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    17 Historical Fiction Books You're Going To Want To Read This Fall

    RIP to your TBR.

    1. Matrix by Lauren Groff

    Riverhead Books

    Release date: September 7

    What it's about: When 17-year-old Marie de France is kicked out of the royal court, she ends up the new prioress of what appears to be England's most impoverished abbey, its nuns on the brink of starvation and disease. Despite this, Marie finds herself falling in love with her new life, one of devotion to her sisters and conviction in her own visions. Marie is determined to lead (and protect) her new sisters, but in a constantly changing world that pushes women like her aside, will her faith be enough? A gripping look into an often overlooked time period and even more often overlooked historical figures.

    Get it from BookshopTarget, or a local bookstore via Indiebound

    2. The Peculiarities by David Liss

    Tachyon Publications

    Release date: September 7

    What it's about: This peculiar (sorry) blend of fantasy and historical fiction is as weird as it is captivating. Twenty-three-year-old Thomas Thresher has had a cushy life, but now he's stuck adulting in the boring clerical job at his family's London bank. Plus, he's expected to marry a wealthy woman he has no interest in. But when mysterious occurrences start happening, Thomas has more to worry about than marriage; his best friend dies, irregularities pop up at the bank, and he begins sprouting leaves from his skin. As Thomas's conspiracies about what's happening grow, so does his paranoia about who he can — and can't — trust.

    Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore via Indiebound

    3. The Corpse Queen by Heather Herrman

    G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers

    Release date: September 14

    What it's about: After her best friend dies, teenage orphan Molly is suddenly sent to live with her "aunt." Molly assumes she's been sold by the orphanage — such a thing isn't unheard of in 1850s Philadelphia — but when she arrives, she discovers her aunt is very much real and very, very rich. But Ava's wealth is based on secrets: She robs graves and sells the bodies to local medical students. Molly is horrified...but also intrigued, especially as she sits in on the anatomy lessons being taught on the property. Molly wants to join this male-only group of students, but with robbing graves and a loose murderer on her mind, Molly's life becomes intimately entangled with death. This historical thriller is dark, twisty, and perfect for a spooky fall read.

    Get it from BookshopTarget, or a local bookstore via Indiebound

    4. The Moon, the Stars, and Madame Burova by Ruth Hogan

    William Morrow

    Release date: September 21

    What it's about: Billie's going through a midlife crisis. She's divorced, her father just died, and she just discovered she was adopted. A letter from her father directs her to an aging tarot card reader named Madame Burova, who mysteriously knows everything about her. Meanwhile, in the 1970s, Madame Burova's tarot business was booming when she made a promise to someone...one that she intends to make good on 50 years later. Alternating between Madame Burova's colorful past and the mystery of Billie's present, this lighthearted novel reminds us that it's never too late to discover who you really are. 

    Get it from Bookshop or a local bookstore via Indiebound

    5. The Stolen Lady by Laura Morelli

    William Morrow Paperbacks

    Release date: September 21

    What it's about: In 1939 France, Anne, a young archivist at the Louvre, is tasked with transferring some of the most precious pieces — including the Mona Lisa — to safety from the quickly encroaching Nazis. Anne is also worried about her missing brother, but as the hide and seek continues, she begins to realize his role in the dangerous game. In 1479 Florence, a house servant named Bellina follows her mistress, Lisa Gherardini, to her home, where her Medici-aligned husband has collected a treasure of art and luxuries. But when a famous painter begins to paint a portrait of her mistress, Bellina finds herself hiding a huge secret. Two timelines are threaded together by one famous painting in this exhilarating historical fiction novel.

    Get it from BookshopTarget, or a local bookstore via Indiebound

    6. House of Glass Hearts by Leila Siddiqui

    Yali Books

    Release date: September 30

    What it's about: A genre-bending debut that blends historical fiction with fantasy and family drama. Maera and her ammi never talk about the fact that, when they were children, Maera's brother Asad disappeared in their grandfather's greenhouse in Karachi. But when her grandfather dies and his diary mysteriously appears under her pillow and his greenhouse in their backyard — which her mother insists was "there all along" — Maera enlists her cousin and some friends to finally discover what happened to Asad. Switching between their grandfather's past in colonial India and their adventure into the mysterious greenhouse, this stunning debut is sure to entertain.

