Feature Image Credit: @bookmarked
Historical fiction is continuing to experience a boom, and 2022 is going to be a banner year for the genre. There are still so many stories to be told across history, and I am thrilled to see some of them making their way into the world. I chose titles from various eras and places; these stories are set all over including, but not limited to India, Mexico, Chile and Italy and cover various time periods in the past. I hope you enjoy just the start of these most anticipated historical fiction titles of 2022! We’ll be adding more as 2022 goes on.
Hotel Portofino by J. P. O’Connell (January 18, 2022)
If you’re a fan of Downtown Abbey or The Crown you’re sure to love this newest release by J.P. O’Connell. Hotel Portofino tells the story of a British family on the Italian Riviera during the Roaring Twenties. It isn’t all luxury and leisure for Bella Ainsworth and her family: they have just opened a high-class hotel on the Riviera and their guests can be hard to please. While Bella and her husband struggle to maintain their marriage, Bella’s children are finding their footing in a post-World War I world. The magic and beauty of the Italian Riviera makes for the perfect background as the family adjusts to Italian culture and life and searches for love and liberation.
Her Hidden Genius by Marie Benedict (January 25, 2022)
In line with her previous novels, Benedict returns with a book highlighting a woman whose story remains largely unknown. Rosalind Franklin was a scientist whose role in deciphering the double helix structure of human DNA was co-opted by the men working with her, who eventually won the Nobel Prize for DNA research. She began working in Parisian laboratories and then London universities as she sought to delve into physics and chemistry and then ultimately to uncover the mysteries of DNA. Benedict breaks down the science for the reader while bringing to life a woman whose incredible discoveries were hidden by the men around her.
Violeta by Isabel Allende (January 25, 2022)
Told in letters from Violeta to her grandson Camilo, this book chronicles the extraordinary life of a 100-year old Chilean woman who has survived 2 pandemics, 2 world wars, and the myriad of events that occurred in the 20th century. Born on a stormy day in 1920 to a family with five lively sons, Violeta is a force of nature who depicts the decades in beautiful letters that bring to life her family, loves, losses and the historic events taking place around her. This epic saga will transport the reader across a century of family drama and intense historical and political events.
The Magnolia Palace by Fiona Davis (January 25, 2022)
Fiona Davis sets each of her books in an iconic New York City building, and this one takes place at the Gilded Age home of industrialist Henry Frick. Using a dual timeline format, Davis toggles between 1919, when the Frick family still lives there, and 1966, when the home has become the magnificent Frick Collection, a museum still in operation today. In the later timeline, a Vogue photoshoot is occurring, and when one of the models is fired along with a museum curator, they stumble across a hidden message that leads them on a hunt that uncovers the truth about a murder that occurred at the Frick years earlier.
The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont
Nina de Gramont’s The Christie Affair is a beguiling novel of star-crossed lovers, heartbreak, revenge, and murder―and a brilliant re-imagination of one of the most talked-about unsolved mysteries of the twentieth century. The book is told through the eyes of Miss Nan O’Dea, who became Archie Christie’s mistress and re-imagines what happened during Agatha Christie’s 11-day disappearance.
Sisters of Night and Fog by Erika Robuck (March 1, 2022)
Sisters of Night and Fog follows two women in Europe whose contributions to the war effort during World War 2 have been largely forgotten. Virginia is an American married to a Frenchman who helps downed soldiers escape her new country. Violette is recruited by the British Special Operations Executive because she is a crack shot. Their journeys come together when both courageous women are sent to Ravensbruck Concentration Camp where they fight to survive in hopes of rejoining their families following the war. Told in memories on a return trip to Ravensbruck, the novel highlights the impact of these women’s bravery on the people they worked to save during the war.
A Ballad of Love and Glory by Reyna Grande (March 15, 2022)
Set against the backdrop of the Mexican-American War, this expansive epic saga follows Ximena, a Mexican army nurse, and John Riley, a disillusioned Irish soldier who deserted the American army to fight on behalf of the Mexican forces. Following her husband’s death at the hands of Texas rangers, Ximena leaves her home to treat injured soldiers on the various battlefields. Riley joins up with other American deserters to form the St. Patrick’s Battalion to protect Mexico from northern intrusion. When they meet on the battlefield, the unlikely pair find themselves drawn to each other.
