Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Upcoming Releases Historical Fiction

The Falling Sword (Clash of Empires) by Ben Kane

Release Date: May 2, 2019

Reeling from his defeat at the hands of the Macedonians, Rome's furious General Flamininus gathers his legions for the final strike on King Philip's mighty phalanx. Both leaders know the victor will rule Greece, and both armies will do everything in their power to claim the ultimate prize.

Fighting on opposing sides, Felix and Demetrios think they have survived the worst of the campaign. But between vicious infighting, unruly locals, and intense battle, both will be tested as the final showdown between two great civilisations begins . . .

The Royal Secret: A Novel by Lucinda Riley

Release Date: May 21, 2019

When Sir James Harrison, one the greatest actors of his generation, passes away at the age of ninety-five, he leaves behind not just a heartbroken family but also a secret so shocking, it could rock the English establishment to its core.

Joanna Haslam, an up-and-coming reporter, is assigned to cover the legendary actor’s funeral, attended by glitzy celebrities of every background. But Joanna stumbles on something dark beneath the glamour: the mention of a letter James Harrison has left behind—the contents of which many have been desperate to keep concealed for over seventy years. As she peels back the veil of lies that has shrouded the secret, she realizes that she’s close to uncovering something deadly serious—and the royal family may be implicated. Before long, someone is on her tracks, attempting to prevent her from discovering the truth. And they’ll stop at nothing to reach the letter before she does.

City of Girls: A Novel by Elizabeth Gilbert 

Release Date: June 4, 2019

"Life is both fleeting and dangerous, and there is no point in denying yourself pleasure, or being anything other than what you are."

Beloved author Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction with a unique love story set in the New York City theater world during the 1940s. Told from the perspective of an older woman as she looks back on her youth with both pleasure and regret (but mostly pleasure), City of Girls explores themes of female sexuality and promiscuity, as well as the idiosyncrasies of true love.

(Full description at Goodreads)

The Last Collection: A Novel of Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel by Jeanne Mackin

Release Date: June 25, 2019

Paris, 1938. Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli are fighting for recognition as the most successful and influential fashion designer in France, and their rivalry is already legendary. They oppose each other at every turn, in both their politics and their designs: Chanel’s are classic, elegant, and practical; Schiaparelli’s bold, experimental, and surreal.

When Lily Sutter, a recently widowed young American teacher, visits her brother, Charlie, in Paris, he insists on buying her a couture dress—a Chanel. Lily, however, prefers a Schiaparelli. Charlie’s beautiful and socially prominent girlfriend soon begins wearing Schiaparelli’s designs as well, and much of Paris follows in her footsteps.

(Full description at Goodreads)

Fled: A Novel by Meg Keneally

Release Date: July 2, 2019

Based on the life of an incredible historical heroine, a harrowing journey in search of love, justice, and freedom, told by the daughter of best-selling author Thomas Keneally (Schindler's List)

Tall and lanky, more suited to sailing and fishing than to keeping a house, Jenny Gwyn has proven herself a survivor. When she's caught stealing to support her impoverished family, she and dozens of other convicts are sent across the world to help settle England's newest colony in Australia.

(Full description at Goodreads)

Saturday, March 9, 2019

July 2019 Historical Fiction Releases

Milady by Laura L. Sullivan

Release Date: July 2, 2019

From the glittering ballrooms of 17th Century England to the dangerous intrigues of the French court, Laura L. Sullivan brings an unlikely heroine to the page, turning on its head everything we’ve been told about The Three Musketeers and their ultimate rival.

I’ve gone by many names, though you most likely know me as Milady de Winter: Villainess. Seductress. A secondary player in someone else’s tale. It’s finally time I tell my own story. The truth isn’t tidy or convenient, but it’s certainly more interesting. Before you cast judgment, let me start at the beginning, and you shall learn how an innocent girl from the countryside became the most feared woman in all of Europe. Because we all know history was written by men, and they so often get things wrong.

The Flight Girls by Noelle Salazar

Release Date: July 2, 2019

1941. Audrey Coltrane has always wanted to fly. It’s why she implored her father to teach her at the little airfield back home in Texas. It’s why she signed up to train military pilots in Hawaii when the war in Europe began. And it’s why she insists she is not interested in any dream-derailing romantic involvements, even with the disarming Lieutenant James Hart, who fast becomes a friend as treasured as the women she flies with. Then one fateful day, she gets caught in the air over Pearl Harbor just as the bombs begin to fall, and suddenly, nowhere feels safe.

(Full description at Goodreads)

The Golden Hour: A Novel by Beatriz Williams

Release Date: July 9, 2019

The Bahamas, 1941. Newly-widowed Leonora “Lulu” Randolph arrives in Nassau to investigate the Governor and his wife for a New York society magazine. After all, American readers have an insatiable appetite for news of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, that glamorous couple whose love affair nearly brought the British monarchy to its knees five years earlier. What more intriguing backdrop for their romance than a wartime Caribbean paradise, a colonial playground for kingpins of ill-gotten empires?

(Full description at Goodreads)

Dragonfly by Leila Meacham

Release Date: July 9, 2019

At the height of WWII, five idealistic young Americans receive a mysterious letter from the OSS, asking them if they are willing to fight for their country. The men and women from very different backgrounds--a Texan athlete with German roots, an upper-crust son of a French mother and a wealthy businessman, a dirt-poor Midwestern fly fisherman, an orphaned fashion designer, and a ravishingly beautiful female fencer -- all answer the call of duty, but each for a secret reason of his or her own. They bond immediately, in a group code-named Dragonfly.

(Full description at Goodreads)

Meet Me in Monaco: A Novel by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

Release Date: July 23, 2019

Movie stars and paparazzi flock to Cannes for the glamorous film festival, but Grace Kelly, the biggest star of all, wants only to escape from the flash-bulbs. When struggling perfumer Sophie Duval shelters Miss Kelly in her boutique to fend off a persistent British press photographer, James Henderson, a bond is forged between the two women and sets in motion a chain of events that stretches across thirty years of friendship, love, and tragedy.

(Full description at Goodreads)

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Review: The Ballad of John MacLea (War of 1812 Book 1) by AJ MacKenzie

Release Date: January 14, 2019 (sorry, getting behind on my ACR's!)

An adventurous novel set in Canada during the War of 1812 about a British militia Captain caught up in a spy ring.

There's a lot of action, which is fun, but there's also some head-hopping which is generally a bit jarring and I'm not a big fan of it. I know it's intended to give the reader perspective of more than one character, but that can be done without head-hopping. For me, it does the complete opposite and jars me out of the scene and makes it more difficult for me to connect with the characters. There's nothing wrong with multi-character perspectives, but keep them exclusive to different chapters or sections, don't jump back and forth within the same paragraph or section (or worse, sentence, though I don't think that happened here).

As a result, I didn't feel much connection to the characters and found it dragged a bit. The writing was otherwise good, and the characters believable and sympathetic, just a shame about the head-hopping.

Advanced review copy from NetGalley via publisher. My opinions are my own.

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