Friday, May 10, 2013

Historical fiction picks at BEA 2013

Update:  This post was last updated May 25th with new info from Library Journal's fabulous BEA Galley and Signing Guide, compiled by Barbara Hoffert.  Previously updated May 22nd with Random House's BEA schedule and earlier with Kirkus Reviews' BEA Issue and Publishers Lunch's Buzz Books 2013 guide.  New entries are marked with ~new~. 

Here we are with our annual look at the historical novels being promoted at BEA in a few weeks.  There are a lot of them for 2013 this isn't always the case and I'm writing this post with deep envy because I won't be there myself (sob!).  I'll be attending HNS and ALA, though, and figured two conferences in the same month was my limit.  I hope the publishers will be saving some of these galleys for the library crowd in late June...

This post will be updated when new listings are posted at the BEA site and if/when Library Journal's galley guide is released, so watch this space.  For now, I'm basing my listings on the BEA Show Planner, which is its usual cumbersome self, and the "galleys to grab" articles and ads in the 4/29 Publishers Weekly.  I've added blurbs, booth numbers, stuff like that.  For authors with historical novels at BEA who I neglected to include, please leave a note in the comments or drop me an email.  As always, I recommend cross-checking these dates/times with the BEA site or your program book before hitting the show to avoid possible disappointment.

For those of you who will be at BEA, have a great time!

~Galleys to Grab~

Algonquin (booth 839)
Lee Smith, Guests on Earth - literary fiction about a young woman in a '30s North Carolina mental institution, where she meets Zelda Fitzgerald. Oct.

Bellevue Literary Press (booth 1105B)
Melissa Pritchard, Palmerino - literary fiction about Vernon Lee (nee Violet Paget), supernatural fiction writer, set a century ago and today.  Jan '14.

Counterpoint (booth 1335)
Lily Brett, Lola Bensky - an  Australian rock journalist hits the London music scene in 1967.  Sept.

Farrar Straus & Giroux (booth 1557)
Nicola Griffith, Hild - literary biographical novel of St. Hilda of Whitby in 7th-century England, from a multi-award winning writer.  Nov.

~new~ Grove/Atlantic (booth 1321)
Robert Olen Butler, The Star of Istanbul - "a Christopher Marlowe Cobb thriller" (in the same series as his The Hot Country) set during WWI.

Hachette (booth 1829)
Hannah Kent, Burial Rites - literary fiction surrounding a woman accused of murder in 1829 Iceland; debut novel based on a true story.  Little, Brown, Sept.
Kathleen Kent, The Outcasts - a woman on the run in the 19th-century West, from the author of The Heretic's Daughter and The Traitor's Wife/The Wolves of Andover.  Little, Brown, Oct.
~new~ Leila Meacham, Somerset - multigenerational saga set in Texas, prequel to Roses.  Grand Central, Nov.
~new~ Kim Stanley Robinson, Shaman - a young man's coming of age and a tale of prehistoric life 30,000 years ago.  Orbit, Sept.
C.J. Sansom, Dominion - alternate history set in the 1950s in which the Nazis rule Britain. Mulholland, Jan '14.
~new~ Rachel Urquhart, The Visionist - a teenage girl seeks refuge in a Shaker community in the 1840s.  Little Brown, Jan '14.
~new~ Daniel Woodrell, The Maid's Version - a deadly dance hall fire in 1929 Missouri and its long-term repercussions. Little, Brown, Sept.

Harlequin (booth 1238-39)
Loretta Nyhan and Suzanne Hayes, I'll Be Seeing You - epistolary WWII novel. May.
Shona Patel, Teatime for the Firefly - love story set amid India's tea plantations in the '40s.  Sept.

HarperCollins (booth 2038-39)
Amy Tan, The Valley of Amazement - three generations of women, from 19th-century San Francisco to turn-of-the-century Shanghai and after.  Tan will be speaking at the Library Journal Day of Dialog.  Nov.
Simon Van Booy, The Illusion of Separateness - one man's act of mercy during WWII changes many lives.  June.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (booth 1657)
Oliver Poetzsch, The Ludwig Conspiracy - modern mystery surrounding Ludwig, the late 19th-century "mad king" of Bavaria. Sept.

