The most anticipated historical fiction reads of the first half of 2022
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In all honesty, it took me a little while to get into historical fiction. As a girl who has always loved her fantasy and romance, for some reason historical readings have never been first on my reading radar. But, over the past two years, I’ve been more intrigued by these books, both for adults and teens, and the stories and context they offer the reader as a whole.
For example, a YA historical fiction that has completely won me over recently is a book by Ruta Sepetys called The Fountains of Silence. The story, with elements of romance and pure drama woven with historical elements true to the past, is set in post-war Spain, specifically Madrid, in 1957. What I liked about this book and the way it drew me in with her story, was the writing and the fact that I could tell that even though the author incorporated fictional characters, she definitely researched the history of Spain at era and ensured that the experiences and life of the character reflected what people would have experienced at the time. It was a great read that I recommend to many. She also has a new historical fiction book coming out in February, I have to betray you!
That said, I’m extremely excited to read and welcome a new batch of historical fiction readings slated for early 2022. Promising lessons, romance, drama and intriguing backgrounds, I highly recommend booking room in your TBR for some of these exciting, well-crafted novels coming out soon.
Mitford’s disappearance by Jessica Fellowes
This adult historical fiction mystery promises a twisty plot and a premise that’s sure to hook you.
In the story, the year is 1937 and the characters are set at a time when war in Germany is underway and a civil war has begun to invade Spain. The Mitford sisters are heavily divided right now due to their political differences. Additionally, former maid Louisa Cannon changed careers to work as a private detective alongside her police officer husband Guy Sullivan. One day, the duo receives a call from writer Nancy, one of the Mitfords, hoping they can figure out why her sister Jessica, a communist, has disappeared in Spain. As the duo begin to investigate the disappearance, they also find themselves implicated in the disappearance of a soldier, then begin to realize that the cases might be connected and there are so many secrets that are sometimes kept at bay. behind closed doors, which always seem to appear at the most unpredictable moments.
The book seems perfect for fans of wartime history and dramas, as well as dysfunctional family tales that could certainly grab an avid reader from the first page.
Portofino Hotel by JP O’Connell
I’m a huge fan of drama in stories, as well as the era known as the Roaring Twenties, which has me looking forward to this novel.
The book is set in the 1920s on the Italian Riviera, where we follow a wealthy family opening an upscale hotel. We follow owner Bella Ainsworth, who is not only targeted by a sketchy politician trying to implicate her in Mussolini’s Italy at the time, but who also struggles with the hotel and its success, as she deals daily with pampered and demanding customers who complain and want more and more every moment. Add marriage troubles and a slow recovery for her and her family from the Great War, and you get a story about family, relationships, business, and human resistance as a whole.
I expect emotional elements and characters that grow and evolve after traumatic moments in this book that are worth the wait.
The red palace by June Hur
From the wonderful author of the title YA The Forest of Stolen Girls comes a new YA historical fiction tale to look forward to in early 2022.
The story takes place in Joseon, Korea in 1758, as we follow the main character, 18-year-old Hyeon, who has recently obtained a job as a palace nurse. It is a period when it is extremely difficult to pursue a career, especially if you are an illegitimate daughter. Hyeon just wants to make her dad proud and focus on her job. Yet one day, his teacher and primary mentor is framed for the mysterious murder of four women in one night. Hyeon is now determined to prove her teacher’s innocence, but this quest will lead her to Ejoin, a young policeman who also wants to find out the truth. But what happens next will chill them to the bone, as it seems the murders lead to the Crown Prince himself. What will they discover next?
I love this author’s writing and immersive storytelling, so I’m pretty sure this will be a fabulous read to add to my collection.
Violet by Isabel Allende
I love Isabel Allende and her writing, and I’ll never forget seeing her talk about her books in Miami about two years ago, so I’m really excited for this one!
The book follows Violeta, a girl with five brothers in 1920. We follow her life for 100 years, as she experiences events such as the Spanish flu and then the Great Depression. She comes of age and finds herself living in a distant land as she meets her first interested suitor. The story is told in letters, and we follow its growth and lessons learned through other historical events such as the struggle for women’s rights and pandemics.
I’m excited to meet this character and see how Allende brings Violeta’s story and character development to life in this story.
The Christie Affair by Nina DeGramont
From the author of The last september comes a mysterious adult historical fiction read that tries to find it all out.
The book, set in London in 1925, follows the strange disappearance of Agatha Christie at the time. Apparently, during this time, her husband became entangled and lured into an affair by Miss Nan O’Dea, a sudden event which intrigued everyone in society at the time and led to the disappearance of Agatha for 11 days. The book then follows these characters, as we try to understand why and how O’Dea was involved in Christie’s sudden disappearance after the mistress set her sights on her husband, leading to marriage problems.
I’m delighted to read this one, which seems to promise highs and lows, a look at scandalous London in the 1920s, and impressive storytelling.
Take my hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez (April 12)
This historical fiction novel targets a time when the forced sterilization of black women was a reality in the American South of the 1970s, promising a realistic and thoughtful narrative.
The book follows Civil Townsend, who has just finished nursing school and hopes to help the community as much as she can. She works at the Montgomery Family Planning Clinic and she wants to make sure she helps other women with their lives and the choices they have to make about their bodies. She decides to take a case from home, which leads her to India and Erica Williams, sisters aged 11 and 13, who are currently mandated to take contraceptive vaccines. This is the only way, as a member of a poor family, to receive and maintain social benefits for the family and to avoid becoming pregnant. Their lives take a tragic turn when Civil comes to visit one day and realizes that they have both been sterilized against their will.
The story promises drama and lessons as we see how Civil handles the situation and whether she will speak up or not. It seems like a beautifully told story that represents a past reality and decisions that have been made to change the future.
little souls by Sandra Dallas (April 26)
From acclaimed historical fiction author Sandra Dallas comes a new story for fans of gripping tales.
Set in Colorado in 1918, amid the flu epidemic, World War I is currently unfolding and Denver struggles as various locations are desperately converted into hospitals. Helen and Lutie moved to Denver from Ohio after their parents died, looking for a change. The sisters have diverse careers, Helen being a nurse and Lutie working as an advertising designer at a local store, and they want stability and growth. Once there, they can happily earn money to afford a rental apartment. They are struck by more tragedy when their tenant dies of the flu, and they now have to care for the deceased tenant’s daughter, Dorothy, which immediately changes their lives.
What follows is drama, as Helen is suspected of a sudden murder, and they try to identify her as a victim of the flu, which spirals their lives out of control and leads to many changes to come. Promising to explore the power of brotherhood and navigate difficult circumstances, this is sure to be a powerful read.
The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas (May 10)
I’m excited for this adult historical fiction, which promises to feature supernatural elements.
Following the Mexican War of Independence, we follow Beatriz, who lost her father to murder and also suddenly lost her home. Don Rodolfo Solórzano proposes to her, and she immediately sees this as a chance to be in a new home, relationship, and sanctuary. Yet she didn’t expect what was to follow when she enters Hacienda San Isidro, a strange house shrouded in mystery. It seems that Rodolfo’s first wife has suffered a strange and mysterious death, and when Beatriz is left home alone, she hears voices and seems haunted by the Hacienda, while Juana, her new husband’s sister, erases all.
The book continues as Beatriz decides to team up and seek Padre Andrés’ help to find out what’s going on, leading to witchcraft ideas and happenings. This book looks extremely interesting, filled with exciting material to boot.
Are you looking forward to more historical reads in 2022? Will you be picking up one of these when it releases? Let me know on Twitter @AuroraMiami. Happy reading for this new year!