New books by Historical Novel Society members, May 2022
Congrats to the following author members on their new releases! If you’ve written a historical novel or nonfiction work published (or to be published) in March or after, please send the following details in via our contact form or tweet @readingthepast by July 7: author, title, publisher, release date, and a blurb of one sentence or less. Details will appear in August’s magazine. Submissions may be edited.
Based on a true story of a unique friendship from 1840s New York, The Prisoner’s Apprentice by Cheyenne Richards (Betterest Books, Aug 24, 2021), follows young Albert Jarvis as he befriends Edward Rulloff, a physician, professor, linguist fluent in 27 languages—and serial killer.
In Commissar: A Novel of Civil War Russia by D. V. Chernov (Troubador, Nov. 28, 2021), set in 1918 Moscow, Anna Sokolova is a CHEKA agent who works with a young American WWI veteran to hunt down a British spy; but as the political tide turns, Anna must decide the price she is willing to pay to save her country and not lose herself in the process.
In Victorian Edinburgh, Reverend Frederick Black is held in high esteem, but is he as virtuous as he seems or is he hiding a guilty secret? This is the premise of Mary Grundberg’s The Divine (Corrennie Press, Dec. 6, 2021).
A frantic letter from Lydia’s sister sends her and husband Will Rees to Boston in the winter of 1801, as Lydia’s father has been accused of murder, in Murder, Sweet Murder by Eleanor Kuhns (Severn House, Jan. 1).
Lisa M. Lane’s Before the Time Machine (Grousable Books, Jan.) is a dual-timeline literary novel about a present-day historian researching H. G. Wells, young Wells becoming an author during the 19th century, and the conversation they have across time and space.
The Romanovs were one of history’s most successful dynasties – but at what cost? Read more in Tamar Anolic’s Tales of the Romanov Empire (Independently published, Jan. 22).
Set in first-century Israel, Masada: Thou Shalt Not Kill (MarbleStone Press, Feb. 1) by Shimon Avish, first in a series about ancient Jewish history, tells about Daniel, the son of a Temple priest kidnapped by assassins and forced to live with them on Masada, where he must choose to live as he was raised or adapt to the assassins’ code—until the Romans arrive and besiege Masada.
In A Coat Dyed Black (Legacy House Press, Feb. 1), Don Pugnetti Jr. transforms a young Norwegian farmer into a courageous resistance fighter after Nazi Germany invades his homeland and steals his way of life.
Third in her Choosers of the Slain trilogy, Ann Chamberlin’s Twilight of the Gods (Epigraph Books, Feb. 8) has battle-lord Odin amassing all his divine power against rebellious Brynhild and Thora, his former Valkyries.
In Rex Griffin‘s Moon of Black Hearts (Frontier on Fire Publishing, Feb. 15), Shad, a young slave of Muscogee/Creek Indians, becomes the warrior he never wanted to be when he runs for his freedom—straight into the butchery of the Civil War as it rips through Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma).
In Lord of the Eyrie by Katerina Dunne (Historium Press, Feb. 15), set in 15th-century Hungary, a Transylvanian nobleman’s struggle to balance his duty to protect his land from his relatives’ greedy hands and his duty to defend his country on the battlefield will come at a terrible cost.
The historical fantasy novel The Hidden Saint by Mark Levenson (Level Best Books-New Arc Imprint, Feb. 22) takes readers to a world they’ve never encountered before, in which the vast sweep of Jewish myth and magic is completely real.
S. Pitt reveals the human tragedy behind the colonization of Tasmania in Trouwerner (Firsthale, Feb. 28), a meticulously researched series of sixteen short stories chronicling the lives of one indigenous man and his kin from 1791 to 1835.
Jane and Annie meet in 1845, at the start of the Irish Famine; they know the value of friendship and join forces to survive against a backdrop of famine, disease and cruel colonial rule. This is the premise of Bridget Walsh’s Daughters of the Famine Road (Amazon, Mar.)
In A Kind and Savage Place by Richard Helms (Level Best Books-New Arc Imprint, Mar. 1), spanning half a century from 1952-1989, three teenagers are unwilling participants in a horrific event; the story examines the era’s dramatic racial and societal turmoil through the lens of one North Carolina agricultural community.
In Murder at Old St. Thomas’s by Lisa M. Lane (Grousable Books, Mar. 6), a traditional Victorian mystery, the body of a famous surgeon is found, sitting upright, in an old operating theatre, and the bookish Inspector Slaughter must discover the killer with the help of his American sergeant Mark Honeycutt and clues from Nightingale nurses, surgeon’s dressers, devious apothecaries, and even stage actors.