Milkweed (booth 1333A)
Larry Watson, Let Him Go - literary fiction set in 1952 North Dakota; a  retired sheriff and his wife go after their missing grandson.  Sept.

Other Press (booth 2839) - galleys are limited, so go early!
~new~ John Boyne, This House is Haunted - classic 19th-century English ghost story.  Oct.
~new~  John Milliken Thompson, Love and Lament - literary fiction set in post-Civil War North Carolina. See details on his signing below.
~new~ Sam Toperoff, Lillian and Dash - imagines the 30-year affair between Dashiell Hammett and Lillian Hellman.  July.

Overlook (booth 1509)
Andrew Rosenheim, The Little Tokyo Informant -WWII thriller set just before Pearl Harbor.  Sept.

Penguin (booth 1520-21)
~new~ Jillian Cantor, Margot - literary alternate history imagining that Anne Frank's sister, Margot, survived the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp and came to America.  Giveaways Thursday and Friday at 2pm.
~new~ Elizabeth Gilbert, The Signature of All Things - a sweeping epic about a female botanist in 19th-century America and beyond.  Viking, Oct.  She will be doing a BEA signing (Friday at 2pm).  Giveaways on Thursday and Friday mornings at 9am.
Sarah Jio, Morning Glory - dual-period mystery set in a Seattle houseboat community in 1959 and today.  Plume, Dec. 

Random House (booth 2739) - Most of these authors will be signing at BEA.  See section below for times.
Jo Baker, Longbourn - a reimagining of Pride & Prejudice from the servants' viewpoint. Knopf, Oct.
Rhidian Brook, The Aftermath - literary fiction about British-German relations set in a defeated Hamburg, Germany, after WWII.  Knopf, Sept.
Jamie Ford, Songs of Willow Frost - mother-son story in 1920s & Depression-era Seattle.  Ballantine, Sept. 
~new~ Diana Gabaldon, pre-pub booklet with first seven chapters of Written in My Own Heart's Blood.  Giveaway June 1st.
Nancy Horan, Under the Wide and Starry Sky - Robert Louis Stevenson and his wife, from the author of the bestselling Loving Frank.  Ballantine, Jan '14.
~new~ Jonathan Lethem, Dissident Gardens - "an epic yet intimate family saga about three generations of all-American radicals."  Doubleday, Sept.
Colum McCann, Transatlantic - three transatlantic crossings, spanning two centuries, linked by three women.  Random House, June.
~new~ Hanya Yanigihara, The People in the Trees - anthropological adventure and its tragic aftereffects as cultures clash in 1950s Micronesia.  Doubleday, Sept.

St. Martin's Press (booth 1556-57)
~new~ Diane Chamberlain, Necessary Lies - on a small North Carolina tobacco farm 50 years ago, long-held family secrets begin to erupt.  Sept.

Simon & Schuster (booth 2638-39)
Lynn Cullen, Mrs. Poe - on Frances Osgood's affair with the famed writer.  Gallery, Sept.
Thomas Keneally, Daughters of Mars - Australian nurses in WWI Europe.  Atria, Sept.
Kate Manning, My Notorious Life - a controversial midwife in 19th-century NYC.  Scribner, Sept.
~new~ Jayne Anne Phillips, Quiet Dell - literary crime novel about a Depression-era con man that preyed on widows, based on a true story. Scribner, Oct.
Indu Sundaresan, The Mountain of Light - epic novel about diamond hunters in Victorian India.  Atria, Oct.

Soho (booth 2847)
~new~ James R. Benn, A Blind Goddess - latest in the WWII mystery series featuring Billy Boyle. Sept.

Sourcebooks (booth 829)
Charles Belfoure, The Paris Architect - an architect reluctantly helps hide Jews from the Nazis in occupied Paris.  Oct. ~new~ Galley giveaway time: Thursday at noon.

W.W. Norton (booth 1920-21)
P.S. Duffy, The Cartographer of No Man's Land - literary fiction about a family divided by WWI, set in Nova Scotia and France.  Liveright, Nov.
~new~ Charles Palliser, Rustication - Gothic epic set in 1863 England.  Nov.

~Author Signings~

Note: Table signings are in the traditional autographing area in the back of the exhibit hall.  Booth signings are at the publishers' booths in the main exhibit area.

