2015 Historical Fiction Releases


The Dream Lover
by Elizabeth Berg

Pub Date: April 7, 2015
Random House
Hardcover; 368p

A passionate and powerful novel based on the scandalous life of the French novelist George Sand, her famous lovers, untraditional Parisian lifestyle, and bestselling novels in Paris during the 1830s and 40s. This major departure for bestseller Berg is for readers of Nancy Horan and Elizabeth Gilbert.

George Sand was a 19th century French novelist known not only for her novels but even more for her scandalous behavior. After leaving her estranged husband, Sand moved to Paris where she wrote, wore men’s clothing, smoked cigars, and had love affairs with famous men and an actress named Marie. In an era of incredible artistic talent, Sand was the most famous female writer of her time. Her lovers and friends included Frederic Chopin, Gustave Flaubert, Franz Liszt, Eugene Delacroix, Victor Hugo, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and more. In a major departure, Elizabeth Berg has created a gorgeous novel about the life of George Sand, written in luminous prose, with exquisite insight into the heart and mind of a woman who was considered the most passionate and gifted genius of her time.

The Mapmaker's Children
by Sarah McCoy

Pub Date: May 5, 2015
Crown Publishing Group
Hardcover; 320p

By New York Times bestselling author Sarah McCoy, a poignant and ultimately uplifting story about the power of community to nurture and strengthen us through the generations.

When Sarah Brown, daughter of abolitionist John Brown, realizes that her artistic talents may help save the lives of slaves fleeing north, she becomes one of the Underground Railroad’s leading secret mapmakers, taking her cues from slave code quilts and hiding her maps within her paintings. She boldly embraces this calling after being told the shocking news that she can’t bear children, but as the country steers toward bloody civil war, Sarah faces difficult sacrifices that could put all she loves in peril.

Eden, a modern woman desperate to conceive a child with her husband, moves to an old house in the suburbs and discovers a porcelain head hidden in the root cellar—the remains of an Underground Railroad doll with an extraordinary past of secret messages, danger and deliverance.

Ingeniously plotted to a riveting end, Sarah and Eden’s lives connect the past to the present, forcing each of them to define courage, family, love, and legacy in a new way.

The Book of Strange New Things
by Michael Faber

Pub Date: June 23, 2015
Hogarth
Paperback; 480p

A monumental, genre-defying novel over ten years in the making, Michel Faber’s The Book of Strange New Things is a masterwork from a writer in full command of his many talents.

It begins with Peter, a devoted man of faith, as he is called to the mission of a lifetime, one that takes him galaxies away from his wife, Bea. Peter becomes immersed in the mysteries of an astonishing new environment, overseen by an enigmatic corporation known only as USIC. His work introduces him to a seemingly friendly native population struggling with a dangerous illness and hungry for Peter’s teachings—his Bible is their “book of strange new things.” But Peter is rattled when Bea’s letters from home become increasingly desperate: typhoons and earthquakes are devastating whole countries, and governments are crumbling. Bea’s faith, once the guiding light of their lives, begins to falter.

Suddenly, a separation measured by an otherworldly distance, and defined both by one newly discovered world and another in a state of collapse, is threatened by an ever-widening gulf that is much less quantifiable. While Peter is reconciling the needs of his congregation with the desires of his strange employer, Bea is struggling for survival. Their trials lay bare a profound meditation on faith, love tested beyond endurance, and our responsibility to those closest to us.

Marked by the same bravura storytelling and precise language that made The Crimson Petal and the White such an international success, The Book of Strange New Things is extraordinary, mesmerizing, and replete with emotional complexity and genuine pathos.

A Touch of Stardust
by Kate Alcott

Pub Date: February 17, 2015
Doubleday
Hardcover;304p

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Dressmaker, comes a blockbuster novel that takes you behind-the-scenes of the filming of Gone with the Wind, while turning the spotlight on the passionate romance between its dashing leading man, Clark Gable, and the blithe, free-spirited actress, Carole Lombard.

When Julie Crawford leaves Fort Wayne, Indiana for Hollywood, she never imagines she’ll cross paths with Carole Lombard, the dazzling actress from Julie’s provincial Midwestern hometown. Although the young woman has dreams of becoming a screenwriter, the only job she’s able to find is one in the studio publicity department of the notoriously demanding producer David O. Selznick - who is busy burning through directors, writers and money as he begins filming Gone with the Wind.

Although tensions run high on the set, Julie finds she can step onto the back lot, take in the smell of smoky gunpowder and soft rustle of hoop skirts, and feel the magical world of Gone with the Wind come to life. Her access to real-life magic comes when Carole Lombard hires her as an assistant and invites her into the glamorous world she shares with Clark Gable - who is about to move into movie history as the dashing Rhett Butler.

