New books by Historical Novel Society members, February 2021
Congratulations to our author members on their new book releases. If you’ve written a historical novel or nonfiction work published (or to be published) in November 2020 or after, we’d like to promote the details in this column. Please send the following information via our contact form or @readingthepast by April 7: author, title, publisher, release date, and a blurb of one sentence or less. Details will appear in May’s magazine. Submissions may be edited for space. This listing is limited to current paid HNS members.
In Alison Stuart’s The Goldminer’s Sister (HarperCollins Australia, Jul. 2020), set in Australia in 1873, Eliza Penrose arrives in the gold mining town of Maiden’s Creek in search of her brother, planning to make a new life for herself, but instead she finds a tragic mystery – and hints of betrayals by those closest to her.
On the eve of the American Civil War, an adopted Cheyenne Indian journeys to Charleston, South Carolina to find his birth family in Native Stranger, the third book in Elizabeth Bell’s Lazare Family Saga (Claire-Voie Books, Aug. 10, 2020).
In A. M. Stuart’s second Harriet Gordon Mystery, Revenge in Rubies (Berkley, Sept. 2020), a riveting new mystery set in Singapore in 1910, when Lieutenant Colonel John Nolan’s beautiful new wife is found bludgeoned to death in her bed, Harriet Gordon and Inspector Robert Curran are drawn into the secrets of the South Sussex Regiment where Honor is Before All.
He wants to practice his outlawed convictions about religious freedom, but the Church of England will imprison, torture, and kill those who stray, in Ora Smith’s The Pulse of His Soul: The Story of John Lothropp, a Forgotten Forefather (Lighten Press, Sept. 1, 2020).
Rita Gerlach’s Mercy’s Refuge (independently published / Dusk to Dawn Books, Sept. 15, 2020) is set in 1620; when Mercy McCrea’s life is in danger, she flees across the English Channel to Holland, to her uncle’s farm where she joins the English Separatists aboard the Mayflower after wedding Caleb, a carpenter falsely accused of a crime he did not commit.
Hannah Byron’s debut In Picardy’s Fields, first in The Resistance Girl Series (independently published, Sept. 24, 2020), is set in 1918 at the frontlines in France, featuring the first female surgeon and spy facing the Germans, Agnès de Saint-Aubin and Madeleine de Dragoncourt.
In The Kindness of Thieves by Gail Feeney (independently published, Sept. 27, 2020) set in 1857 England, master charlatan Jack Cooper organizes one last big job before leaving his life of crime only to get sidetracked by Anne, an intriguing young woman discovering London and her place in the world.
After traveling to a slave community hidden within the Great Dismal Swamp, Will Rees and his wife Lydia get caught up in a dangerous murder case where no one trusts them in Death in the Great Dismal by Eleanor Kuhns (Severn House, Oct. 1, 2020).
In Freedom’s Call by Douglas P. Cornelius (Crosslink Publishing, Oct. 1, 2020), set during the pre-Civil War late 1830s, teen-aged Brady gets caught up in the abolitionist activities of Christian newspaperman Elijah Lovejoy and finds that his dream to become a cub-pilot on a Mississippi River steamboat will be impacted by fugitive slave William Wells Brown, while Lovejoy’s printing presses keep getting dumped into the river by angry mobs.
In the fall of 1545, Caterina Konarska travels to Vilnius on a mission for Queen Bona to stop Duke Zygmunt from marrying his scandal-ridden mistress, yet as bodies pile up she begins to wonder if an assassin is trying to ensure the same; this is the premise of Midnight Fire, second in the Jagiellon Mystery series by P. K. Adams (Iron Knight Press/Amazon, Oct. 6, 2020).
At the heart of Sarah McCraw Crow’s The Wrong Kind of Woman (Mira/HarperCollins, Oct. 6, 2020) is Virginia, a woman who finds her way through grief when she helps bring the women’s movement to an all-male college campus in 1970; it’s a novel about grief and loss, but also about friendship and love in a time of change.
In Children’s Fate, the fourth Meonbridge Chronicle by Carolyn Hughes (Riverdown Books, Oct. 26, 2020), set in 14th-century England, Emma Ward learns her apprentice daughter Beatrix is being exploited by her immoral mistress and determines to rescue her from ruin, whilst Beatrix isn’t even certain she’s willing to be saved.
The Cup of Christ and the Forgotten Disciple (Holt Publishing Company, Nov. 2, 2020), first in the Cup of Christ series by Jack Holt, is a dual narrative set in the 1st and 12th centuries about two men – one a forgotten disciple, and the other an actual author from the 12th-century – each of whom writes a book that violently leads to the Cup of Christ (the Holy Grail).
Blood Royal by Alexandre Dumas (Pegasus, Nov. 3, 2020), in a new translation by Lawrence Ellsworth, Book Four in the Musketeers Cycle, follows d’Artagnan and the musketeers to England in an attempt to save King Charles I from execution.
