Past Tense

Most Anticipated 2023 Historical Fiction

Hi Historical Fiction Fans and Happy New Year!

I hope the first few days of 2023 are off to a great start for all of you. One of my favorite things to do at the start of the new year is to set up this year’s reading tracker. I’m personally a big fan of the reading log Tirzah Price creates for Book Riot every year (and I’m probably only a little bit biased). You can track all sorts of data points, from genre to book length, and you get gorgeous graphs if you fill everything out — something I’m not always great at to be honest. I start off the year with good intentions and then by the end I’m lucky if I’ve filled out the author and read dates. But here’s to trying again in 2023!

Bookish Goods

Reading Journal from Etsy

My Reading Journal from writindstudios

Get your New Year reading off to a great start with this reading journal full of the perfect layouts to keep track of all your reading this year. $13.

New Releases

A Castle in Brooklyn Book Cover

A Castle in Brooklyn by Shirley Russak Wachtel (January 1, 2023)

In 1944 Poland, Jacob Stein and Zalman Mendelson met under terrible circumstances. They escaped and made their way to the United States where Jacob plows a farm and Zalman lives in New York City with his wife. They decide to all stay together in Brooklyn and build light-filled houses for themselves side by side. This place becomes a castle for them to call home — until a tragedy threatens to break all the bonds between them.

Moonrise Over New Jessup Book Cover

Moonrise Over New Jessup by Jamila Minnicks (January 10, 2023)

At the beginning of the Civil Right movement in Alabama, Alice Young moves to the all-Black town of New Jessup, where integration has been rejected as a form of Black advancement. But as Alice falls for a man whose secret organizing could threaten the status quo of the town, she must reckon with her support of his work and her undying desire to protect New Jessup from the forces of upheaval inside and outside of town.

For a more comprehensive list, check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

Speaking of the new year, let’s talk about a whole new year of reading historical fiction. There are so many great new books coming out this year like these 10 new historical novels hitting shelves this year. Here are four I’m particularly excited about.

River Sing Me Home Book Cover

River Sing Me Home by Eleanor Shearer (January 31, 2023)

A woman on a plantation in Barbados escapes enslavement and sets out on a harrowing journey to track down the five children that were taken from her and sold away. It’s a journey that takes her from Barbados deep into the jungles of British Guiana and all the way to Trinidad as she determines the fates of her children.

Stone Blind Book Cover

Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes (February 7, 2023)

The author of A Thousand Ships and The Furies is back with a retelling of the most famous Gorgon of them all: Medusa. As the only mortal in a family of gods, Medusa knows what it is to be an outsider. But when a god does the unthinkable, she is the one to pay the price. And now a life of loneliness and solitude is all she will ever know. At least, until the son of Zeus come to collect the head of a Gorgon…

The Cuban Heiress Book Cover

The Cuban Heiress by Chanel Cleeton (April 11, 2023)

I love Chanel Cleeton’s historical fiction about Cubans and the Cuban diaspora, and her new novel sounds like another surefire hit. A luxury cruise on its way from New York to Havana unearths the secrets of two women desperately trying to deal with the repercussions of their pasts.

Deep as the Sky, Red as the Sea Book Cover

Deep as the Sky, Red as the Sea by Rita Chang-Eppig (June 6, 2023)

This historical fiction novel about one of the most legendary pirates of all time as she schemes to keep her fleet amidst the death of her husband, her marriage to his second-in-command, and the birth of her child, all while the Chinese Emperor sets out to rid the South China Seas of pirates.

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 Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes. What about you?