Carole Lombard, happily profane and uninhibited, makes no secret of her relationship with Gable, which poses something of a problem for the studio as Gable is technically still married—and the last thing the film needs is more negative publicity. Julie is there to fend off the overly-curious reporters, hoping to prevent details about the secret affair from slipping out. But she can barely keep up with her blond employer, let alone control what comes out of Carole’s mouth, and - as their friendship grows - soon finds she doesn’t want to. Carole - both wise and funny - becomes Julie’s model for breaking free of the past.

In the ever-widening scope of this story, Julie is given a front-row seat to not one, but two of the greatest love affairs of all time: the undeniable on-screen chemistry between Scarlett and Rhett, and off-screen, the deepening love between Carole and Clark. Yet beneath the shiny fa├žade, things in Hollywood are never quite what they seem, and Julie must learn to balance career aspirations and her own budding romance with outsized personalities and overheated drama on set. Vivid, romantic and filled with Old Hollywood details, A Touch of Stardust will entrance, surprise and delight.

The Virgin's Daughter
by Laura Andersen

Pub Date: May 19, 2015
Ballantine Books
Paperback; 352p

What if Elizabeth the First, the celebrated Virgin Queen, had a daughter? For those who just can’t get enough of the scandalous Tudors, the author of the wildly popular Boleyn King series offers an enthralling new saga of the royal family, set in Elizabethan England. Perfect for fans of Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir.

Andersen explores the thrilling possibility of a Tudor heir, the daughter of Elizabeth I, in her new trilogy, a captivating continuation of the alternate history of the Tudors launched in the award-winning Boleyn King trilogy. With her originality and imagination, Andersen breathes fresh life into this ever-fascinating epoch. Peppered with realistic period-details and genuine historical figures to add dimension and texture to her captivating story, Andersen brings the seduction and glamour of the Tudor court to life in this spellbinding new novel.

The Eterna Files
by Leanna Renee Hieber

Pub Date: February 3, 2015
Tor Books
Hardcover; 336p

Imagine The X-Files meets Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden series and set in Victorian London and New York City, written by “the brightest new star in literature”(True-Blood.net)

London, 1882: Queen Victoria appoints Harold Spire of the Metropolitan Police to Special Branch Division Omega. Omega is to secretly investigate paranormal and supernatural events and persons. Spire, a skeptic driven to protect the helpless and see justice done, is the perfect man to lead the department, which employs scholars and scientists, assassins and con men, and a traveling circus. Spire's chief researcher is Rose Everhart, who believes fervently that there is more to the world than can be seen by mortal eyes.

Their first mission: find the Eterna Compound, which grants immortality. Catastrophe destroyed the hidden laboratory in New York City where Eterna was developed, but the Queen is convinced someone escaped—and has a sample of Eterna.

Also searching for Eterna is an American, Clara Templeton, who helped start the project after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln nearly destroyed her nation. Haunted by the ghost of her beloved, she is determined that the Eterna Compound—and the immortality it will convey—will be controlled by the United States, not Great Britain.

The Jazz Palace
by Mary Morris

Pub Date: April 7, 2015
Nan A. Talese
Hardcover; 288p

Acclaimed author Mary Morris returns to her Chicago roots in this sweeping novel that brilliantly captures the dynamic atmosphere and the dazzling music of the Jazz Age.

In the midst of boom-town Chicago, two Jewish families have suffered terrible blows. The Lehrmans, who run a small hat factory, lost their beloved son Harold in a blizzard. The Chimbrovas, who run a saloon, lost three of their boys on the SS Eastman when it sank in 1915. Each family holds out hope that one of their remaining children will rise to carry on the family business. But Benny Lehrman has no interest in making hats. His true passion is piano—especially jazz.

At night he sneaks down to the South Side, slipping into predominantly black clubs to hear jazz groups play. One night he is called out and asked to “sit in” on a group. His playing is first-rate, and the other musicians are impressed. One of them, the trumpeter, a black man named Napoleon, becomes Benny’s close friend and musical collaborator, and their adventures together take Benny far from the life he knew as a delivery boy. Pearl Chimbrova recognizes their talent and invites them to start playing at her family’s saloon, which Napoleon dubs “The Dream Palace.” But Napoleon’s main gig is at a mob establishment, which doesn’t take too kindly to freelancing. And as the 20s come to a close and the bubble of prosperity collapses, Benny, Napoleon, and Pearl must all make hard choices between financial survival and the music they love.

4 comments:

  1. And thank you for growing my reading list for next year!

    ReplyDelete
  2. The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg and The Eterna Files by Leanna Hieber both sound really interesting. Let me know if you're looking for reviewers for either of these in the future :-)

    ReplyDelete

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