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    21 Upcoming Historical Fiction Books You're Going To Love

    From 1920s mystery to 1970s rock and roll, we've got it all.

    1. The Vines by Shelley Nolden

    leaf-themed cover of "The Vines"
    Freiling Publishing

    Release date: March 23

    What it's about: Finn has always been obsessed with "urban exploring," traveling the world with his girlfriend Lily to visit places rarely seen by other humans. But his ultimate obsession is with North Brother Island, which lies only a stone's throw from his family's home in NYC. His father and grandfather once conducted scientific experiments on this now-abandoned island, and Finn defies their wishes — and the law — by sneaking there via kayak. There, Finn discovers a mysterious woman who claims to have a connection to his family...and not in a positive way. Flashing back through time, this novel explores the horrifying history of this real island's past and what we're willing to do to keep family secrets.

    Get it from Bookshop, Barnes & Noble, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    2. The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton

    White, black, and red cover of "The Final Revival of Opal & Nev"
    37 Ink

    Release date: March 30

    What it's about: Opal refuses to settle for a typical nine-to-five life; in the age of '70s rock and roll, she's determined to be a star, even if her bold Afro-punk style makes her stand out. So when an aspiring British singer/songwriter by the name of Neville suggests they form a duo, she takes the chance. But when their label signs a rival band that has no problem waving a Confederate flag around, Opal's open protest sparks deadly consequences. Decades later in 2016, Opal is considering a reunion tour with Nev, but a journalist's digging into the duo's past might just expose some dark skeletons.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    3. Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia

    water-themed cover of "Of Women and Salt"
    Flatiron Books

    Release date: March 30

    What it's about: In present-day Miami, Jeanette, the daughter of a Cuban immigrant, is struggling with addiction and the will to live. Her relationship with her mother is fraught, so she decides to visit her grandmother in Cuba to better understand her past. Alternating between time periods, we see a complex history of a family bonded and broken through displacement, betrayals, politics, and secrets. All three generations will have to meditate on motherhood and what it means to carry a family legacy across the world.

    (Psst...this is BuzzFeed Book Club's pick for April!)

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    4. Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge

    the book cover with a woman holding a yellow butterfly while standing in beautiful plants
    Algonquin Books

    Release date: March 30

    What it's about: Inspired by the story of one of the first Black female doctors in the United States, this story follows Libertie Sampson, a free Black girl coming of age in Reconstruction-era Brooklyn. Her mother, a white-passing doctor, expects Libertie, who has much darker skin, to follow in her footsteps. Although Libertie dreams of following her passion for music. Feeling stifled by her mother and constant racism, Libertie accepts the proposal of a man from Haiti, returning to his island home with him. But she quickly realizes that, even here, she is considered less than her male counterparts. In her quest for freedom, Libertie will have to question everything and possibly look in unexpected places.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    5. The Duke Undone by Joanna Lowell

    cover of the book with Victorian-themed woman painting on an easel
    Berkley Books

    Release date: April 6

    What it's about: When Lucy, an art student, stumbles upon a naked, drunk man in an alley, she covers him up and tries to forget about it. But ever the artist, her mind can't help but memorize — and then draw — the unexpected figure. When Anthony— the newly minted Duke of Weston after the death of his cruel father — accidentally stumbles upon a copy of Lucy's drawing of him, their lives collide in a huge way. Anthony decides to make Lucy a deal: He promises to save her family business...if she helps him find his missing sister. As animosity turns into attraction and they both land in some sticky situations, they'll both have to decide how much they're willing to risk for their forbidden love.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    6. Finding Napoleon by Margaret Rodenberg

    cover of the book with a woman standing over a cliff above a sea
    She Writes Press

    Release date: April 6

    What it's about: Two hundred years after his death and inspired by his own attempt to write a novel, this book explores the true events of Napoleon Bonaparte's life after his defeat and exile. Narrated by his last lover, the oft-forgotten Albine de Montholon, we follow the couple as they plot to escape their isolation and rescue his young son. Together, they face treachery and betrayal from the British opposition, their own ranks, Albine's husband, and even from each other. As their plot thickens, Albine and Napoleon both have to decide what they're willing to do to succeed — and survive.

