42 New and Upcoming Historical Fiction Novels

Posted by Cybil on February 16, 2021


Care to travel to past times for some serious drama? Check out this season's biggest historical fiction novels and be transported to tales of lighthouse keepers, asylum seekers, Chicago's jazz clubsPuritans in bad marriages, and much more! 

Here are just some of the buzzy historical fiction novels that will be publishing early this year (all of these books are hitting U.S. stores between January and May). Scroll over the book covers to learn more about each novel, and be sure to add the books that pique your interest to your Want to Read shelf!

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Which recent and upcoming historical fiction books are you looking forward to reading? Let's talk books in the comments! 

Check out more recent articles:
66 of the Year's Most Anticipated Fiction by Black Authors
Readers' Most Anticipated Books of February
Kristin Hannah Writes an American Epic

Comments Showing 1-24 of 24 (24 new)

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message 2: by Bart (new)

Bart Robinson I think this should be renamed the 42 New and Upcoming Woke Historical Fiction Novels. Maybe we should add Robin DiAngelo's next book to the list.


message 3: by Kristine (new)

Kristine Yes I thought the same about a number of those selections.


message 4: by Fenris (new)

Fenris I am already reading The House on Vesper Sands and it's fabulous. In this list I am looking forward to The Last Garden in England, The Elephant of Belfast (worried about animal abuse and death though), and The Lamplighters.


message 5: by Duan (new)

Duan Anderson Was the LIST really "Historical Fiction"? Hard to tell as some of the descriptions were only a treatise of the author.


message 6: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie So many I want to read!!!


message 7: by Angela (new)

Angela Kocheshkova i wish this was separated into some kind of sub-categories. like by time period or place or themes or smth


message 8: by Donna (new)

Donna I looking forward to reading Kristy Cambron’s The Paris Dressmaker which was released today!!


message 9: by Jonathon (last edited Feb 16, 2021 06:23PM) (new)

Jonathon Neville 1. The Dictionary of Lost Words - reviews say the first half is dull, but the 2nd half is great. Mostly I'm interested in the concept
2. Wild Women and the Blues - I play blues and jazz on piano
3. The Paris Library - perhaps - mostly it's the cover that hooks me!
4. Becoming Leidah
I already read it once, but when you ask what books we're excited to read, truth is I want to read this again.



While reading, I wondered: What am I ‘becoming’ as I read? Will I ever-after be more alive than I’ve ever been? In the end, some of that excitement was lost - replaced with something deeper.

How many dimensions of literary delight exist? I think I experienced all here: surprise after surprise - micro to macro - subtle yet electrifying.

Both innocence and experience are in full bloom. Not just a fantasy, it’s very grounded in reality. Magical realism with an emphasis on both magical and real.

It did not fulfill my wishes. It brought me somewhere more nuanced, more mature - an integration that made magic more real. It invited self-reflection, and brought some of my life into greater perspective.

I saw Becoming Leidah on a list of historical fiction. Fair enough. It certainly presents a deeply-researched time and place, and adds layers beyond factual or even speculative histories, so although it is not about famous people or events, it is historical and it is fiction. I’d also call it a mythical folktale, and family drama. And (perhaps like all family dramas, beneath the surface) it's a mystery. It's not only a mystery to discover what happened / what's really happening in this story - it's a mystery into humanity's greatest mysteries.

The book jumps between time periods and narrators, and although I have read books where that bothered me, here I loved weaving the story together. Still, I can imagine some readers finding it a challenge. Unreliable narrators and intentionally undeclared travel between worlds can make it seem like the story is inconsistent, when it’s actually just more layered than you might assume.

Reading the jacket description, I wondered if it would present a stereotype of religion or men. Turned out I was the one doing the stereotyping. (I came to identify with both husband and wife.)

The ending is highly poetic, and ambiguous - which might not work for people who want a clear ending / definitive closure. It’s not a cliffhanger - it is complete in itself - and yet, I would love to read a follow-up book - I want to explore where these characters go after growing to this point. Perhaps that exploration is up to me.

I used to wonder to what extent / in what ways it would be true to say "With imagination, anyone can be rich." Well, I've never been richer.

-------------
Becoming Leidah


message 10: by MICHELE (new)

MICHELE Looking forward to many of these EXCEPT for the ones set during WW2. Enough already 😂


message 11: by Laurie (new)

Laurie MICHELE wrote: "Looking forward to many of these EXCEPT for the ones set during WW2. Enough already 😂" Funny! That was my impression too.


message 12: by Impossible (new)

Impossible OMG, does anybody still write anything about MEN? ^^


message 13: by Lisa (new)

Lisa I'm reading Outlawed right now and I don't really think it should be considered historical fiction. It's much more dystopian and/or post-apocalyptic. The world they live in sounds like the wild west, but it really isn't.


message 14: by Dywane (new)

Dywane I Love To Read This Book?


message 15: by Ann J (new)

Ann J Outlawed was a wild ride. I enjoyed it. The Prophets was a painful read. Not only because of its harsh subject; just a struggle for me all together. I am not saying you shouldn’t read it or that I did not like it, but in all honesty I was glad when it was done.


message 16: by Iola (new)

Iola Giles Kristian love his Viking books.


message 17: by Karen (new)

Karen I'm looking forward to the new titles from Alyssa Maxwell this year!


message 18: by TMR (new)

TMR Love these.


message 19: by Louise (new)

Louise Mabille Impossible wrote: "OMG, does anybody still write anything about MEN? ^^"

Laurie wrote: "MICHELE wrote: "Looking forward to many of these EXCEPT for the ones set during WW2. Enough already 😂" Funny! That was my impression too."


message 20: by TMR (new)

TMR What an exciting collection.


message 21: by Alma (new)

Alma Marta Impossible wrote: "OMG, does anybody still write anything about MEN? ^^"

Yes, just read A Gentleman in Moscow.


message 22: by Kate (new)

Kate Lecher Katie ward


message 23: by Tony (last edited Mar 01, 2021 09:40PM) (new)

Tony English What a bummer! Death of a Coast Watcher, due for US release on March 7, is not listed. Oh, well......

Death of a Coast Watcher by Anthony English


message 24: by Tony (new)

Tony English Impossible wrote: "OMG, does anybody still write anything about MEN? ^^"

Some of us do; and about women, kids, and so on, all in the same book. See Message 23.


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