Thursday, June 09, 2022

Prepare for a TBR explosion with these guides to new and forthcoming historical novels

It's nearly summer in the US, a time when media outlets are recommending novels to read over the warmer months and through the rest of 2022 as well.  Here are links to roundups that center on historical novels.

Library Journal's first historical fiction preview, compiled by Melissa DeWild, includes a whopping 86 upcoming titles, with short blurbs and comments from publishers. They're grouped mostly by category, with considerable focus on the world wars and subgroups thereof, plus others that span a wider range of eras and global settings. If you get paywalled, try registering for a free account with LJ.

Alida Becker's New York Times review roundup with new historical fiction to read this summer includes a good mix of commercial and literary historical fiction.

In Cosmopolitan, check out their choices of best historical fiction for 2022; most of these titles are already out, but not all.

The list at Business Insider mixes classic favorites and past award-winners with brand new selections: 28 in all that, they say, promise to "whisk you away to a different world."

Book Riot's coverage of historical fiction has been particularly strong lately. Last month, writer Kelly Jensen offered a guide to the best historical fiction organized by era, subgenre, age group, and other useful categories.

Historical mysteries are a favorite subgenre of mine. Writing for CrimeReads, novelist Christopher Huang has a piece responding to the question: "How do you decolonize the Golden Age mystery?" He recommends a wealth of new novels that examine the 1920s and '30s from viewpoints other than white and/or European.  I especially liked these comments:

"... diversity is desirable because it represents a larger experience of the world and a fresh take on what we think we know. Especially in the context of historical fiction, an alternate viewpoint gives us a clearer understanding of what the world looked like. And why do we read fiction at all, if not for fresh experiences outside of what we know?"

Back in April, BuzzFeed published a guide to historical romances for Bridgerton fans.

In the Times (London), Antonia Senior has monthly roundups of the best new historical novels out that month (in the UK). Her May column is here, with settings ranging from ancient Greece to the 18th century. You can sign up for a free account to read these columns as they appear.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the Historical Novel Society's guides to forthcoming historical novels, compiled by Fiona Sheppard and Susan Firghil Park.  The guide for adult titles goes through March 2023, and the children's/YA list goes through next January; these are regularly updated.


  1. This is a post to be digested slowly! Thank you for the links.

    1. Yes, there's a lot of content to go through! So many interesting titles coming out.

  2. I really liked seeing older titles on Kelly Jenson's list. Some terrific books get overlooked just because they have been out a few (or many) years.

    1. I totally agree on the list and giving attention to older books!

    2. I just heard Jane Friedman on a podcast today, and she said some backlist books are really making a comeback due to TikTok promoting them and reminding people how good they were. Good news for those authors!

    3. That’s really encouraging to hear! I’m not on TikTok but have been hearing a lot about the power of the platform for book influencers and authors.