Past Tense

All The New Releases

Hi historical fiction fans and happy April!

This week I have lots of early April book releases to tell you about. It’s a really diverse collection with books about WWII, Victorian romance, historical disasters, and a 1950s murder mystery. There’s a little something for everybody.

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Bookish Goods

Green bookmark with red tassel and back featuring illustrations of a woman in a green dress, lipstick, an old film reel, and other images inspired by the novel The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo Bookmark from This Paperback Life Co

This illustrated bookmark inspired by The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid is so perfect. $4

New Releases

The Secret Sister book cover

The Secret Sister by Liz Trenow (April 4, 2023)

When her brother is called up to join the war effort in the coal mines, Lizzie knows Ed, still traumatized from Dunkirk, won’t be able to comply. Refusing to see him branded a deserter, Lizzie answers the call herself, dressed in her brother’s old clothes. But if she’s found out, they’ll both be tried and imprisoned. As she grows closer to another of the Bevin boys called up to the mines, Lizzie has to decide what she’ll willing to risk for love of her brother, love of her country, and love of an entirely new kind.

cover of Ana Maria and The Fox by Liana De la Rosa; Latine couple dancing

Ana María and The Fox by Liana De la Rosa (April 4, 2023)

A Mexican heiress, sent to London with her sisters to escape the French occupation of Mexico, falls for a member of Parliament trying to abolish the trans-Atlantic slave trade in this Victorian historical romance. When a nobleman with ill intentions puts Ana María at risk, Gideon offers the only thing he can think of to protect her: a marriage proposal. But while the marriage offers protection, could it be a chance for love as well?

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

Riot Recommendations

There are so many new releases coming out early this month that I couldn’t fit them all in! So here are a few more to check out as you get into your April reading.

The House is on Fire Book Cover

The House Is on Fire by Rachel Beanland (April 4, 2023)

Based on true events, The House Is on Fire tells the story of the Richmond’s theater fire in 1811 Virginia. Four people with very different backgrounds and experiences are drawn together by a series of split second decisions made during that fateful night that will change their lives — and their community — forever.

Homecoming Book Cover

Homecoming by Kate Morton (April 4, 2023)

A shocking murder in 1950s Australia resonates through the years when a journalist discovers her grandmother’s book documenting the investigation many years later. It’s a case that has never been fully resolved, and, as Jess soon finds out, has ties to her own family history.

Puppet Flower Book Cover

Puppet Flower by Yao-Chang Chen, translated by Pao-fang Hsu, Ian Maxwell, and Tung-jung Chen (April 11, 2023)

Based on historical documents with added color from Yao-Chang Chen’s imagination, Puppet Flower depicts a formative moment in Taiwanese history: the sinking of an American merchant ship that would lead to military operations targeting local indigenous tribes. Alongside actual historical figures involved in the conflict, Yao-Chang gives us the story of a mixed-heritage woman named Butterfly who serves as both interpreter and mediator between the Americans and Taiwanese.

That’s it for now, folks! 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 Flux by Jinwoo Chong. What about you?