    Get it from BookshopTarget, or a local bookstore via Indiebound

    7. The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles

    Viking

    Release date: October 5

    What it's about: It's 1954, and 18-year-old Emmett Watson is being driven home to Nebraska by the warden of the work farm where he just spent a year working off an involuntary manslaughter charge. With his parents dead and the family farm foreclosed upon, Emmett just wants to pick up his young brother and head west for a new life. But it turns out two of Emmett's friends have stowed away in the warden's trunk and have hatched a very different plan for Emmett's future. With multiple POVs only taking place over the course of 10 days, this novel is a wild ride through Americana land.

    Get it from BookshopTarget, or a local bookstore via Indiebound

    8. When Two Feathers Fell From the Sky by Margaret Verble

    Mariner Books

    Release date: October 12

    What it's about: Two Feathers is a Cherokee horse-driver working at the Glendale Zoo in 1926 Nashville, just trying to find her way in life. As one of the few non-white employees, Two finds solace in another horse lover, Hank, a Black man who cares for the animals at the zoo despite coming from an affluent family. After something goes wrong at one of Two's shows, odd things begin to happen around the zoo: Images and apparitions from the past appear, and the hippo falls mysteriously ill. Two joins a quirky cast of other characters to determine what's going on in this expansive and well-researched historical work. 

    Get it from BookshopTarget, or a local bookstore via Indiebound

    9. Litani by Jess Lourey

    Thomas & Mercer

    Release date: October 19

    What it's about: It's the summer of 1984, and teen Frankie Jubilee is shipped off to her estranged mother's house in Litani, Minnesota. As soon as she arrives, Frankie has a bad feeling about the small town; people whisper about something called "The Game," and her mother warns her against going into the woods or talking to adult strangers. When Frankie is invited to play The Game by the local bullies, she accepts, on a mission to discover Litani's dark secrets. But as the hysteria of the town grows, so does Frankie's paranoia that she may be living amongst monsters. True crime lovers are sure to love this dark and disturbing thriller that's based on real events.

    Get it from BookshopTarget, or a local bookstore via Indiebound

    10. The Ballad of Laurel Springs by Janet Beard

    Gallery Books

    Release date: October 19

    What it's about: When 10-year-old Grace is looking for a topic for a school project, she stumbles upon the story of how her four-times-great-grandfather stabbed a lover to death, an event captured in the folk song "Pretty Polly." In flashbacks to the past, we learn how Grace's ancestors dealt with this legendary song and its dark warning to women, starting with Pearl Whaley, who is still mourning the death of her sister Polly. We move through the decades, learning more about the family's losses, all tinged with the horror of this catapulting event, until we spring back to the present with a poignant revelation about Grace's family. Haunting and lyrical, this story immerses you in Appalachian folklore in a visceral way. 

    Get it from BookshopTarget, or a local bookstore via Indiebound

    11. The Memoirs of Stockholm Sven by Nathaniel Ian Miller

    Little, Brown and Company

    Release date: October 26

    What it's about: In 1916, Sven Ormson leaves his hectic life in Stockholm to become a miner in Svalbard, where it's dark four months out of the year and polar bear attacks are as common as the northern lights. But when Sven is disfigured by a mining accident, he further flees society to huddle in a homemade hut on an uninhabited fjord with only his dog for company. Years later, an unlikely visitor draws Sven out of his isolation and into a found family of fellow castoffs. Surprisingly humorous, this heartwarming story reminds us that love can reach the iciest depths of our hearts, even in the most inhospitable locations.

    Get it from BookshopTarget, or a local bookstore via Indiebound

    12. Anticipation by Melodie Winawer

    Gallery Books

    Release date: November 2

    What it's about: An epic historical novel that combines science, romance, and suspense, Anticipation follows burnt-out scientist Helen and her son, Alexander, heading on a trip to Greece after the death of their beloved husband and father. But amidst the hoards of tourists, they somehow stumble upon the ancient city of Mystras, population of one. Back in 1237, Elias's mother promised his eternal servitude; now, 800 years later, he runs into Helen and Alexander. But Elias has an enemy: the noble Lusignan family, whose last descendant is on the hunt for Elias, who is prophesied to be able to cure the family's ancient curse. With the enemy on their heels and 800 years between them, can Helen and Elias's newfound love survive?

