The 20 Hottest Debuts of the Season

Posted by Cybil on August 6, 2018


Rejoice, readers! We're in debut season—that time of year when publishing houses tend to print a delightfully large number of new writers. And this year, between July and September, is proving to be a gold mine of authors to discover.

If you're in the mood for historical fiction, Heather Morris' World War II love story The Tattooist of Auschwitz is already an international hit. Or perhaps your reading will take you to Colombia during the time of drug lord Pablo Escobar's reign in Fruit of the Drunken Tree.

For readers looking for some fantasy, check out The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock, set in 18th-century London, or head deep into a magical forest with the adult fairy tale The Sisters of the Winter Wood. For a dash of magical realism, turn to She Would Be King, a fantastical take on Liberia’s formation.

There's also some dystopia (Vox), an evil child (Baby Teeth), and a war hero-turned-bank robber-turned debut author's gritty first novel (Cherry). In short, you're bound to find a book for whatever reading mood you're in.

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Comments Showing 1-50 of 50 (50 new)

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message 1: by Iset (new)

Iset I just say this because I'm curious if anyone else feels the same way. Historical fiction is one of my favourite genres... but I don't like anything set in the 20th century or later. It feels too close to my own time, and the subjects are ones I'm incredibly familiar with, so it struggles to hold my interest; what I actually want from my historical fiction is to be taken back to a time that is distant and to some degree alien, to explore the mystery of it and perhaps try to recapture the familiar points of humanity among people so very far away.

Am I the only one who prefers non-modern historical fiction?


message 2: by Ethel (new)

Ethel You are not alone....love historical fiction. A few suggestions:

1. Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen
2. Corner of Glory Land
3. Rising of Glory Land -- these two are part of a trilogy 3rd one coming out next year
4. Girl Divided

These are just a few. You can go to my blog artisanwriting.blogspot.com or go to Amazon or Goodreads and see if you like them!

Happy reading.
Ethel F.


message 3: by Iset (new)

Iset Thank you, Ethel. I think of those four, I would find the first one the most intriguing. Thanks for the suggestions!


message 4: by Kristine (new)

Kristine Payant I agree, you aren't alone because I'm like you. You should read the Ken Follett "Pillars of the Earth". I just finished the third book "Column of Fire" and it had everything I wanted in an historical fiction book. It does have a rather hurried ending though but that's about the only bad thing about it. You might also like the Allison Weir books, particularly her series on the 6 Wives of Henry VIII. Each book is written from the Queen's perspective - and Weir using their actual diaries, letter and other writings.


message 5: by Anissa (new)

Anissa I'm looking forward to reading Vox & Severance and I've seen so much on Baby Teeth for so many months, I thought it had debuted already.


message 6: by Alison (new)

Alison O'Brien Definitely get what you’re saying about historical fiction.. I love it but I’ve never read one that’s been about more current dates. I like Greener Grass series by Caroline Pignat a lot also black water rising about the 1900 Galveston flood 😁


message 7: by Tamara (new)

Tamara I'm the opposite. The more I already know about the history of the period the easier it is for me to enjoy. I spend far too much time fact checking everything otherwise 😂😂 (history major). I really enjoy books that are set in the modern era it makes me re-think or re-evaluate my perspective. But! This is why there are so many different books for all of us to enjoy 🤗


message 8: by Nadia (new)

Nadia Iset wrote: "I just say this because I'm curious if anyone else feels the same way. Historical fiction is one of my favourite genres... but I don't like anything set in the 20th century or later. It feels too c..."

I join you in this preference Iset! The more ancient the better I like it. The hIstory of the 20th century is too well documented. I'm fascinated by what isn't commonly known. I adore the Pauline Gedge books, which you might be familiar with since they're set in Ancient Egypt!


message 9: by Iset (new)

Iset Pauline Gedge is among my top three authors, Nadia, along with Mary Renault and Sharon Penman.


message 10: by dalex (new)

dalex The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock is excellent! I read it when it was released in the UK back in January.


message 11: by Peggy (new)

Peggy Iset wrote: "I just say this because I'm curious if anyone else feels the same way. Historical fiction is one of my favourite genres... but I don't like anything set in the 20th century or later. It feels too c..." I so agree! That's why I don't really like Stranger Things lol. I want it to be back then so I can learn and be more interested!


message 12: by Rachel (last edited Aug 06, 2018 11:10PM) (new)

Rachel Read two books from this list already. While I liked Zoje Stage's "Baby Teeth" I did not much care for Rosie Walsh's "Ghosted". Just a bit of caution though re: Baby Teeth, some of the scenes in the books were so shocking and jarring I had to put it down a couple of times if only to give myself some time to breathe and re-group.


message 13: by Natasha (new)

Natasha The Seven (and a half) Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is terrific!! I haven't had so much fun since re-reading Harry Potter. If you like a cosy whodunit with a time-loop-body-changing twist, then do not miss this one.


message 14: by Diana (new)

Diana Iset wrote: "I just say this because I'm curious if anyone else feels the same way. Historical fiction is one of my favourite genres... but I don't like anything set in the 20th century or later. It feels too c..."

