Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Small press spotlight: new and forthcoming historical novels, part 1

This post is the first of many galleries of historical novels I've assembled for Small Press Month.  Additional installments will feature historical mysteries, university press titles, and novels from publishers outside the United States all from small and independent presses.

A novel of intrigue, danger, and sexual politics, centering on a maid at the court of Ivan the Terrible in 16th-century Russia an underutilized historical setting with a lot of dramatic potential.  Jolly Fish Press, May 2014.

From an award-winning author of Regency romances and Western fiction comes this romantic historical novel, first in the Spanish Brand series, set in the royal Spanish colony of New Mexico in the 1780s.  Camel Press, July 2013.

This literary historical novel about ambitious English anthropologists in 1930s Papua New Guinea is loosely based on the early life of Margaret Mead.  Atlantic Monthly, June 2014.

This collection of dark stories of ghosts and the supernatural, set in the 18th and 19th centuries, was first translated into English last year.  The author (not visible in this image) is Miyuki Miyabe. Haikasoru, November 2013.

An American woman of German descent faces prejudice and family strife in Nebraska farm country during the Great War.  Red Hen Press, March 2014.

A story of survival; in southwestern Pennsylvania in the 1930s, the lives of the German wife of an Irish coal miner and their daughters are shaped by hardship and racial prejudice.  St. Barbara is the patron saint of miners, and the title derives from townspeople's participation in an annual pageant dedicated to her.  High Hill Press, August 2013.

Dramatic and darkly sensual historical fiction set in Florence in 1691, as a Sicilian sculptor struggles to fulfill his latest, near-impossible commission.  Other Press, April 2014.

The newest historical novel from Shakespearean scholar Tiffany evokes the life of 17th-century poet Emilia Bassano Lanier, thought to be his Dark Lady from the Sonnets.  Bagwyn, September 2013.

This historical lesbian-themed novel is set amid the world of anthropology in the American Southwest of the early 1920s, as a young Jewish woman from Brooklyn arrives in New Mexico to study on her own and finds her life transformed.  Savvy Press, October 2013.

A novel of Choctaw life, centering on a young woman growing up in the company of her wise, eccentric relatives in Indian Territory in early 20th-century Oklahoma.  The author is a member of the Choctaw Nation.  Cinco Puntos Press, February 2014.

Mystery surrounds a young London seamstress who was employed by the royal family in Edwardian times.  Decades later, in 2008, another young woman pieces together what happened to her after discovering a gorgeous quilt in an attic.  Sourcebooks, May 2014.

This poetic historical novel set in medieval France lets readers follow the physical and spiritual journey of Robert of Arbrissel, the founder of Fontevraud Abbey, a haven for religious women.
Cuidono Press, November 2013.


  1. God bless the small presses. (And thanks to you for shining a light on them.)

    1. These small press galleries are always fun to put together, going through catalogs and bookseller sites to see what's out there.

  2. I just finished A Place of Light (full-disclosure --- it was given to me by its editor who is also my editor) and I really liked it. I am going to do a blog review soon. I liked that its heroes were not perfect and its villains were not unredeemable --- she does a great job of helping us understand how different medieval people thought about faith, virtue, goodness, and their own lives.

  3. Anonymous2:40 PM

    I had a little trouble with THE FORGOTTEN SEAMSTRESS because, being an amateur royal historian, I don't totally accept the "conceit" of this novel, but it was a good read once I got past that.

    Sarah OL

    1. Hmmmm, as an amateur royal historian (or at least observer) myself, I'll keep that in mind! I just requested an ARC via Shelf Awareness since I'm curious about it.

  4. The first three in particular sound very interesting!