Past Tense

2024 Historical Fiction You’ll Want To Read

Hi historical fiction fans!

It’s our last historical fiction newsletter of 2023! Can you believe it? How has it been a whole year of books already?

Looking back at all the books I’ve read in the year and looking forward to a new year of reading is always one of my favorite parts of this time of year. I hope you take some time to reflect back and feel proud of all the books you’ve read this year, however few or many. Now, let’s start looking forward to all the good reading that awaits us in the New Year!

(And just in case you want to super-charge your New Year of reading, TBR now has paperbacks! Whether you (or a reader you know and love) hate carrying around bulky hardcovers, you’re on a budget, you want a wider range of recommendations or all of the above, you can now get a paperback subscription from TBR, curated just for you by one of our Bibliologists. We’ve got different levels to suit every budget. Get all the details at

Bookish Goods

Picture of a light green book being held up with a silver metal arch bookend, surrounded by plants on a white background.

Metal Arch Bookend from Highland Ridge Rustics

Show off your favorite books in style with this modern metal arch bookend from etsy. $21

New Releases

The Paris Housekeeper book cover

The Paris Housekeeper by Renee Ryan (December 26, 2023)

When Nazi tanks take over the streets of Paris, Camille Lacroix is one of many unable to flee. Her family back home depends on the money she makes working at the Hôtel Ritz. Rachel Berman, another employee of the Ritz, fears what will happen now that the Germans have come, but her father refuses to believe it will be that bad. As things grow worse for the Jewish people of France, Camille learns her wealthy American employer–whom she believed to be a Nazi sympathizer–is not exactly what she seems. Soon, the two are working together to get Rachel safely out of Paris. But will Camille and Vivian be able to keep their secrets safe under the roof of a Nazi officer?

The Storm We Made book cover

The Storm We Made by Vanessa Chan (January 2, 2024)

In 1945, Cecily Alcantara knows that the horrors her family faces in Japanese-occupied Malaysia are partly her doing. She served as a spy for General Fuijwara a decade prior, after all, falling for his alluring promise of an “Asia for Asians.” Now Cecily’s son is missing, her youngest daughter in hiding, and her eldest daughter growing angrier about their situation by the day. Cecily will do anything to save them and make right her actions from the past.

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

Riot Recommendations

It’s time to start dreaming about what you’re going to read in the new year. You can find lots of great recommendations online, but these three historical fiction novels should definitely be on your list. Go ahead and request them at your library or pre-order them to get ahead of the curve.

The American Daughters book cover

The American Daughters
by Maurice Carlos Ruffin (February 27, 2024)

When Ady meets Lenore, a free Black woman, at the Mockingbird Inn, she’s invited to become one of The Daughters, a group of spies working to undermine the Confederacy. If they can help win the war and the right to freedom, Ady might be able to find the beloved mother she was separated from and build a life the two of them have always dreamed of.

The Titanic Survivors Book Club book cover

The Titanic Survivors Book Club
by Timothy Schaffert (April 2, 2024)

Yorick would’ve died as an apprentice librarian for the White Star Line if a superior hadn’t taken his place on the Titanic at the last minute. Soon, he’s invited to join a secret group of survivors, all ticket holders who bested fate by never boarding the doomed ship. As they grapple with the near miss and complicated feelings for each other, the group are brought together by books, only to be torn apart by the start of the First World War.

A Crane Among Wolves book cover

A Crane Among Wolves by June Hur (May 14, 2024)

One of my absolute favorite historical fiction authors, June Hur, has a new YA novel set in 16th century Korea coming out this year, and I couldn’t be more excited. Hur has pitched the book as a K-Drama-esque story about a girl trying to save her kidnapped sister from a tyrannical king and a prince determined to end his half-brother’s reign of terror.

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 Goodreads, Instagram, and Litsy, my favorite bookish social media.

Right now, I’m reading A Grandmother Begins the Story by Michelle Porter. What about you?