Thursday, May 30th

Kathleen Kent, The Outcasts - see above under Little, Brown. (table 1)
~new~ Nancy Horan, Under the Wide and Starry Sky - see above under Random House. (booth 2739)

Noon-12:30pm (table 15)
Simon Van Booy, The Illusion of Separateness - see above under HarperCollins.

~new~ Noon-1pm (booth 2739)
Dennis McFarland, Nostalgia - literary Civil War novel.

1-1:30pm (table 2)
Annapurna Potluri, The Grammarian - a French linguist travels to 1911 India and runs into a cultural divide.  See my review.  Feb '13 (already out).

1-2pm (table 14)
Sarah Jio, The Last Camellia - dual-period mystery (WWII and modern day) surrounding a rare flower found on an English country estate.  Plume, May.

~new~1:30pm-2:30pm (booth 2739)
Jonathan Lethem, Dissident Gardens - see above under Random House.

~new~ 3-3:30pm (booth 2893)
John MillikenThompson, Love and Lament - literary fiction set in post-Civil War North Carolina.  Other Press, June.

3-4pm (table 7)
Shona Patel, Teatime for the Firefly - see above under Harlequin.

Friday, May 31st

9-10am (booth 2739, Random House)
~new~ Rhidian Brook, The Aftermath - see above under Random House.
~new~ Jo Baker, Longbourn - ditto

10-10:30am (table 15)
Philipp Meyer, The Son -"An epic, multigenerational saga of power, blood, and land" beginning in 19th-century Texas.  Ecco, June.

~new~ Shona Patel, Teatime for the Firefly - see above under Harlequin. (booth 1238-39, Harlequin)
~new~ Jamie Ford, Songs of Willow Frost - see above under Random House.  (booth 2739, Random House)

10:30am (booth 839, Algonquin)
Lee Smith, Guests on Earth - see above.

Elizabeth Wein, Rose Under Fire - the companion novel to Code Name Verity.  Not just for YAs.  Disney-Hyperion, Sept. (table 4)
Maile Meloy, The Apprentices, sequel to The Apothecary, which was YA fiction set in Cold War London.  Putnam, June. (table 21)

11:30am (booth 1321, Grove/Atlantic)
Kent Wascom, The Blood of Heaven - literary epic of the southern frontier in the early 19th century.  June.

1-2pm (table 3)
Larry Watson, Let Him Go - see above under Milkweed.

1:45pm (booth 2551)
~new~ Lyndsay Faye, The Gods of Gotham and Seven for a Secret, both from Putnam, at the Mystery Writers of America booth.

Jack Gantos, From Norvelt to Nowhere - sequel to his Newbery-winning Dead End in Norvelt.  YA.  FSG, Sept.  (table 23)
Kirby Larson, Duke - WWII story about a boy and his dog. Ages 8 and up. Scholastic, Aug. (table 16)
~new~ Elizabeth Gilbert, The Signature of All Things - at Penguin booth (1520-21).

~new~ Nicola Griffith, Hild - see above under Farrar Straus & Giroux.  (booth 1557, FSG)

2:30-3pm (table 9)
M.J. Rose, Seduction - multi-period suspense involving Victor Hugo's lost journal.  MIRA, May.

3pm-4pm (table 16)
Eliot Pattison, Bone Rattler - historical mystery set aboard a prison ship bound for the American colonies. Counterpoint (this has been out for a while; I wonder if this is the correct title).

Saturday, June 1st

10am (booth 1509, Algonquin)
Peter Quinn, Dry Bones - literary WWII thriller about an ill-fated OSS mission into the heart of the Eastern front.

~new~ 11:30am-12:30pm (booth 2739, Random House)
Diana Gabaldon, Written in My Own Heart's Blood - see above under Random House (reportedly pre-pub booklet with first seven chapters)

~new~ 12-1pm (booth 2739, Random House)
Colum McCann, Transatlantic - see above under publisher.


  1. Oh lordy, so many fascinating reads! Burial Rites and Hild look amazing!

    1. I have my eye on those two as well. Burial Rites is out in Australia now, and I've been debating paying more and getting my copy from there because the cover is so gorgeous. I think there's something wrong with me.

    2. Wow that is a gorgeous cover. Can't wait to get my hands on it.

      Love to see more books about Iceland. Seal Woman by Solveig Eggerz (post WWII) is one of my favorites.