In Lady Odelia’s Secret by Jane Steen (Aspidistra Press, Mar. 7), second in the Scott-De Quincy Mysteries set in 1880s Sussex, Lady Helena Whitcombe’s artist sister Odelia suggests a magnificent commission to make her mark on Whitcombe House; Odelia’s bohemian world is built on fantasy and fairy tales, but shocking events expose the destructive reality of a great artist’s unusual lifestyle and a long-held secret.
In Deadly Broadcast, #8 in Kate Parker’s Deadly Series (JDP Press, Mar. 8), during the blackout in the early days of WWII, newspaperwoman Livvy is headed to Broadcasting House when she trips over the murdered body of a universally hated BBC engineer, a man reporting on the IRA for Britain’s spymaster.
Beheld: Godiva’s Story by Christopher M. Cevasco (Lethe Press, Apr. 10) is a darkly twisted psychological thriller set in 11th-century England, exploring the legend of Lady Godiva’s naked ride.
Set in Renaissance-era Greece and focusing on a gifted woman artist, a ruthless Scottish privateer, and an audacious plan that throws them together with dangerous consequences, Sea of Shadows (Artelan Press, Apr. 12) is book 2 in Amy Maroney’s trilogy of stand-alone novels, Sea and Stone Chronicles.
A pair of resilient Southern sisters face separation and trauma at the hands of their sociopathic stepmother in Tapestry: A Lowcountry Rapunzel by Sophia Alexander (Onalex Books, Apr 16), sequel to the award-winning, turn-of-the-20th-century novel about their birth mother, Silk: Caroline’s Story.
Robert N. Macomber ‘s newest Honor Series title, Code of Honor: A Peter Wake Novel (U.S. Naval Institute Press, Apr. 15), the 16th installment, is the story of how Asia and the world were forever changed by the Russo-Japanese War, how the U.S. Navy’s view of Japan changed from amused respect to growing worry, and how the foundation for today’s tensions in Asia were laid in 1904.
In Frances Finkel and the Passenger Pigeon by D. M. Mahoney (Red Cardinal Writing LLC, Apr. 17), a young aviator and her homing pigeon join the war effort in this debut novel set in 1940s Oregon.
Maya Rodale‘s The Mad Girls of New York (Berkley, Apr. 26) is based on the true story of Nellie Bly, the Gilded Age’s most sensational stunt girl reporter who feigned insanity, got herself committed and escaped to write a shocking exposé.
Set during the Great Depression and inspired by the people who once lived in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Sheila Myers’ The Truth of Who You Are (Black Rose Writing, Apr. 28) is a saga that explores the lengths that people will go to protect their home and family.
Alan Fisk‘s novel Cupid and the Silent Goddess, set in the art world of sixteenth-century Florence, is being republished this month by Page d’Or Books. The original edition was reviewed in HNR 27.
In And by Fire (Crooked Lane, May 10) by Evie Hawtrey (aka Sophie Perinot), two extraordinary female detectives, tempered by fire and separated by centuries, track a pair of murderous geniuses who will burn the world for their art; this dual-timeline mystery features the 1666 Great Fire of London and crimes committed therein.
In Shadow of the Eagle (Canelo, May 26), Book I in The Borderlands series by Amanda Cockrell writing as Damion Hunter, Faustus Valerianus, son of a Roman father and a British mother, joins legendary general Agricola’s campaign to conquer the entirety of the British Isles, culminating in a devastating battle amongst Caledonia’s dark mountains, but Faustus must carry with him the call of his mother’s true people and his father’s restless shadow.
In Catherine Kullmann’s Lady Loring’s Dilemma (Willow Books, May 27), the eponymous, erring heroine has been banished by her wrathful husband and forbidden any contact with her daughter, Chloe; when Sir Edward refuses to relent and allow Delia to return home, her first love, Lord Stephen FitzCharles offers her a new life on the continent, but will this mean losing Chloe forever?
Robert Nolin’s Charani’s Dream (Blue Bin Press, Jun. 9) explores the dawn of modern psychiatry, when two doctors make an astonishing discovery that will alter the course of medical history in this powerful novel of a time when the self was still a mystery, and magic was real.
In Rilla Askew’s Prize for the Fire (Univ. of Oklahoma Press, Sep. 22), fifteen-year-old Anne Askew is determined to free herself from the cruel strictures of her married life; but this is the England of Henry VIII, where religion and politics are dangerously entangled, and a young woman of Anne’s fierce independence, Reformist faith, uncanny command of plainspoken scripture, and—not least—connections to Queen Katheryn Parr’s court cannot long escape official notice, or censure.
Kris Waldherr’s Unnatural Creatures (Muse Publications, Oct. 4) is a gothic reimagining of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein from the perspectives of the three women closest to Victor Frankenstein: his mother Caroline, fiancée Elizabeth, and servant Justine.