In Helen Cannam’s A Hidden Fire (Independently published, Nov. 5, 2020), in north east England during the reign of James I, Catholic widow Kate Machyn faces a conflict of family loyalty, love and faith, set against the background of the Gunpowder Plot.
In The Shadows of Versailles by Cathie Dunn (Ocelot Press, Nov. 20, 2020), shortly after her arrival at Versailles, Fleur is seduced by Philippe de Mortain, and her path to revenge soon takes her into the world of helpful whores, intrigue-plotting nobles – and poisoners!
In Joyce Yarrow’s Zahara and the Lost Books of Light (Adelaide Books, Dec. 5, 2020) Seattle journalist Alienor Crespo travels to Spain, where she applies for citizenship as a descendant of Jews expelled in 1492, confronts modern-day extremism, and commits herself to protecting an endangered “Library of Light.”
The Runes of Destiny by Christina Courtenay (Headline Review, Dec. 10, 2020) is a Viking time-travel story where a 21st-century woman ends up in the 9th century as thrall to a Viking warrior, who takes her on a journey across the seas to sell her for profit; although she’s determined to find a way back to her own time, there is a connection forming with her captor, and she must try to resist the call of the runes or accept her destiny lies with him.
Set mainly in England and Belgium, The Diamond Courier, second in Hannah Byron‘s The Resistance Girl Series (independently published, Dec. 10, 2020), features Lili Hamilton, daughter of Madeleine de Dragoncourt who appeared in In Picardy’s Fields; a reporter for the communist newspaper The Daily Worker, she ends up smuggling Antwerp Diamonds to London during WW2, until she is caught.
In The London Monster by Donna Scott (Bowker, Jan. 4), set exactly one hundred years before Jack the Ripper terrorizes the people of London, another devil stalks the streets in search of prey, and an underground fighter and an aspiring journalist team up to catch the terrifying villain known as The London Monster.
High Treason at the Grand Hotel by Kelly Oliver (Level Best Books, Historia Imprint, Jan. 5), Book Two in the Fiona Figg Mystery series, features a plucky sleuth and is filled with memorable characters and wonderful suspense.
Symphony Road by Gabriel Valjan (Level Best Books, Historia Imprint, Jan. 12) Book Two in the Shane Cleary series, set in 1970s Boston, features a down-on-his-luck PI, walking the streets of dirty old Boston.
In Johanna Wittenberg’s The Raider Bride, Book 3 in The Norsewomen Series (Shellback Studio, Jan. 29), to gain her inheritance, Ragnhild must sail to Ireland to avenge her father’s death.
The rhythm of Marguerite Martin Gray’s Wait for Me: Revolutionary Faith Book Five (Celebrate Lit Publishing, Feb. 9) beats across the miles, into the prisons, through the shackled town from the heart of God to His war-weighted people in Charles Town, South Carolina in 1777.
Liz Milliron’s The Stories We Tell (Level Best Books, Historia Imprint, Feb. 9), Book Two in the Homefront Mystery series, takes place in Buffalo, New York, during the early years of WWII.
The Turncoat’s Widow by Mally Becker (Level Best Books, Historia Imprint, Feb. 16) is a Revolutionary War mystery featuring Rebecca Parcell and Daniel Alloway, who uncover a plot that threatens the new country’s future.
In The Steel Beneath the Silk (Bellastoria Press, Mar. 2), the final novel in Patricia Bracewell’s 11th century Emma of Normandy Trilogy, discord between England’s queen and king shifts to grudging alliance when a fierce Danish enemy bent on total conquest invades England.
In the Revolution, a British deserter could become a traitor to the Crown by joining the Continental Army and there become a hero; Chains Across the River by Bevis Longstreth (Honeycomb Publishers, Apr. 2) tells the enthralling tale of one such soldier, Captain Thomas Machin, a brilliant engineer of flawed character, born, educated and trained in England, who enlisted in the British Foot and was posted to Boston, where he saw action at Breed’s Hill before deserting to join the Continentals.
Finding Napoleon by Margaret Rodenberg (She Writes Press, Apr. 6), with its intriguing adaptation of Napoleon Bonaparte’s real attempt to write a romantic novel and a rare look at his last love, the audacious Albine de Montholon, offers a fresh take on Europe’s most powerful man after he’s lost everything.
Set in the darkest days of the Spanish civil war, In The Dark by Anamaría Crowe Serrano (Turas Press, May) is a tale of two sisters, and the secret of their house – a deserter from the conflict, hidden deep in the dark – and the woman who dares to protect him.
Renowned psychiatrist Frieda Fromm-Reichmann fled Nazi Germany in 1935; Frieda’s Song by Ellen Prentiss Campbell (Apprentice House Press of Loyola University, May 25) is a tale of the way history and chance, and the work and people we love, shape our lives–and how the past is always present, haunting us.
In 1944, after a war widow befriends a German émigré newly arrived in her small Nebraska town, the two uncover a tragic secret harkening back to the days of World War I and face deadly consequences from an unknown enemy in The Stranger from Berlin by Melissa Amateis (Simon & Schuster UK, Aug. 10).