The Wedding Veil by Kristy Woodson Harvey (March 29, 2022)
A wedding veil with connections to the Vanderbilt family ties four generations of women together in this dual timeline tale. In 1914, Edith Vanderbilt struggles to maintain the enormous Biltmore Estate following her husband’s unexpected death. As she tries to prepare her daughter Cornelia to inherit the beautiful property, Cornelia decides she may want to pursue her own dreams. In the present-day story, Julia Baxter is having second thoughts about her wedding and flees to the Virgin Islands to ponder her options while her grandmother Babs is having her own relationship crisis. When Julia and Babs learn the origins of their heirloom wedding veil, their lives and family history are forever altered.
The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn (March 29, 2022)
Based on a true story, The Diamond Eye tells the story of Mila Pavlichenko, a Russian bookworm who ultimately becomes the world’s deadliest female sniper, nicknamed “Lady Death”. Following her 300th kill, news of her shooting prowess catapults her into the spotlight, and she is sent on a goodwill tour to the United States where she befriends First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. But when two enemies unite to destroy her, Mila finds herself caught up in a deadly struggle to survive.
Four Treasures of the Sky by Jenny Tinghui Zhang (April 5, 2022)
Stolen from her home country of China and taken to the United States to work in a brothel, Daiyu arrives in the 1880s American West and has to find her way in a foreign land. Reinventing herself again and again, Daiyu works to outrun her past, even disguising herself as a boy to avoid abuse on the streets. When intense anti-Chinese immigrant feeling travels across the country, Daiyu relies on her previous selves to survive the ever-growing racism and violence.
The Lives of Diamond Bessie by Jody Hadlock (April 5, 2022)
This is a story of redemption and betrayal, revenge and survival. When sixteen-year-old Annie Moore becomes pregnant out of wedlock, she is sent to live in a convent where she gives birth to a daughter. Before Annie can settle into motherhood, the nuns take her daughter away and Annie has no choice but to escape the convent, determined to find her baby. However, life in the 1860s can be unforgiving for women like Annie and affords little opportunities for women in her situation. Desperate to survive, Annie becomes a prostitute and earns a reputation that brings her some economic stability. She marries the son of a wealthy jeweler, and believes she has finally gained social status. But a shocking betrayal by her husband again turns Annie’s world upside down. Yet, filled with determination and a will to survive, Annie is not one to let others decide how her story ends.
Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez (April 12, 2022)
In this dual timeline story, Civil Townsend hopes to make a difference in her community by working as a nurse at the Montgomery Family Planning Clinic in 1970s Alabama and serving those desperately in need of care. But when one of her first jobs involves putting 11 and 13-year-old girls on birth control when neither girl has even kissed a boy, Civil is compelled to fight this injustice. Years later, Dr. Townsend is ready to retire but these stories from her past refuse to stay hidden.
The Good Left Undone by Adriana Trigiani (April 26, 2022)
Based on a true story, this dual-timeline saga spans 100 years while chronicling four generations of strong, fierce Italian women and their loves, losses, secrets and heartaches. Relayed through the matriarchs’ flashbacks, the story depicts the fallout from the sinking of the Arandora Star by a German U-boat and all that follows as a result. As the two timelines come together, long-buried and surprising secrets are revealed as Trigiani addresses the universal themes of identity and belonging.
Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel (April 26, 2022)
Kaikeyi is the queen in Ramayana, the ancient Hindu epic that is one of the largest ancient texts in world literature. This book reimagines her life as a young woman trying to make her way in a male and god-dominated world. As she grows from an underrated princess to a fierce diplomat and revered queen, her relationship with her family suffers. Eventually, she is forced to choose between following her own path or the path selected for her.
The Blue Butterfly by Leslie Johansen Nack (May 3, 2022)
Enter the lavish world of William Randolph Hearst, Hollywood’s Golden Age, and the life of a young woman finding success in life and love. In The Blue Butterfly, Marion Davies is a young and talented Broadway dancer who begins an affair with William Randolph Hearst. He is determined to help Marion become a successful actress and she is captivated by his passion, wealth and eccentricities. Marion and Hearst have a long love affair, and she learns to live as his mistress, eventually giving birth to his daughter in secret. When Hearst gets into financial trouble during the Depression, Marion is the only one willing to loan him the money that will save him. Now, the upcoming release of the film Citizen Kane threatens to invalidate everything Marion has worked so hard to achieve. Hearst and Marion must face this new threat together.
Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner (May 17, 2022)
In 1950s London, Bloomsbury Books, a bookstore that sells new and rare books and that has existed for over a century, is run by men and guided by the general manager’s 51 rules. But following World War 2, three strong women working at the store strive to modernize the store’s ways and chart their own paths in a male-dominated world. Interacting with literary greats such as Daphne de Maurier, Ellen Doubleday, Peggy Guggenheim and more, these three women push the boundaries of the early 1950s.