    Get it from Bookshop, Barnes & Noble, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    7. To Love and to Loathe by Martha Waters

    the book's cover with a man and woman holding a gold picture frame
    Atria Books

    Release date: April 6

    What it's about: Diana and Jeremy have been frenemies since growing up together as kids, long before they respectively became the widowed Lady Templeton and the new Marquess of Willingham. Their heated flirtations are notorious among society, so when Jeremy is criticized in bed by a mistress, he turns to Diana for some honest truth. His proposal? They become friends with benefits in order for Jeremy to improve his bedroom skills and Diana to indicate to other gentlemen that she's finally ready to take another lover. Except they never anticipated that frenemies could turn into something more.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    8. When Stars Rain Down by Angela Jackson-Brown

    the book's cover with stars and a standing woman
    Thomas Nelson

    Release date: April 13

    What it's about: It's the summer of 1936 and Opal Pruitt can sense something amiss, beyond just the unseasonable heat in her hometown of Parsons, Georgia. Almost 18, she's excited about her upcoming birthday and the annual Founder's Day celebration in a few weeks. But her life is shaken when the KKK descends upon her neighborhood of Colored Town, forcing everyone — Black and white – to reevaluate the unspoken rules they live by. Plus, Opal finds herself in the middle of a love triangle, awakening new feelings for two different boys and forcing her to spend the summer realizing the type of woman she wants to be.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    9. Take What You Can Carry by Gian Sardar

    cover of the book with a valley-like landscape, flowers, and a black bird
    Lake Union Publishing

    Release date: May 1

    What it's about: Olivia is a secretary at a Los Angeles newspaper aspiring to be a photojournalist, so when her Kurdish boyfriend Delan is invited home to Iraq for a wedding, she sees tagging along as her chance to not only broaden her work, but to learn more about Delan's culture. In 1979, Iraq is plagued by war and when the trip proves to be even less safe than they anticipated, Olivia is confronted with a side of the world she's never experienced. But amid the war is beauty, family, and love — until Olivia captures a tragic moment and upends all of their lives.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    10. Tears of Amber by Sofía Segovia

    the book cover with fireworks
    Amazon Crossing

    Release date: May 1

    What it's about: Translated from Spanish, this breathtaking novel follows the stories of three children caught in the midst of war. In the middle of Prussia's harsh winter, Ilse and her family must take part in the world's largest exodus in history if they want to survive. While fleeing the Soviet army, she has only the folklore stories of Janusz, her Polish friend, to keep her spirits up. Not far away, Arno and his mother hide in an abandoned mansion, hoping to stay out of the clutches of war. But all of their lives will collide in this story of war, hope, and resilience.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    11. The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba by Chanel Cleeton

    the book's cover with a woman in a long dress overlooking a harbor
    Berkley Books

    Release date: May 4

    What it's about: In Gilded Age New York, William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer and their rival newspapers are the place to be. So when Grace Harrington gets a job working for Hearst, she's ready to do anything for her career, including jumping on the story of Evangelina Cisneros, a Cuban revolutionary unjustly locked in jail. With the help of a local rebel courier named Marina, Grace and Evangelina exchange messages, putting her cries for American intervention on the front pages. But with war brewing, all three women will have to risk everything for freedom in this heartbreaking story based on real events.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    12. A Peculiar Combination by Ashley Weaver

    book cover with sun setting in sky above Big Ben in London
    Minotaur Books

    Release date: May 11

    What it's about: Born into a family of professional thieves, Electra McDonnell knows that her life isn't exactly normal, but it does pay the bills while her cousins are off fighting the Nazis. But when she and her uncle are set up and caught red-handed at a crime scene, they're offered a choice by government official Major Ramsey: Break into a safe and retrieve blueprints critical to the British war effort or be turned over to the police. Ever the patriot, Electra agrees, only to discover the blueprints already stolen and a dead German spy on the ground. Suddenly, Electra and Ramsey must join forces to figure out who betrayed them and their country.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    13. Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau

    the book cover with person holding a vinyl record
    Custom House

    Release date: May 11

    What it's about: Mary Jane loves to sing, but her parents would much prefer she stick to the church choir than the rock and roll scene that's taking over the '70s. When she snags a summer nanny job for a "respectable" family, she realizes quickly that her employers are nothing like her straight-laced parents. Mary Jane's thrown into a world of liberalism and clutter, and, even more shocking, the psychiatrist father is secretly harboring a rock star and his movie star wife while he kicks an addiction problem. Over the summer, Mary Jane will have a front-row ticket to a lifestyle she never knew existed and, come September, she'll have to figure out the kind of life she wants to lead — her own or that of her parents.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    14. Incredible Doom by Matthew Bogart and Jesse Holden

    the book cover with a digitized suburban landscape
    HarperAlley

    Release date: May 11

    What it's about: In the early days of the internet, four young adults will find connection via the World Wide Web in this graphic novel. There's Allison, who finds solace from her abusive father in a computer screen; Samir, who's always felt like an outcast in the real world; Richard, who just left everything behind for a new town; and Tina, a fierce punk with a secret. An online bulletin board and a mysterious hideaway called the "evol house" tie these characters together in a way that will make anyone who grew up in the dawn of the internet nostalgic.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    15. Don't Breathe a Word by Jordyn Taylor

