New books by Historical Novel Society members, February 2023
Below is a listing of our author members’ newest publications – congratulations to all! If you’ve written a historical novel or nonfiction work published (or to be published) in November 2022 or after, send the following details to compiler Sarah Johnson via our contact form or @readingthepast by April 7: author, title, publisher, release date, and a blurb of one sentence or less. Space is limited, so concise blurbs are appreciated. Details will appear in May’s magazine. Submissions may be edited.
In Hardland (She Writes, Sept. 13, 2022), Ashley E. Sweeney introduces an unconventional cowgirl who battles abuse, misogyny, and economic challenges as she strives to provide for herself and her sons in 1899 Arizona Territory. HNS calls the novel a “stunning portrayal, both compelling and memorable.”
Set in a small town on Lake Ontario, The Last Secret by Pam Royl (Blue Denim Press, Sept. 15, 2022) reveals the dark underbelly of a genteel Victorian town and explores the insidious power of secrets.
P.A. De Voe’s Justice Delayed, Justice Denied (Drum Tower Press, Sept. 22, 2022) follows doctor Xiang-hua and scholar Shu-chang‘s search for a mysterious killer in 14th-century China, a quest that will set them against each other and force them to question whether, this time, the price of justice is too high.
Scottish Hebrides, 1396: Euphemia MacPhee’s reclusive life shatters the day she learns that her fostered child has been mysteriously poisoned; her attempts to save her son and solve this mystery endanger her own life in The Suicide Skull by Susan McDuffie (Liafinn Press, September 23, 2022).
Young Kansas schoolteacher Carla Curby is thrilled to spend the summer of 1928 in the Los Angeles area, where she meets an intriguing painter and is caught up in Bohemian lives of artists and the conventional lives of her hostesses in Such Stuff as Dreams by Judith Copek (Wings ePress, Oct. 2022).
What if a seventeen-year-old Iowa girl meets a German prisoner of war, and what if they fall in love? Read more in Sally Jameson Bond’s My Mother’s Friend (Independently published, Oct. 6, 2022).
Home News: A Novel of 1928, by JD Solomon (Independently published, Oct. 10, 2022), is the story of bootleggers, a trouble-prone war veteran, a cub reporter at a struggling small-town newspaper, and a popular police lieutenant assigned to a case that no one wants solved.
In 1900, a quiet village offers no comfort for widowed undertaker, Carrie Lisbon, whose discovery of a brutal murder of a young woman leads to horrific family secrets in Chris Keefer’s No Comfort for the Undertaker (Level Best Books/Historia, Oct. 11, 2022).
“With Chasing Justice (Acorn Publishing, Oct. 17, 2022), accomplished historical novelist G.J. Berger makes an impressive debut in the conspiracy thriller genre; in a league with the best of Grisham and Baldacci,” writes Dan Pollock, author of Lair of the Fox and Duel of Assassins.
James L. Sweeney’s novel, Chatoyer: Freedom’s War Chief (Book Baby, Oct. 23, 2022) recounts the career of Joseph Chatoyer, St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ national hero, and his efforts in the late 18th century to resist the British Empire’s attempts to acquire the homeland of the Black Caribs, the last indigenous Caribbean Island people to fight to maintain their territory.
In Kirsteen M. MacKenzie’s La Garde Ecossaise: The Life of John Hamilton c.1620-1689: Part 1 (History Gateway Limited, Oct. 24, 2022), a secret war rages between Louis XIV and William of Orange, a conflict which threatens the stability and security of France and a fight that will determine the future of Europe; only John Hamilton and his men in La Garde Ecossaise can protect the French realm.
As the drumbeats of coming war echo around England, Gideon Lennox, an idealistic young lawyer, is drawn into the affairs of Philip Lord, a notorious mercenary commander with a reputation for brutality gained in the wars raging across Europe, in The Mercenary’s Blade by Eleanor Swift-Hook (Sharpe Books, Oct. 25, 2022).
In Eleanor Swift-Hook’s The Traitor’s Apprentice (Sharpe Books, Oct. 25, 2022), now serving with Philip Lord’s company as they occupy the manor house of Wrathby in Ryedale, Gideon Lennox is confronted with the suspicious death of a servant—and talk of a curse which has afflicted the family for generations.
Signum, Book 1 of The Serpents of Caesar historical fantasy series by T.R. Burgess (Equus House Books, Oct. 29) is set in an alternate first century Roman Empire where Praetorian Guard Verendus receives a mysterious plea to deliver a sealed box – is he risking his life to convey evidence of a conspiracy against the emperor, or is there something more sinister inside the box?
October 1925, Gloucester, Massachusetts: When jazz singer Lizzie Crane accepts an invitation to perform at a Halloween party in a creepy castle, she has no idea she’ll be trapped in a world with real witches, wizards, ghosts, fortune-tellers––and a murderer, in Skye Alexander’s What the Walls Know (Level Best, Nov. 1, 2022).
The Hunt for the Peggy C by John Winn Miller (Bancroft Press, Nov. 1, 2022) is a World War II thriller about an American smuggler who rescues a Jewish family from Amsterdam, infuriating his cargo ship’s crew of misfits and triggering a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with a deranged U-boat captain bent on revenge.
