Past Tense

Presidents, Pasts, and Family Secrets

Hi historical fiction fans!

This week we’ve got books about the incredible lives and accomplishments of First Ladies, adventurers, and families filled with secrets. I think you’re really going to enjoy them.

But first! Ever wanted to be as up-to-date on new releases as the contributors here at Book Riot? Well, we might have just the thing you need. Book Riot’s New Release Index will keep you in the know about all the latest books. New books for days. Subscribe today — you won’t be able to read them all, but it’s fun to try! 

Bookish Goods

TBR game cards with book spines on the front and prompts such as "read a book you most recently hauled" and "read the last book on the bottom of your shelf."

TBR Game Cards from The Cozy Commune

I absolutely love this idea for gamifying your TBR! $22

New Releases

The President's Wife Book Cover

The President’s Wife by Tracey Enerson Wood (August 15, 2023)

Independent socialite Edith Bolling isn’t looking for a husband when President Woodrow Wilson comes courting, but she soon finds herself a new husband and a new role as First Lady. She encrypts top-secret messages during the First World War and becomes an indispensable advisor to the president. But when he suffers a debilitating health setback, Edith does what she must to hide his true condition while ensuring that the peace and progress they’ve both worked so hard for come to fruition.

The Romantic Book Cover

The Romantic by William Boyd

Born at the end of the 18th century, Cashel Greville Ross travels the world and seeks his fortune across countries, continents, and varied professions. From soldier to farmer to felon and writer, Ross experiences the breadth and magnitude of life itself, and eventually learns that to live and love life is the greatest accomplishment of all.

For a more comprehensive list of new releases, check out our New Books newsletter.

Riot Recommendations

Family secrets abound in these two historical fiction novels about the complicated relationships between siblings and parents.

Did you hear about kitty karr Book Cover

Did You Hear About Kitty Karr? by Crystal Smith Paul

When a young Black starlet inherits the wealth of a late movie star, speculation runs wild in the press. But the true story of the connection between Kitty Karr Tate and the St. John family stretches back much farther than anyone realizes. And the truth, when Elise St. John learns it, changes everything she thought she knew about her family forever.

How Much of These Hills is Gold Book Cover

How Much of These Hills is Gold by C Pam Zhang

After their Ba dies, two siblings living in the American West find the divide between them growing as they search for someplace to lay their father to rest. But the story of how they came to be here, told out of order through lyrical prose, reveals a complicated history that ties their family together.

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

If you’d like to talk books, historical or otherwise, you can find me @rachelsbrittain on Goodreads, Instagram, and Litsy, my favorite bookish social media.

Right now I’m reading Cursed Bunny by Bora Chung. What about you?