I am a huge fan of historical fiction. I go through phases of history the way most people go through fashion trends or current-favorite lipstick colors. The sheer joy found in discovering a new time period or culture through a novel is abundant. As I trolled the deal announcements, press releases, and tip sheets for the new releases this fall season, I was absolutely thrilled to see so many historic novels set in entirely unique contexts–nary a Tudor in sight! Not that I don’t enjoy a good courtesan romp, but they’ve been done. And done. And redone. These eight new releases coming out this fall all explore different periods of history and a range of cultures. Join me in diving into old worlds this season, will you?
- The Last Midwife (releases September 29, 2015) A little bit post-Civil War Wild West, a little bit murder mystery, The Last Midwife has all the makings of an enthralling read. Author Sandra Dallas lives in Denver, adding a special connection of place from the writer to the reader.
- Along the Infinite Sea (releases November 3, 2015) Set in the 1960s, Along the Infinite Sea finds the Schuyler sisters sorting themselves out. Right smack dab in the Feminist movement of the ’60s, author Beatriz Williams has chosen the perfect setting for an engaging finding-your-inner-strength, female-driven story.
- All the Stars in the Heavens (releases October 13, 2015) Classic Hollywood glamor takes center stage in this 1930s era story of a young, ambitious actress navigating the world of the silver screen.
- After Alice (releases October 27, 2015) I have to admit that seeing Gregory Maguire’s name on this project gave me pause. While I adore the musical version of his Wicked, I simply couldn’t get through the book (I dropped out somewhere around the bestiality scenes. Even for a sci-fi fan like me, it was just too strange). However, the premise behind After Alice is simply too good to pass up. After Alice follows what happens to Alice’s community after Alice disappeared down the rabbit hole.
- The Explorers Guild (releases October 20, 2015) Now, this one is truly an interesting publishing experiment. The Explorers Guild not only blurs the line between young adult fiction and general historical fiction, it also blurs the lines between book and movie. Kevin Costner’s epic adventure novel is also set to become a movie Costner plans to produce and star in. We all know the book is always better, but when the book is written with the big screen in mind? Could this be the future of original stories? I kinda love it.
- Twain’s End (releases October 13, 2015) The super nerd in me absolutely loves Mark Twain’s multi-giant-volume autobiography. Whether you think his move to publish his autobiography 100 years after his death was arrogant, brilliant, or just cheeky, you have to admit it worked. What does that behest–let alone his many works–teach us about the man? Author Lynn Cullen takes us into the fictional head of Mark Twain to help all of us get a better (if complete conjecture) look at one of history’s most beloved characters.
- The Japanese Lover (releases November 3, 2015) Covering both WWII-era Poland and San Francisco through the late 20th century, author Isabel Allende tells the tale of star-crossed lovers over generations.
- The Secret Chord (releases October 6, 2015)Author Geraldine Brooks takes on one of the biggest characters in The Secret Chord: David. Yes, that David. While the documented history of an ancient Israelite King David is not uncontested, the legend of David has certainly survived enough cultures, faiths, and centuries to be considered a worthy exploration of historical fiction.