You are not alone, i am the same, i ditched *for now* the Diviners by Libba Bray for that same reason.


message 15: by Wendy Howard (new)

Wendy Howard Has anyone read books by Edward Rutherford. They are great. One is called London. He goes back to the very beginning as to how these places started. Also, books by Charles Todd follow the life of a WWI nurse. Wendy


message 16: by Gary (new)

Gary Hartzell Iset wrote: "I just say this because I'm curious if anyone else feels the same way. Historical fiction is one of my favourite genres... but I don't like anything set in the 20th century or later. It feels too c..."

Once in a while, I like them paired - that is, an historical theme concurrent with a more recent or even contemporary theme. For example: "How to Stop Time" by Matt Haig.


message 17: by Patty (new)

Patty Killion Ethel wrote: "You are not alone....love historical fiction. A few suggestions:

1. Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen
2. Corner of Glory Land
3. Rising of Glory Land -- these two are part of a trilogy 3rd one com..."


Wow Ethel,
I have a feeling that you are going to cost me a lot money. I have just returned from your blog and have added about 10 books to my want list! What a beautiful day...thank you!


message 18: by Tanya (new)

Tanya I also love historical fiction (heavy on the history as opposed to just set sometime in the past, and it hardly counts as history if it's after WWII), and would say Sharon Kay Penman is my very favorite author. I just finished an amazing novel -- The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish, set largely in 1660s London. It was phenomenal.


message 19: by Patty (new)

Patty Killion I just finished "The Dutch Wife" by Ellen Keith. I thought it was a fantastic read and a great debut from the author. It's Amsterdam, May 1943. Marijke is given a terrible choice: to suffer a slow death in the labor camp or—for a chance at survival—to join the camp brothel. I had never read anything about brothels in labor camps. I'm just touching on the story...it is so much more...and the ending!!!


message 20: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman is excellent too if you enjoy historical fiction


message 21: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Friedman I agree with Cynthia...The Marriage of Opposites provides a rich look at St. Thomas in the early 1800s wrapped in a page-turning story.


message 22: by Robin (new)

Robin Perkowsky You Have Such A Pretty Face by Kelley Gunter is an amazing memoir about a story of hope, trauma, self worth and self confidence! The author writes from her heart and soul. You will laugh and cry as you read this enjoyable story.


Graciela T. Parsons Iset wrote: "I just say this because I'm curious if anyone else feels the same way. Historical fiction is one of my favourite genres... but I don't like anything set in the 20th century or later. It feels too c..."

Iset wrote: "I just say this because I'm curious if anyone else feels the same way. Historical fiction is one of my favourite genres... but I don't like anything set in the 20th century or later. It feels too c..."

Iset wrote: "I just say this because I'm curious if anyone else feels the same way. Historical fiction is one of my favourite genres... but I don't like anything set in the 20th century or later. It feels too c..."

I feel exactly the same way. I love books from the 16th-17th-18th century from both Europe and the United States. I just finish a book about Queen Victoria. Is a book that make you think what these Queens/Kings went thru. Is not as glamorous as we think.


message 24: by Teresa (new)

Teresa Simmons Kristine wrote: "I agree, you aren't alone because I'm like you. You should read the Ken Follett "Pillars of the Earth". I just finished the third book "Column of Fire" and it had everything I wanted in an historic..."

Kristine- I also loved Ken Follet’s “trilogy”... While I enjoy many historical fiction books, nothing captures my imagination line Ken Follet. Would you have any suggestions or recommendations of your recent reads? Than you!


message 25: by Linda JB (new)

Linda JB Herrick Wendy Howard wrote: "Has anyone read books by Edward Rutherford. They are great. One is called London. He goes back to the very beginning as to how these places started. Also, books by Charles Todd follow the life of a..."

Sarum is wonderful! I liked it even better than Pillars of the Earth although very similar. His writing is much like James Michener -- lots of detail.


message 26: by Mary Lou (new)

Mary Lou Iset wrote: "I just say this because I'm curious if anyone else feels the same way. Historical fiction is one of my favourite genres... but I don't like anything set in the 20th century or later. It feels too c..."

I have found myself fascinated by books that take me to a different culture. I love murder mysteries, and really enjoy Faye Kellerman, who takes me inside orthodox Jewish culture, Tony Hellerman who takes me inside Navajo culture, Peter Tremayne who takes me inside the 16th century Celtic Catholic church culture, etc. I get to immerse myself in the culture and mores of the mileu while enjoying a good mystery.