    cover of silhouette of two women
    HarperTeen

    Release date: May 18

    What it's about: It's 1962 and the last thing Connie, a student at Hardwick Preparatory Academy, wants to think about is a nuclear bomb. But when her crush suggests they both volunteer to test the school's fallout shelter, she can't say no. However, there's more to the "test" than they expected and tragically, only five of the six students who volunteer come back out. At present-day Hardwick, Eva has just started school and jumps at the chance to befriend the Fives, an elite secret society. But as Eva unravels the dark secrets behind the Fives and the tragedy of the school's past, she'll discover that everyone has something to hide.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    16. The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

    book cover with woman surrounded by white flowers
    Tor

    Release date: June 1

    What it's about: This retelling of The Great Gatsby follows the classic from the perspective of side character Jordan Baker, who is reimagined as a queer, Asian adoptee. Jordan is invited to the most exclusive parties but is treated as an exotic prop by her friends while always standing just outside of main society. But the Jazz Age is filled with magic: devilish pacts, mystical illusions, and paper that can come to life. As she navigates the glittering lavish life of Fitzgerald's 1920s, Jordan realizes she can harness this fiery magic — she just has to learn how.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    17. The Savage Instinct by M.M. DeLuca

    cover of "The Savage Instinct" with a painting of lady
    Inkshares

    Release date: May 18

    What it's about: Inspired by the real-life arrest and trial of England's first female serial killer, The Savage Instinct follows Clara, who has just been released after a yearlong stint in an insane asylum after losing her baby. All she wants is to reconnect with her husband, the person who put her away. When she crosses paths with the recently arrested Mary Ann Cotton — accused of poisoning multiple husbands and children — Clara finds herself becoming obsessed with the alleged killer. And as her marriage becomes more suffocating, Clara begins to see Cotton as a confidante and possibly even an accomplice...

    Get it from Bookshop, Barnes & Noble, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    18. Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

    the book cover with vintage-esque surfing scene
    Ballantine Books

    Release date: June 1

    What it's about: It's August 1983 and everyone is looking forward to Nina Riva's annual end-of-summer bash. Everyone but Nina, that is, who has just been abandoned by her husband. The Riva siblings — Nina, Jay, Hud, and Kit — are sort of like Malibu royalty, especially as the offspring of famous singer Mick Riva. But the Rivas all have other things on their minds besides the party, from secrets to uninvited guests. By dawn, the mansion will be engulfed in flames. But before that comes a wild night of alcohol, music, and the unraveling of family secrets. One thing is for sure: The Riva family will never be the same.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    19. Dead Dead Girls by Nekesa Afia

    the book cover with a woman in '20s Flapper-inspired dress
    Berkley Books

    Release date: June 1

    What it's about: In 1926 Harlem, young Black girls are ending up dead. Louise Lloyd wants to ignore the macabre news; after all, she's still traumatized from being kidnapped at 15 and bravely escaping. She'd rather spend her days working at the local café and dancing her nights away with friends at illegal nightclubs. But when she winds up arrested for a drunken mistake, the detective on the case proposes a deal: Help him solve these murders and he'll get Louise's charges dropped. Louise has no choice but to face her own fears and catch the killer before she's next.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    20. Our Woman in Moscow by Beatriz Williams

    the book cover with black-and-white photo of woman looking out of window
    William Morrow

    Release date: June 1

    What it's about: It's 1948 and as the beginning of the Cold War stirs, Iris Digby, her American diplomat husband, and their two children disappear. Their mysterious vanishing raises questions: Were they taken out by the Soviets? Or did they defect to Moscow, carrying the West's secrets along with them? Four years later, Iris's twin sister Ruth receives a postcard, sending her on a dangerous trip to Moscow — disguised as the wife of a counterintelligence agent — in search of Iris. But the truth behind Iris's disappearance and a Soviet KGB officer on their tails will force the sisters to make a heartbreaking decision.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    21. The Godmothers by Camille Aubray

    book cover with woman wearing a red skirt set in a restaurant
    William Morrow

    Release date: June 15

    What it's about: When Nicole asks her godmother Filomena about her family skeletons, she never expected a complex saga of secrets and betrayals between her four beloved godmothers. There's Filomena, a clever war refugee and wife to the family's beloved son; Amie, from upstate New York who fled an abusive husband to join the family; Lucy, a tough Irish nurse who escaped a girls home; and Petrina, the family's only daughter with a scandalous secret. This is the story of how four women were forced to take over the family business in the midst of war — a business that had them go toe to toe with notorious gangsters.

    Get it from Bookshop, Target, or from your local indie through Indiebound here.

    So which one are you reading first?

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