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This list is filled with novels that will evoke various emotions and transport you to another time and place. You’re bound to be completely immersed and forget you’re reading once you pick up any of these summer 2023 historical fiction titles.
Don’t miss the most anticipated historical fiction coming out in all of 2023>>
The East Indian by Brinda Charry (5/2)
A captivating debut novel inspired by the first native of the Indian subcontinent to arrive in Colonial America. Tony’s life is uprooted when he is kidnapped and arrives in Jamestown, Virginia. Forced into indentured servitude, Tony integrates into this New World and is struck by the injustices. This novel explores race, class, identity and belonging through a distinctive perspective.
Long Gone Come Home by Monica Chenault-Kilgore (6/6)
Beginning in the 1930’s jazz era, moving to the Great Depression, and then the Civil Rights movement, Birdie Jennings is determined to leave her small town of Mt. Sterling, Kentucky. When Birdie meets Jimmy Walker, he promises to show Birdie how life should be lived, but soon after they marry, Jimmy leaves for work and never returns. Left without options, Birdie finds her way back to her small town, but this time with two children. Just as she’s getting back to her routine, Birdie witnesses a murder and flees Mt. Sterling for good.
A Right Worthy Woman by Ruth P. Watson (6/13)
A Right Worthy Woman brings to light the untold story of Maggie Lena Walker, the first Black woman to charter a bank and serve as a bank president. It takes readers on a remarkable young woman’s journey to define her own path after observing the wealth gap between Black and white individuals. Set in the nineteenth century, this novel is rich with detail including influential figures like W.E.B. DuBois and Mary McLeod, and delivers an emotional impact.
The Last Life Boat by Hazel Gaynor (6/13)
Inspired by a gut-wrenching true story, Alice King is a schoolteacher determined to contribute to the war; helping Britain’s schoolchildren traverse the treacherous seas as the threat of a German invasion becomes inevitable is the least she can do. Meanwhile, Lily Nichols is faced with an impossible decision: keep her children close and endure the uncertainty of war or enroll them in an evacuation scheme.
The First Ladies by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray (6/27)
Inspired by the unlikely friendship between First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and Civil Rights Activist Mary McLeod Bethune, this book is another incredible read by this writing duo. Mary McLeaod Bethune is a force to be reckoned with as she fiercely resists white supremacists and garners national attention including the President of the United States. Eleanor Roosevelt is inspired by Bethune’s tenacity and is eager to make her acquaintance. The pair foster a genuine friendship that is quickly threatened when Franklin Delano Roosevelt is elected president, but this only strengthens their fight for justice and equality.
The Paris Agent by Kelly Rimmer (7/11)
A page-turning historical thriller following two female undercover operatives whose lives are irrevocably changed when a double agent joins their ranks. It has been twenty-five years since the war, and British secret operative Noah Ainsworth cannot stop thinking about the undercover SOE agent who saved his life in occupied France. His memories of this fateful day and the identity of that agent are gone, and he cannot help but wonder whether she survived the war. As Noah’s daughter begins investigating who this mysterious woman who saved her father’s life could be, she stumbles across answers that reveal an unsettling truth.
Escape to Florence by Kat Devereaux (7/11)
A riveting debut novel spanning the Second World War and present-day, following two women decades apart whose lives intertwine in Florence, Italy. Stella Infuriati is the youngest member of her town’s resistance group relaying messages, supplies and weapons. But in 1945, Stella disappears. Now in the spring of 2019, Tori MacNair escapes to Florence leaving her toxic marriage. And as she investigates her family history, Tori discovers shocking secrets of the past.
Crook Manifesto by Colson Whitehead (7/18)
Colson Whitehead is back with the second book in the Harlem saga following Ray Carney as he tries to distance himself from his past shyster ways and focus on his thriving business. That is until he needs Jackson 5 tickets for his daughter. Contacting his old police contact, Mason, comes with a complicated exchange that may be deadly.
Counting Lost Stars by Kim Van Alkemade (7/18)
A poignant dual-perspective historical fiction novel following college student, Rita Klein, in 1960 in New York City and punch-card operator, Cornelia Vogel, in 1941 in The Hague. Rita could not have predicted that giving her newborn up for adoption would connect her with a Dutch Holocaust survivor and contribute to his quest for his lost mother.
The Woman in the Castello by Kelsey James (7/25)
This is an emotional dual perspective set in Rome in 1965, filled with family secrets, forbidden love, and unrelenting ambition. Silvia Whitford arrives from Los Angeles with ambitions of becoming a leading actress, but the show she was cast in has been canceled. Determined to not return to the U.S. empty handed, Silvia seeks out her Italian aunt she’s never met.
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