The story from The Traitor’s Apprentice (see above) continues in Eleanor Swift-Hook’s The Devil’s Command (Sharpe Books, Nov. 8, 2022), as the war between King Charles and his Parliament reaches a watershed while the clash of ideologies becomes a clash of armies on the battlefield of Edgehill and former lawyer, Gideon Lennox, finds himself an unwilling participant fighting in the king’s army alongside Philip Lord.
In In the Shadow of Alexander by historian Makis Aperghis, a young Macedonian cavalryman’s life becomes entwined with that of Alexander the Great during his campaign of conquest to India and back; but as the setting changes, so too do the characters of the two men and their relationship (Independently published, Nov. 9, 2022).
Mask of Dreams by Leigh Grant (Independently published, Nov. 13, 2022) evokes the world of 15th century Venice, where, after a failed betrothal, a letter containing a concept of beauty meant to manage suitors falls into the hands of a Slav brigand, who, though scarred, seeks to enter into a marriage of wealth and privilege by means of a lifelike mask only to find himself trapped in his disguise.
Eric Pope’s Granite Kingdom (Rootstock Publishing, Nov. 29, 2022), set in a northern Vermont village in 1910, features a weekly newspaper reporter who looks for the culprit behind murderous industrial sabotage at the country’s largest supplier of finished granite for construction.
In the dual-timeline narrative, The Lost Legacy of Gabriel Tucci by Joan Mora (Pillar & Bridge Press, Dec. 1, 2022), driven by artistic ambition and romantic obsession, an Italian architect flees with his forbidden love from 19th-century Trastevere to London, where a rival architect and his merciless wife scheme to ruin them; generations later, a new rivalry emerges between their descendants when an art restorer unearths haunting artifacts inside the church.
In Festival of the Oppressed (Ocean Reeve Publishing, Dec. 23, 2022) by Alastair Wallace, set in the 13th-century, two itinerant musicians travel to Flanders in search of patronage but find a county in turmoil as weavers fight to improve their conditions.
Set during the 1919 Boston Molasses Flood, Molasses in a Nutshell by Frances McNamara (Level Best Books/Historia, Jan. 10) is the first in a series that features Frances Glessner Lee, working with Dr. George McGrath, in fictionalized stories inspired by the miniatures for which Lee became known as the Mother of Forensic Science.
Friendship is in the air, ale is on tap, and mystery is afoot in Elizabeth R. Andersen’s The Alewives (Haeddre Press, Jan. 16), the first book in a series of cozy medieval mysteries featuring three plucky women and a Franciscan monk (their trusty sidekick).
Multiple assassins attempt to kill Theodore Roosevelt on his dangerous visit to the Canal in 1906 – the first time a U.S. President traveled abroad while in office in Path of Peril by Marlie Wasserman (Level Best Books/Historia, Jan. 17).
Norway, AD 824: When a plague falls on Tromøy, Åsa desperately seeks a cure; she must travel alone to the dark world deep underground, a place from which mortals never return: The realm of Hel herself, in The Queen of Hel, book 5 in the Norsewomen Series by Johanna Wittenberg (Shellback Studio, Jan. 21).
Lay This Body Down, the third Gideon Stoltz mystery, by Charles Fergus, takes place in 1837 in the Pennsylvania backcountry, as Sheriff Stoltz must investigate a murder along with the likely kidnapping of free people of color to be sold into slavery; Stoltz also tries to protect a boy who has fled north from a Virginia plantation – and pays dearly for his principles (Skyhorse/Arcade, Feb. 7).
Daughter of the Last King, Book I in Tracey Warr’s Conquest trilogy (Meanda Books, Mar. 1), is set at the beginning of the 12th century and centres on the turbulent life of Welsh noblewoman Nest ferch Rhys and the reign of the Norman king, Henry I.
The Last Saxon King by Andrew Varga (Imbrifex Books, Mar. 7) is a YA Historical Fiction that follows the adventures of sixteen-year-old Dan Renfrew when he accidentally travels back in time to England in 1066 and discovers that the only way to return home is to fix a time stream that has become horribly messed up.
In Larry Zuckerman’s debut novel, Lonely Are the Brave (Cynren Press, Apr. 11), a working-class war hero upends his Washington logging town in 1919 by turning full-time father and trading wartime secrets with the timber baron’s daughter—the wife of his former lieutenant.
In Muskets and Masquerades by Lindsey Fera (Pompkin Press, Apr. 18), a continuation of the Muskets trilogy, set against the backdrop of the American Revolution, Jack and Annalisa are separated in a shipwreck and each believe the other dead, until they’re reunited in circumstances that threaten to part them again, forever.
In Ana Veciana Suarez’s Dulcinea (Blackstone, May 2), Miguel de Cervantes sends a deathbed plea to the woman who served as his muse for Don Quixote—but will this wealthy Barcelona matron make it across a bandit-infested, Inquisition-controlled Spain in time to confess a lifelong secret?
The Isolated Seance is the first book in Jeri Westerson‘s new An Irregular Detective Mystery series (Severn House, June), in which one of Sherlock Holmes’ Baker Street Irregulars, now a young man, opens his own detective agency, but finds that working in Holmes’ shadow only gets him out-flanked and a step behind… until he finds a case Holmes won’t take.
In Christine Fallert Kessides‘ Magda, Standing, a teen from an immigrant German family in Pittsburgh, determined to complete her education and escape the confines of home and tradition, finds that nursing with the Red Cross in the Great War and during a pandemic transforms her sense of self and community (Bold Story Press, June 2).