Chanel Cleeton is known for her fabulous storytelling, often inspired by true events and filled with rich historical detail while weaving in romance. From her first historical fiction novel Next Year in Havana about Cubans exiled in Miami, to her most recent book Our Last Days in Barcelona, Cleeton highlights strong women while creating page-turning drama. When you have finished reading all of her books, here are some titles that share these characteristics.

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By Her Own Design by Piper Huguley

By Her Own Design tells the story of Ann Lowe, the Black woman who designed Jacqueline Kennedy’s bridal gown and bridesmaid dresses. In 1918 Tampa, 12-year-old Ann falls in love with an older man who she later marries. When things turn rocky with him, Ann realizes that her dream of designing dresses may be gone. But Ann is saved when a prominent socialite offers her a job designing clothes for the wealthy Tampa crowd. In 1953, Ann is dealing with damage to her shop which ruins the dresses she so carefully designed for the Kennedy wedding. With only two weeks left until the wedding, she and her seamstresses must work to have the dresses ready to go.

The Chanel Sisters by Judithe Little

Judithe Little chronicles the lives of Antoinette and Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel from their early years at the convent orphanage in Aubazine, France. Their time at the orphanage left a lasting impression on both girls and forged a determination in Coco to create a better life for herself. From the days of their shop on Rue Cambon in Paris to the years after World War 1, Antoinette narrates their story including friendships, romances, and success in the fashion business.

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The Codebreaker’s Secret by Sara Ackerman

After helping crack the German Enigma code, Isabel Cooper is sent to Pearl Harbor’s Station HYPO, its code breaking center, to help break the Japanese Magenta codes that are being grabbed from the airwaves in an attempt to win the war. Angry that her brother was killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor, Isabel believes the only way she can avenge her brother’s death is to crack these codes, but she quickly learns that life may have more in store for her when she meets her brother’s best friend. Two decades later, a young journalist is sent to Hawaii to cover the opening of the Rockefeller’s latest project, the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, and is roped into the hunt for a prominent guest who goes missing.

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The Gown by Jennifer Robson

The Gown is the story of three women who strive to find their place in the world and how each deals with love, loss and family. The book is told in a dual timeline format with Miriam’s and Ann’s stories taking place in 1947 and Heather’s in 2016. In the midst of the harshest winter in memory and shortages still resulting from the war, England welcomes the engagement of Princess Elizabeth to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten. Norman Hartnell is chosen to design her gown, and Miriam and Ann are chosen to help embroider the creation. Years later following her grandmother’s death, Heather uncovers a box with her name on containing some delicately embroidered flowers.

The House of Eve by Sadeqa Johnson

Set in 1950’s Philadelphia, The House of Eve follows Ruby Pearsall, a 15 year old who plans to be the first in her family to head to college. But when she gets drawn into a forbidden relationship, she threatens to destroy her future before it even starts. Meanwhile, Eleanor Quarles moves to Washington, DC where she falls in love with William Pride at Howard University. But William’s family is one of DC’s elite Black families, and his par­ents have other ideas for William. When the two women’s lives unexpectedly collide, they must contend with choices that will impact them both for years to come.

The Last Debutantes by Georgie Blalock

On the cusp of World War 2, Valerie de Vere Cole, daughter of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, is a English debutante participating in one of the last debutante seasons. Realizing that her world is about to be dramatically upended, Valerie wrestles with her own personal issues while also navigating an increasingly stressful political environment. The Last Debutantes is a glimpse into a sparkling and glamorous era on the cusp of a seismic shift.

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Mademoiselle Revolution by Zoe Sivak

The daughter of an enslaved woman and a wealthy landowner, Sylvie de Rosiers lives a privileged lifestyle but never feels like she belongs in Saint Domingue. When the Haitian Revolution commences, she and her brother head to Paris where they unwittingly find themselves enmeshed in another revolution. In Paris, Sylvie encounters both Robespierre and his mistress, each of whom offer her different things. In the midst of the French Revolution, Sylvie must determine what she truly believes and what she is willing to sacrifice for those beliefs.

Miss Del Rio by Bárbara Mujica

Miss Del Rio chronicles the life of famed Hollywood star Dolores Del Rio, whose life spanned a number of pivotal moments in history. Relayed through Mara, Dolores’ fictional hairdresser and close friend, the novel follows Dolores through a meteoric film career in Hollywood, despite the overt racism directed her way, and an intense personal life which included numerous lovers and husbands. When the war intensifies nativism in the United States, Dolores is forced to return to Mexico to continue her career.

Our Woman in Moscow by Beatriz Williams

When the Digby family disappears from their London home without a trace in the early years of the Cold War, the world debates whether they were eliminated by Soviet Intelligence or whether the family defected to Moscow with American Diplomat Sasha Digby’s access to the West’s top secret intel. Four years later, Ruth Macallister receives a letter from twin sister Iris Digby asking her to come to Moscow to visit. Ruth travels to Moscow to help extract the Digbys from the Soviet Union but instead realizes that everything may not be as it seems.

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Sisters of the Great War by Suzanne Feldman

Focusing on the role women played and the sacrifices they made during World War 1, Feldman crafts the tale of two sisters who volunteered at the Belgian Front. Ruth helps out in the medical field hoping to one day become a doctor while her sister Elise, a mechanic, works as an ambulance driver.  Both find love amid the battlefields of World War 1, Ruth with a doctor and Elise with another female ambulance driver.

The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali

Roya and Bahman meet and fall in love in a neighborhood book and stationery shop in 1953 Tehran. The night before their wedding, the pair agree to meet at the town square, but violence breaks out related to a coup d’etat and Bahman disappears. Decades later, a twist of fate reunites the pair and offers Roya the opportunity to question Bahman about his whereabouts over the years, and his seemingly easy ability to disregard their relationship.

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Three Words for Goodbye by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

Estranged sisters Clara and Madeleine agree to set out on a trip together at the request of their dying grandmother Violet and deliver three goodbye letters to friends from Violet’s past. The women make their way across 1937 Europe to Paris, Venice and Vienna amid rising political tensions learning family secrets as they go. When they finish their deliveries, the women plan to leave the turmoil in Europe and head home aboard the Hindenburg.

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Two Wars and a Wedding by Lauren Willig

In September 1896, Smith College graduate Betsy Hayes, an aspiring archaeologist, heads to Athens, eager to work at some of the most renowned excavation sites. But when tensions between Greece and Turkey escalate, Betsy’s archaeological sites are turned into battlefields, where she finds herself caring for the wounded. In June 1898 at the start of Spanish-American war, Betsy is anxiously trying to track down her ex-best friend Ava to make amends with her. When Betsy learns Ava might be with the Red Cross in Cuba, Betsy joins the Red Cross as well and accompanies Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders there in hopes of finding Ava.

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