Dorie  - Cats&Books :) I really liked Vox by Christina Dalcher , and Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras . For those above who like historical fiction I would recommend Fruit of the Drunken Tree. I picked up and put down Ohio by Stephen Markley , many times, I found it very depressing. I have to write the review for Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen by Sarah Bird , I gave it 3 stars, it really dragged in the middle, I enjoyed the first half and the ending :)


message 28: by Nadine (new)

Nadine Alfhild For all of you who like historical fiction/paranormal that goes back in time, try For The Devil Has Come With Great Wrath by Emma Plant. It has a lot of elements - from suspense to romance, from magic to psychology, adventure to thriller. Really worth reading, can't wait to read the sequels!


message 29: by Peter (new)

Peter Iset wrote: "I just say this because I'm curious if anyone else feels the same way. Historical fiction is one of my favourite genres... but I don't like anything set in the 20th century or later. It feels too c..."

Have a look at Kevin Baker's books. The ones I like best are Dreamland (set in and around Coney Island (set in the very beginning of the 20th Century) and Paradise Alley, which takes place in NY (and in Ireland) during the Draft Riots of the Civil War.


message 30: by Gloria (new)

Gloria Marshall Curse of the Dark Shadow Series. Book 1 A child Lost set in 18th century England and India is now selling internationally. Received a 4 star rating by Pacific Press Review. Book 2 The Lion Roars is also selling internationally with great reviews. Author Gloria Marshall is currently working on the third book in the trilogy. She promises to close the series with a spectacular ending to Lord Geoffrey's search for happiness with Book 3 The Blood Oath. Historical fiction at its best!


message 31: by Tom (new)

Tom Edwards JANE SINCLAIR by Tom Edwards – 1800s romantic adventure


Rating:
Title:Jane Sinclair
Author(s): Tom Edwards
Genre(s): Fiction, Romance, Young Adult/New Adult
Publisher: Xlbris Corp. (2014)
Please help promote the author by liking the review at:
Amazon GoodreadsAuthor's Website
A rich romantic adventure set in late 1800s England that is suitable for Young Adults and fans of Romantic fiction, “Jane Sinclair” touches on personal themes of success and failure interwoven with major social and economic issues of the era.
The tale’s heroine, Jane, is the only child of a Hampshire farming couple that dote on her and offer her every opportunity for education. Clearly exceptional, the girl soaks up learning so that by the time she encounters the upper-class Charles Cholmondelay, destined for study at Oxford, she proves herself his intellectual equal while charming his heart.
However, his father, the brutal Sir Richard, is determined his son will have nothing to do with a commoner; his threats to her family cause Jane to run away to London, where, desperate and penniless, she fortuitously winds up in the household of a kindly man named Bob. Bob will all but adopt Jane, and, impressed by her honesty and intelligence, will help to set her up in a small business and, ultimately, in the management of a garment factory. There Jane shows her considerable entrepreneurial and leadership skills, and, recalling her own humble origins, demonstrates that she is well ahead of her time in wishing for her factory workers to have basic rights and to be treated more humanely—a cause which is ahead of its time.
Making a name for herself as the lone female in a high-level business position, Jane meets again with Charles, now graduated and ready to work as a lawyer. They plan to marry soon, but Charles decides he needs one last adventure before he settles down. He sets off to sea with friends, while Jane goes to France and to inspect and purchase a new exotic clothing line. She also develops a friendship with members of the Suffragette movement and shows herself an admirable public speaker on their behalf. When she hears that Charles and his friends have been shipwrecked, though, her idyllic world collapses and she nearly dies from despair. Charles meanwhile is the captive of ruthless pirates, and escape seems all but hopeless.
The author of this intricately layered saga, Australian Tom Edwards, is himself an artist and adventurer; the scenes he depicts of Charles at sea doubtless come from his own experiences in the Royal Navy, sailing around the world with friends in a small boat, and living in many unusual locales.
On nearly every page of his tightly constructed story he demonstrates the care he has taken with historical detail, down to the soap brand Jane will use, the clothing she chooses to wear and manufacture, and even the toilets, or “WCs,” she insists on providing for her workers. The dialogue and use of idiomatic phrases also show much care, as does Jane’s a brush with a real person, Mrs. Goulden, mother of the noted English suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst.
Jane Sinclair by Tom Edwards deftly combines an entertaining and well-conceived rags-to-riches story from the female viewpoint, with a passionate tale of love lost and regained, a stirring vision of manly exploits on the high seas, and a respectful acknowledgment of the ideals of the early feminist movement.
By y Barbara Bamberger Scott


message 32: by Cecly (new)

Cecly Iset wrote: "I just say this because I'm curious if anyone else feels the same way. Historical fiction is one of my favourite genres... but I don't like anything set in the 20th century or later. It feels too c..."

