Monday, June 03, 2019

A visual preview of summer 2019 in historical fiction from UK publishers

Here's a collection of new and upcoming historical novels from British publishers, with their corresponding cover designs.  Please note that the UK focus below reflects the publisher, not necessarily the author's nationality.  Some of these twelve books will be appearing from North American presses later this year, while for others, I recommend Book Depository.  I'll be traveling to the UK later this year and am hoping to find some of these in person.

The Sound of the Hours by Karen Campbell

A young woman in occupied Tuscany during WWII falls in love with a black American soldier. Bloomsbury, Sept. 2019. [see on Goodreads]  Also published by Bloomsbury in the US.

The Glittering Hour by Iona Grey

Romantic historical fiction set amid the exuberance of post-WWI England, from the award-winning author of Letters to the Lost.  Simon & Schuster UK, May 2019. [see on Goodreads]  Also to be published by Thomas Dunne in the US in December.

The Second Sleep by Robert Harris

A shift in historical era for the multi-faceted Harris, whose new thriller is set in a remote town in Exmoor, southwest England, in the 1460s.  Hutchinson, Sept 2019. [see on Goodreads]  Also to be published by Knopf in the US in November. Thanks to Sarah OL for mentioning this book in an earlier comment.

The Convert by Stefan Hertmans

Another forthcoming historical set in medieval times. Based on a true story uncovered by the Flemish Belgian author, The Convert reveals the life of a young woman from Provence who converted to Judaism to marry the man she loved.  Text, July 2019.  [see on Goodreads]

Those Who Are Loved by Victoria Hislop

I've enjoyed Hislop's novels set in Greece, including The IslandThe Thread, and The Sunrise.  Her newest also has a Greek setting, this time during the German occupation and the country's civil war, and four decades later.  Headline, May 2019.  [see on Goodreads]

The Boy with Blue Trousers by Carol Jones

Australian writer Jones intertwines the stories of two women, one English and one Chinese, during the quest for gold in 19th-century Australia.  Head of Zeus, June 2019. [see on Goodreads]

A Matter of Interpretation by Elizabeth MacDonald

This new offering from an Oxford-based small press is another medieval on the list; it centers on 13th-century mathematician and scholar Michael Scot and his travels on behalf of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II.  Fairlight, Sept. 2019. [see on Goodreads]

A Book of Secrets by Kate Morrison

African-born Susan, a servant in a Catholic household in late 16th-century England, is on a quest for her lost brother and her lost personal history.  It's been blurbed by Miranda Kaufmann, the author of Black Tudors.  Jacaranda, May 2019.  [see on Goodreads]

Shadowplay by Joseph O'Connor

Drama surrounding the trio of actor Henry Irving, actress Ellen Terry, and theatre manager (and author) Bram Stoker in Victorian London.  Harvill Secker, June 2019. [see on Goodreads]

Entertaining Mr Pepys by Deborah Swift

The final volume in Swift's trilogy about real-life women in the life and diary of Samuel Pepys; the protagonist here is musician-actress Elizabeth Carpenter. Accent, Sept. 2019.  Not on Goodreads yet, but you can find it on Amazon UK.

The House by the Loch by Kirsty Wark

A novel of family secrets kept and revealed, set in Scotland (as you can infer from the title) in the 1950s and decades later. Two Roads, June 2019. [see on Goodreads]

The Hiding Game by Naomi Wood

Love, friendship, art and obsession centering on students at the Bauhaus art school in 1920s Germany, from the author of Mrs. Hemingway.  Picador UK, June 2019. [see on Goodreads]


  1. Oh my! So many good books coming. I'm a bit confused about the release date for Entertaining Mr. Pepys as I've read that, and quite a while ago. I can't recall where I bought it but it must have been an England release I guess.

    1. OK, sorry, my mistake. I got this one muddled up with Pleasing Mr. Pepys. Sorry about that.

    2. That's probably it since it's been out for a couple years. There's also A Plague on Mr. Pepys in the middle if you haven't read that one yet.

  2. I'm very interested in the Robert Harris novel, really liked his "Conclave." And "A Book of Secrets" sounds great too. Thanks!

    1. The only book I've read by Harris so far is Dictator, which was great. Not everyone can move between different historical periods like he can. I'm interested to read his medieval novel!

  3. I enjoyed the Victoria Hislop books I've read! Must think about trying to contemplate reading this one!!

  4. Also, I've not heard of Carol Jones before!

  5. She has another out called The Concubine’s Child that I’ve been meaning to read!

  6. Publishers seem to be putting more effort into creating beautiful book covers. I see alot of them lately and of course that makes me want to read the book. All but 2 of the books you mentioned I want to read because the covers are gorgeous.

    1. At the conference I just returned from, the attending editors and agents all agreed that the cover was of critical importance for historical novels, and so was the title.