Past Tense

Most Anticipated Historical Fiction of 2022

Happy New Year, historical fiction readers! I don’t know about you but I’m hoping 2022 brings better days and a whole lot of good reading.

I saw the New Year in with a book, so that has to be a good start, right? And in my ongoing quest to create a TBR so ludicrously long that I have no hope of ever finishing it, I’m already looking ahead to some of the great historical fiction coming out this year. It’s a bit hard to narrow down to just a few, but, in my totally biased opinion, these eight are among the most exciting. So, let’s get into my most anticipated historical fiction novels of 2022.

The Good Wife of Bath Book Cover

The Good Wife of Bath by Karen Brooks

I love a good retelling, and this story reimagining the life of a character from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales is exactly the kind I like to see: giving a underserved and / or maligned character a voice. In this version, Eleanor gets to tell her own version, from a childhood as a cast-off farm girl to friend of social-climbing poet, Geoffrey Chaucer.

Daughters of Deer Book Cover

Daughters of the Deer by Danielle Daniel

Danielle Daniel envisions the lives of her ancestors in the Algonquin territories of the 1600s in this groundbreaking historical fiction novel. Marie marries a French man at the behest of her chief, hoping to strengthen their relations. But his Catholicism blinds him to the ways of the Weskarini Deer Clan. And their daughter, a two-spirited child, who would’ve been revered by her people, is considered unnatural by the French and by her own father. It is a profound story of women who have fallen through the cracks and of the long history of violence against Indigenous women.

Four Treasures of The Sky Book Cover

Four Treasures of the Sky by Jenny Tinghui Zhang

In the 1880s American West during the period of the Chinese Exclusion Act, a kidnapped girl is forced to reinvent herself over and over again to survive. Smuggled across the ocean and thrust from calligraphy school to brothel to a shop in the Idaho Mountains, Daiyu eventually comes to realize that each part of herself is exactly what she needs to survive–especially in the wake of growing anti-Chinese sentiment.

The Diamond Eye Book Cover

The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn

Based on the true story of the bookish woman who became history’s deadliest female sniper, The Diamond Eye follows Mila Pavlichenko, whose life changes course forever when the Nazis invade Russia. Her skill with a rifle earns her the name Lady Death, but news of her three hundredth kill makes her a national hero and leads to a good will tour in America, even as Mila contends with the wounds this war has left her.

Take My Hand Book Cover

Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez

In 1973 Alabama, Civil Townsend has just graduated nursing school and has big plans. Civil wants to make a difference, especially in the African American community. She expects her job at the Montgomery Family Planning Clinic will allow her to do just that. But when her first two patients are little more than children, and she’s told to put them on birth control simply because the people in control of the young girls’ welfare demand it, Civil gets a queasy feeling in her gut. And things only get worse from there, as she realizes no one else is going to blow the whistle on the terrible things being done to her patients.

Things Past Telling Book Cover

Things Past Telling by Sheila Williams

This epic historical fantasy follows one woman from East Africa through a lifetime of hardship, oppression, and opportunity as someone captured, enslaved, and forced across the Atlantic at only eleven years old. It’s a remarkable story of a remarkable life, loosely inspired by the author’s own ancestors and the discovery of a 112-year-old woman in the Ohio census.

Our Last Days in Barcelona Book Cover

Our Last Days in Barcelona by Chanel Cleeton

Chanel Cleeton continues to trace the Perez family throughout history in this new novel where Isabel chases her sister Beatriz to Spain to track her down after she went missing in Barcelona in 1964. Twenty-odd years before, Isabel’s mother Alicia arrives in Barcelona after a difficult journey from Cuba with her marriage in jeopardy and her young daughter in tow. Cleeton weaves together past and future as a mother and daughter are faced with choosing between their family and their heart.

The Tobacco Wives Book Cover

The Tobacco Wives by Adele Myers

Set in the tobacco capital of the Southern United States in the 1940s, The Tobacco Wives follows a young woman who discovers Bright Leaf isn’t the illustrious town she believed it to be. It’s a place rife with health issues. And as the new seamstress for the wives of tobacco executives, she uncovers dangerous truths that could topple the tobacco empire ruling the south.

Don’t forget you can get three free audiobooks at with a free trial!


For some more Most Anticipated 2022 Historical Fiction lists–if you too want an impossibly long TBR–check out:

The Bibliofile

She Reads


Penguin Random House

That’s it for now, folx! Stay subscribed for more stories of yesteryear.

If you want to talk books (historical or otherwise), you can find me @rachelsbrittain on Instagram, Goodreads, Litsy, and occasionally Twitter.

Right now I’m reading Damnation Spring by Ash Davidson and Tender by Sofia Samatar. What about you?