Monday, November 12, 2018

A septet of recent & upcoming historical novels, all with the number seven

This doesn't qualify to be a trend, but it's a curious recent phenomenon. The number seven figures prominently in classical history, mythology, and literature; it's thought of as a particularly lucky or magical number.  So perhaps it's no surprise that authors are channeling its power within their fiction.  Here are — of course — seven historical novels, all published in 2017 or after, which share this number in their titles (or series). How I came upon this interesting commonality is something you might call sevendipity. After finding the Grames novel on Edelweiss last week, its title reminded me of another, and then another... there are a few that I think readers will have trouble keeping straight!

Seven fictional tales set in the same historical worlds as Gabaldon's Outlander stories set in the 18th century and later; two are original to this book. Delacorte, 2017. [see on Goodreads]

The story of Stella Fortuna, a young woman in early 20th-century Italy who seems unusually accident-prone, and her long, complicated relationship with her sister, both in Italy and America over the next century. Ecco, forthcoming May 2019. [see on Goodreads]

A moving historical novel set aboard the Lusitania during WWI and based partly on family history. HarperCollins, 2017. [see on Goodreads]

Part of James's Desperate Duchesses series of Georgian- and Regency-set historical romances, this entry focuses on an earl's son in need of a governess for his siblings, and an aristocratic woman who runs a governess agency  Avon, 2017. [see on Goodreads]

A young woman tapped to write an aging film star's biography is drawn into her stories of the lost world of 1950s Hollywood and all of her past marriages. Atria, 2017. [see on Goodreads]

This is the fifth and latest in Riley's Seven Sisters series (the first book had the title The Seven Sisters) about a group of women, adopted by the same man as babies, who leave for adventures around the world in search of their birth heritage. Their family stories take readers back to the early 20th century. Atria, forthcoming February 2019. [see on Goodreads]

Set around a 1920s country house party, this unusual murder mystery features a protagonist who inhabits the body of different characters and is forced to relive events of the fateful day of Evelyn's death until he solves the crime.  Sourcebooks, 2018. [see on Goodreads]


  1. Great list idea! The number seven really does pop up a lot. I have a copy of The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle that I've been meaning to get to. It has amused me how similar the title is to The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo--seven and Evelyn? The Stella Fortuna one sounds really interesting as well, I'll have to keep my eye out for it!

  2. I know... the two titles are so similar with the main character having the same first name.

    Stella Fortuna is available for request on Edelweiss, if that helps!

  3. The Lucinda Riley series sounds great - I hadn't heard of it. Thanks for the list!

  4. I like that it brings readers to so many settings around the world - great armchair travel potential :) I've had mixed luck with Riley's novels so am hoping this series is good.

  5. I read The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, loved it! (My copy did not have the 1/2 in the title, he had issues with release in America and had to alter the title slightly.)

  6. I want to read it, even though someone once told me a spoiler about it, which I won't reveal! I had heard that about the title being different, and why (too similar to the Evelyn Hugo novel).

  7. Hallo, Hallo,...

    I had mistaken the release for "The Moon Sister" as I originally thought it wasn't arriving til Spring 2019. Recently, another blogger I follow told me it was already here and I felt a bit disheartened as I wasn't quite ready yet to re-visit that world! :( I spent a lovely respite of hours binge reading the whole series earlier this year and let my ruminations on my blog... I can't wait to re-enter as soon as I sort out the best time for me to read this one. I hope you'll find traction with this series, as I found it was one of my favourite reads of 2018.

    Seven Days in May looks like something I'd enjoy reading myself - mostly as I love the sub-niche of Biographical Historical Fiction. Thanks for tipping my hat towards this one!

    I also agree about the curiosity surrounding the number 7!

  8. The Moon Sister was just published in the UK, so the release date is a few months earlier there - I should have mentioned that! Hope you'll enjoy this one as much as the rest, once you find the time to get back into the series.