table 24
Luis Alberto Urrea, Queen of America - sequel to the excellent The Hummingbird's Daughter, which is enough to make me want it.  Also a galley giveaway on Wednesday morning at booth 3620 (Hachette).

Tuesday, 2pm, as part of "Feminism in Fiction Today" panel
Julie Otsuka, The Buddha in the Attic - Japanese mail-order brides in 1900s San Francisco

Tuesday, 4-5pm, table 5
Ilsa J. Bick, Draw the Dark - WWII comes to small-town Wisconsin.

Wednesday, May 25, 10-10:30, table not given in schedule.
Maria Dahvana Headley, Queen of Kings - a supernatural version of Cleopatra's life.

Wednesday, 10-10:30, table 4
Barbara Reichmuth Geisler, In Vain - a medieval mystery, part of the Averillan Chronicles series.

Wednesday, 10-10:45, booth 4638
Deanna Raybourn, The Dark Enquiry - the latest in her Julia Grey mystery series.

Wednesday, 11:30-noon, table 18
Andi Rosenthal, The Bookseller's Sonnets - historical mystery spanning the Tudor era, Holocaust, and present day.

Wednesday, 12-12:30pm, table 22
Talia Carner, Jerusalem Maiden - a young woman in early 20th-c Jerusalem must choose between her religion and her dream.

Wednesday, 1pm, booth 4420 (Random House)
Esmeralda Santiago, Conquistadora - saga of 19th century Puerto Rico

Wednesday, 2:30pm, booth 3252 (Penguin)
Amor Towles, Rules of Civility - social mores in the 1930s

Wednesday, 3pm, booth 4420 (Random House)
Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus, details above.

Wednesday, 3-3:30pm, table 6
M.L. Malcolm, Heart of Deception - novel of espionage, and a father's love for his daughter, set in 1942.
A note from M.L:  As a thank you for all the support I’ve received from readers in the Blogsphere this year, I’d like to treat the first 25 Book Bloggers who come by my signing on Wednesday to a glass of wine at the Book Blogger Convention reception.  All they have to do is come by Table 6 at 3:00 on Wednesday, pick up a signed copy of “Heart of Deception,” give me a card with the name of their blog on it, and I’ll give them a ticket for a free libation when they come to the reception on Thursday.

Other Featured Books

These were in the Books@BEA catalog, which means they'll be featured at the show in some way - whether galleys will be available, I'm not sure, but I'll be asking about them (and others too).

Bloomsbury (booth 3358)
Victor Davis Hanson, The End of Sparta - epic of war and freedom in ancient Greece.

Farrar Straus & Giroux (booth 3352)
Amitav Ghosh, River of Smoke - 2nd in historical saga set against the Opium Wars in China and Mauritius in the mid-19th century.
Steve Sam-Sandberg, The Emperor of Lies - an international award-winning novel about the Jewish ghetto of Lodz during WWII, and its authoritarian ruler.

Henry Holt (booth 3352)
Stella Tillyard, Tides of War - novel of the Peninsular War, by a noted historian (Aristocrats).

Hyperion/Voice (booth 3324)
Margaret Leroy, The Soldier's Wife - WWII in Guernsey

Other Press (booth 4421)
John Thompson, The Reservoir - mystery set in Reconstruction-era Virginia.

Peachtree (booth 2955)
Krista Russell, Chasing the Nightbird - YA, historical shipboard adventure

Penguin (booth 3253)
Maile Maloy, The Apothecary - YA, Russian spies in 1952 London

Simon & Schuster (booth 3652-53)
Ursula Hegi, Children and Fire - lead-up to WWII in Germany


  1. Thanks for this liST! I'm not going to BEA, but it alerts me to some of the great-looking upcoming releases in the historical fiction genre.

  2. I'm unfortunately not going to BEA this year (I had to make a choice between BEA and HNS - I chose HNS!) Thanks for the heads up!

  3. Hi Susie, glad you liked the list! Most of these books will be out in the fall... a few of them, like Queen of Kings, are out now.