I write 20th Century Historical fiction, based on events that have occured in my native Trinidad pre 1950. For me, I need to tell our stories from the perspective of the islander.


message 33: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Sach I love historical fiction too. I spent as much time researching the era once I've read the novel as I did reading it.


message 34: by Jayna (new)

Jayna Wendy Howard wrote: "Has anyone read books by Edward Rutherford. They are great. One is called London. He goes back to the very beginning as to how these places started. Also, books by Charles Todd follow the life of a..."

Charles Todd (the pen name of a mother and son) writes two marvelous series - Ian Rutherford of Scotland Yard mysteries, which take place starting right after WWI and Bess Crawford, nurse in France during WWI.

I, like you, prefer my historicals set further back In time. With a few exceptions I pretty much stop at WWI and I really like books set several hundred years further back.


message 35: by Carol (new)

Carol Freshingfold by Colin Park. Sold by Amazon. Heartwarming tale of the changing relationship between a lodger going to uni and his aristocratic landlady as she desends into dementia and the trust between them.


message 36: by Harriet (new)

Harriet Puterman Hi, I am also an historical fiction fan but unlike most of you, I include modern history. In the last month I read about Cuba-pre and post Castro and also about the immigrant community in the US. I read two books about WWI and WWII that kept me up most of the night. Also learned things that I did 't know. Jojo Moyes "The Girl you left Behind" and Kristin Hannah "The Nightingale". Both about women and how they managed and participated during WWI and WWII. In France it was called the women's war".


message 37: by Doreen (new)

Doreen McDade Iset wrote: "I just say this because I'm curious if anyone else feels the same way. Historical fiction is one of my favourite genres... but I don't like anything set in the 20th century or later. It feels too c..."

I totally agree with you!


message 38: by Alicia (new)

Alicia Try...The Cathedral by the Sea. I read it twice.
What a great peek into medieval times in Spain-Barcelona specificaly. OUTSTANDING! I even heard its being turned into a tv show on Netflix.

Cathedral of the Sea


message 39: by Leila (new)

Leila Goreil Love this lineup of upcoming books! Can't wait!


message 40: by Hilary (new)

Hilary Iset wrote: "I just say this because I'm curious if anyone else feels the same way. Historical fiction is one of my favourite genres... but I don't like anything set in the 20th century or later. It feels too c..."
I agree Iset! I prefer my historical fiction to be older than 20th century but I also prefer it to be about ordinary people rather than kings and queens . I suppose you'd call that 'social history fiction' one of my favourite authors from years ago that I have recently rediscovered is Norah Lofts but also E V Thompson and several others that I just can't bring to my mind right now.


message 41: by George (new)

George A good author is Barbra Erskine. Her books have time shifting and are very readable. The best Historical novelist is Patrick O'Brian and his naval adventures with Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin have earned him the Times' accolade.


message 42: by Susanna (new)

Susanna Porter Iset wrote: "I just say this because I'm curious if anyone else feels the same way. Historical fiction is one of my favourite genres... but I don't like anything set in the 20th century or later. It feels too c..."

I love 20th century fiction too, like The Paris Wife and Love and Ruin and Manhattan Beach and some of the other great WWII novels I've read. Even the mid-40s is a long time ago now, and feels plenty like another time and place to me.


message 43: by Christine (new)

Christine I'm totally with you. I prefer books of WWII era or before.


message 44: by Frank (new)

Frank Parker Teresa wrote: "Kristine wrote: "I agree, you aren't alone because I'm like you. You should read the Ken Follett "Pillars of the Earth". I just finished the third book "Column of Fire" and it had everything I want..."

If you like Ken Follett, you will love Elizabeth Chadwick.


message 45: by Frank (new)

Frank Parker On the debate about 'historical fiction' set in the 20th century I would add this - some of us lived through more than half of it, however it's worth remembering that WWI and WWII are a long way in the past for our grown up grand children and it's important they learn about those events. Of course, you can read books written at the time, rather than a modern writer's 'take' on the period, something you can't generally do when it comes to the Middle Ages. Thankfully there are authors who search whatever old documents are available and use them as the background to fiction - I'm thinking Ken Follett, Elizabeth Chadwick, Allison Weir - all previously mentioned in this thread.


message 46: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Young-Shepard I love that title fruits of the drunken tree:)


message 47: by Sally (new)

Sally I heard a review of America for Beginners on Public Radio. I'm looking forward to reading it.

I agree about the Rutherford books. They are very good. Sarum inspired a trip to Salisbury Cathedral with a friend who had also read the book.


message 48: by Alex (new)

Alex contemporary north american literature is so bad and superficial nowadays...


message 49: by Sara (new)

Sara The comments have provided so many wonderful historical fiction recommendations! Thanks everyone!


message 50: by Kristen (new)

Kristen The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw was a fantastic debut!


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