    Get it from BookshopTarget, or from a local bookstore via Indiebound

    13. The French Gift by Kirsty Manning

    William Morrow Paperbacks

    Release date: November 2

    What it's about: In 1940, Margot — a former maid at an upscale villa on the Riviera — finds herself sharing a French prison cell with a resistance fighter and writer named Joséphine. The two then spend four years in a German work camp, sharing secrets that will bind them together forever. In present-day Paris, Evie Black and her son, Hugo, are still grieving the loss of their husband and father. So when a letter arrives concerning her late husband's great-aunt, Joséphine Murant, Evie and Hugo eagerly head to Joséphine's — and now their house on Côte d’Azur. There, Evie spends the summer unraveling not only Joséphine's story, but the little-known stories of the women enslaved during World War II. Blending together the past and present, The French Gift highlights the tenderness and tenacity of female friendship. 

    Get it from BookshopTarget, or a local bookstore via Indiebound

    14. The Perishing by Natashia Deón

    Counterpoint LLC

    Release date: November 2

    What it's about: When Lou, a young Black woman, wakes up in an alley in 1930s Los Angeles with no memories, she has the uncanny feeling this has happened before. She's taken in by a foster family and eventually becomes the first Black female journalist at the Los Angeles Times. But when she meets a local firefighter — one whose face she's been unintentionally drawing since she was a teen — she realizes her life isn't quite normal. Lou has the feeling they've met in a past life, and when she starts seeing flashes from a different time, Lou suspects that she could be an immortal sent to this time for a reason — but what? An intoxicating blend of sci-fi and historical fiction, The Perishing is a unique perspective on Depression-era life for a Black woman, time traveler or not.

    Get it from Bookshop or from a local bookstore via Indiebound

    15. The Nobleman's Guide to Scandal and Shipwrecks by Mackenzi Lee

    Katherine Tegen Books

    Release date: November 16

    What it's about: In the final book of Lee's sweeping historical YA series, we meet the youngest Montague, Adrian, a budding political writer who's engaged to an activist and is the sole heir to his father's estate. Adrian should have a bright future, but he lives with debilitating anxiety — and the even deeper fear that people will discover his mental illness. When Adrian's mother unexpectedly dies, one of her prized possessions sends Adrian on a journey to unravel the mysteries of his family's past. With the siblings he never knew he had by his side, Adrian sets course for pirate courts, Portuguese islands, and Arctic waters on a journey of self-discovery, sibling love, and self-acceptance. 

    Get it from BookshopTarget, or a local bookstore via Indiebound

    16. Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong

    Hodder & Stoughton

    Release date: November 16

    What it's about: In the highly anticipated sequel to her debut, Gong resolves her historical fantasy that's full of deception, intrigue, and passion. In 1927 Shanghai, Juliette is still reeling from sacrificing her relationship with Roma to save him from the blood feud. The only way for him to be safe — and for her to avoid being usurped from her role as gangleader — is for Roma to want her dead for murdering his best friend. But when a new danger threatens their city, they'll once again have to put their differences aside to save it. Monsters and civil war simmer beneath the surface of this Romeo and Juliet retelling, but its biggest draw is the white-hot romance between its main characters as they struggle to hate each other, and fail.

    Get it from BookshopTarget, or a local bookstore via Indiebound

    17. Beasts of a Little Land by Juhea Kim

    Ecco

    Release date: December 7

    What it's about: Set against the Korean independence movement in 1917, a local hunter on the brink of starvation saves a young Japanese officer from a tiger attack. This moment cements their intertwined fates that will span a half-century. Meanwhile, a family sells their young daughter, Jade, to Miss Silver’s courtesan school. There, she befriends an orphan boy named JungHo, and, as they come of age, JungHo is swept up in the independence revolution, while Jade becomes a performer with a new suitor of noble birth. In a world where the lines between enemies, lovers, saviors, and beasts are blurred, this vivid cast of characters will have to decide who they're willing to risk it all for.

    Get it from BookshopTarget, or a local bookstore via Indiebound

    Which book are you most excited for?