    Heather, I think you made the right choice! Normally I see many more historical novels being promoted at BEA. I'm sure there will be others that I haven't listed here - I'll be reporting back after it's over.

  4. Wow, Night Circus and The Taker sound very promising. Thanks for this list!

  5. Isn't Ami McKay's new book going to be featured at BEA too? I think it's historical fiction.

    Have fun in NYC -- I wish I was going to be there again!

  6. Galleys of Night Circus and The Taker have already been distributed to Goodreads folks, and the reviews are very positive.

    I hope it's true that Ami McKay's upcoming book will be featured! I'll ask about it. It's not in the official program, not yet, but I enjoyed The Birth House. Glad I got to meet you last year, Avis!

  7. Great list of books - can't be there but I appreciate being alerted to so many good books. Deborah Lawrenson (The Lantern)has a fabulous blog about the setting for her book with beautiful pictures, well worth checking out.

  8. Thank you for the referral to Deborah Lawrenson's blog, Deborah. I wasn't aware of it and have been enjoying myself scanning the entries and the gorgeous photos of Provence. I hadn't realized she'd written two other books - must check them out.

    Alma, thanks for stopping by! I'll look forward to seeing you at BEA and the blogger con.

  9. Hi, Sarah. :)

    I envy your trip -- so many good reads and things to see! Next weekend we are having the Connecticut Book Festival. Unfortunately, I am working all day on Saturday and will miss Wendell Minor, Wally Lamb, and a mystery panel. It's killing me! I will get to go on Sunday, but not as many things that interest me are happening then. :(

  10. Hi Silsbee,

    I just found the website on the CT Book Festival. These large book events are among the things I miss about living there! Coincidentally, my mother teaches at UConn Hartford campus, so I know exactly where it is. I saw Chandra Prasad is appearing Sunday. Her On Borrowed Wings is very good if you haven't read it; it takes place at Yale in the '30s. The program looks great. Have a good time!

  11. Sarah:
    I would love to go. Next year. Thanks for the list. The Umberto Eco's book and Alice Hoffman's Masada sound wonderful. But I am also a big fan of V.D. Hanson. Have fun.

  12. Thanks, Aida, I'll try! I'm probably crazy for heading there two weeks before San Diego, but BEA is a must-attend conference for me. I hadn't recognized Hanson's name before, but now that I'm browsing his website, many titles look familiar. The Hoffman is a high-priority title for me too.

  13. Looks as if multi-generational is in vogue as well as the paranormal :) The Tibetan one sounds interesting.

    Victor Davis Hanson is a noted classicist and military historian. He's written several non-fiction titles about the ancient world, but I think "End of Sparta" may be his first venture into fiction, though wouldn't like to swear to that.

  14. Oh Sarah, I didn't know you were going this year! I am too and am very excited. I'm still working on my schedule and book picks. I'm leaving for NYC on Thursday so I can get some sightseeing in before. It will be my first time to NYC as well as the BEA.

    I just did a post for the BEA with links to tips from bloggers who were there last year:

    Lets get together while were there.

  15. I feel like I've stumbled onto the end of the rainbow here. So much wonderful information.

  16. Multi-generational stories always appeal to me, so if they're in vogue, so much the better. I think you're right about Hanson's book (I can't find any previous novels) but the PR material doesn't say "debut" and you'd think it would.

    Sounds good, Teddy. We'll have to get together at some point. I'm there starting Monday afternoon. You're going to have a great time.

    Thanks, Deb, and I see you have a historical fiction-related blog too. I'll go and sign up as a follower.

  17. Thank you, Sarah! I am but a babe, but working hard. I'll list you in my blogroll as well. I have a feeling those who haven't found you yet will be happy when they do.

  18. Man, how did I miss hearing about the CT book festival?! I even have their site bookmarked and work like 10 minutes from there. Maybe there is a chance I can squeeze it in tomorrow!

  19. What a great list! I'm excited for the Night Circus, The Taker and the Dovekeepers as well!

  20. As a writer, I can say: posts like this are what make writers grateful for bloggers!