It can be difficult to narrow the selection down with so many buzzy books hitting shelves every week, which is why I’ve turned to NetGalley member reviews for recommendations. Here’s a list of upcoming historical fiction that’s already exciting me and NetGalley members alike! I predict you’ll be adding quite a few of these to your next indie bookstore order.
Tsarina by Ellen Alpsten
Ellen Alpsten transports readers to St. Petersburg in 1725 to meet Catherine Alexeyevna, the first woman to rule Russia. “From page one, I was absolutely hooked,” writes reviewer Katie P. “The rich descriptions of Russian court life, courtly intrigue, the brutality of life in the era, and the visceral descriptions of Catherine’s relationship with the Tsar weave a difficult and demanding tapestry of this book. Each part building upon itself to create a breathtaking debut novel.”
Murder on Cold Street by Sherry Thomas
Charlotte Holmes is back on the case in this fifth installment of the Lady Sherlock series. Trouble is afoot in Victorian England and when a friend is suspected of a terrible crime, Charlotte takes on the case in the hope of uncovering the truth of what happened. Librarian Kimberly B called this mystery “excellent” noting that “of all of the Holmes retellings this is one of the best.” Curious about how Thomas crafted this reimagining of a classic character? Read our interview with her here!
The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner
Sarah Penner’s debut follows a former healer living in 1791 and a present-day historian whose lives are intertwined by an apothecary hiding dangerous secrets. Librarian Nicole M called it “a spellbinding novel” adding that “Penner does a fantastic job of weaving both of the tales so seamlessly, as well as meticulously researching the time periods, that you truly feel that you’re in the novel with the characters. I couldn’t put this one down and I don’t think you will be able to either!”
Displacement by Kiku Hughes
Inspired by her own family’s history, Kiku Hughes’ graphic novel begins with a teenager being transported back in time to witness her grandmother’s experiences in a Japanese-American internment camp. “This book left me breathless,” wrote bookseller Cass M in a review. “[Hughes] tells the story masterfully. The feeling of ‘displacement’ is real… and so familiar to those of us with similar stories to Kiku. I’m genuinely blown away with how raw this story left me feeling, and how beautifully it was told. I cannot recommend it enough.”
The Paris Secret by Natasha Lester
This novel jumps between 1939, 1947, and the present day to weave together a tale that connects the first female pilots of World War II with a secret collection of Dior gowns discovered by a fashion conservator. Reviewer Sara M called it a “brilliantly crafted novel… [with] amazingly strong female characters,” while reviewer Cynthia S said it was “ Natasha Lester’s best book yet!”
The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed
Set in Los Angeles after the four LAPD officers who nearly killed Rodney King were acquitted, this YA novel follows high school senior Ashley Bennett. Ashley’s sister becomes involved in the protests, while Ashley herself navigates her relationships with her white classmates and begins speaking out against their racist comments. Educator Aja C “LOVE LOVE LOVED” The Black Kids, praising it for showing “the difficult decisions that Black parents must make in order to provide a better life for their family” and the “toll [racism takes] on Black people’s mental health.”