    3. Thanks for reminding me about Seal Woman - I've just put it on my wishlist!

    4. Anonymous11:07 AM

      Sarah, you are not alone in your pursuit of new HF and beautiful covers . . .

      Sarah OL

  2. As if my wish list wasn't long enough already.... Thanks for compiling this!

    1. It was fun to put together - and it kept me busy during my very slow 8am reference desk shift this morning!

  3. I'm surprised you didn't mention Diana Gabaldon! She will be at BEA on June 1, where Random House will be giving away special limited-edition booklets containing the first 7 chapters of WRITTEN IN MY OWN HEART'S BLOOD (the forthcoming Book 8 of the OUTLANDER series).

    See my blog post here for more about these excerpt booklets.

    Karen Henry

    1. Thanks for the heads-up! Her signing isn't mentioned in either of the sources I consulted. I picked up a similar booklet (for an earlier novel) at a BEA several years ago.

  4. Wow! What a long list, hooray! The new Amy Tan has me very excited :)

    1. The last novel by Amy Tan that I read was The Bonesetter's Daughter, and that seems like a long time ago!

  5. Thank you so much for this, Sarah. You made me realize that it is time to get my head together for BEA because there are lots of books I would like to read.

    1. Hi Alex, I hope you have a wonderful time. Are you going to the blogger con? I'm planning on being back next year, when things aren't so crazy.

  6. Hello! *waves* Sarah, thanks for the shoutout. I'll be at BEA: Farrar, Straus and Giroux are giving away 200 galleys of Hild (booth #1557, 2 pm) and I'll sign if anyone asks. Also, I'll be reading from Hild at McNally Jackson on Thursday evening, 7 pm. It would be great to know there were friendly HNSers in the crowd...

    1. Hi, Nicola! Thanks for the added info on you and Hild at BEA. I'm sorry I'll miss your signing and reading (I seem to have picked the wrong year to stay home!) but I hope other historical fiction readers can make it.

    2. I am a colleague of Sarah's at the HNS- I will try to be there to hear your read from Hild on Thurday night and be one of the friendly HNSers in the audience : ) I am looking forward to reading Hild very much-is the give-away on Thursday or Friday?

      Andrea Connell

    3. Andrea, the giveaway is on Friday, 2 - 2:30 pm. I plan to be there.

  7. Anonymous11:37 AM

    DRY BONES sounds fascinating - I'm going to look out for that one (and e-galley maybe?).

    Sarah OL

    1. I should've mentioned it's part 3 in his series about detective Fintan Dunne. And he has another, earlier novel out (Banished Children of Eve) about Civil War-era NY.

  8. Anonymous12:54 PM

    Reading Teatime for the Firefly now. Shona's an amazing and talented writer!

    1. Good to hear! I enjoy novels set in India.

  9. Hi, Sarah! This is Loretta Nyhan, half of the team who wrote I'LL BE SEEING YOU (Suzanne Palmieri Hayes is my co-writer.). Sorry you won't be at BEA this year, but we will also be signing at ALA. I'll be sure to save you a copy!

    Thanks for including us on this list!

    1. Hi, Loretta! That's great to hear you'll be at ALA also, and thanks! As a matter of fact I've just received an ARC of I'LL BE SEEING YOU - I believe from a Shelf Awareness giveaway - and I'm looking forward to reading it. Hope you and your co-writer have a wonderful time at BEA!

  10. Pretty good turnout for HF this year!

    1. It does look really good for HF. And I just came across more of them so will go and add them now.

  11. Hi Sarah,
    Thanks for adding TEATIME FOR THE FIREFLY to this awesome list. Bummer, I'll miss you at BEA. For anyone who wants a free ARC I will be signing copies on Thursday 5/30 (3-4pm) in the Authors Area and Friday 5/31 (10-11am) at Harlequin Booth#1238. Please stop by and say "hi". I love bloggers and I am very excited to hear what you have to say about TEATIME.

    1. Hi Shona, I'm really sorry I'll miss seeing you at BEA. I'll pass the word about your signings along to other blogger and librarian attendees. TEATIME sounds great, and I hope it does well!

  12. So many great titles and authors! I am looking forward to reading the new Jamie Ford among many others. One day I will make it to BEA but it won't be this year!