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Top Hist Fic Picks for June 2022

June means summer. After long years of attending school, added to twenty-three years of teaching, my brain is wired to the joy June brings to students and teachers alike. Summer is my favorite season. I love being outdoors and vacationing at the beach, which is a great place to read. This month there seems to be a lot of mysteries!

BEST COVER

The Last Call at the Nightingale by Katharine Schellman (June7 )

“First in a captivating Jazz age mystery series from author Katharine Schellman, Last Call at the Nightingale beckons readers into a darkly glamorous speakeasy where music, liquor, and secrets flow.” ~from the book description

I love the colorful buildings against the black background, and the font really screams jazz age. This novel is set in New York, in 1924. Vivian escapes the routine of her life by going to a jazz club at night. When she discovers a body behind the bar, and the police raid the club, everyone suspects she knows more about the murder than she’s letting on. Murder at a jazz club sounds interesting to me!

BEST TITLE

A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons by Kate Khavari (June 7)

“The 1920s university science department setting, feisty female protagonist, and believable chemistry between the main characters make this a sparkling gem of a debut, and will leave fans of historical mystery excited for the next installment.” ~Kate Belli, author of the Gilded Gotham Mystery series

The first part of this title doesn’t scream historical fiction, but the second part certainly implies a mystery. It’s London in 1923, and Saffron Everleigh is working as a research assistant at University College. Everyone believes her father’s connections got her the job, and she’s unable to prove her worth. Then at a dinner party, one of the professor’s wives is poisoned. Saffron’s mentor is the suspect, and she must work to clear his name. I like the woman beating odds in a male-dominated world theme, and it’s always interesting to have a unique setting.

MOST INTRIGUING

The Mushroom Tree Mystery by Ovidia Yu (June 21)

“Simply glorious. Every nook and cranny of 1930s Singapore is brought richly to life” ~Catriona McPherson 

Singapore in the 1930s is a new time and place for me. In this one, rumor has it that the Japanese are planning to wipe out the entire island rather than surrender to the Allies. An aide is murdered and plans for a poison gas bomb are missing. Teenage sleuth Su Lin must find the killer and recover the plans. I love an empowered teenage girl!

The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle by Jennifer Ryan (June 1)

“Three plucky women lift the spirits of home-front brides in wartime Britain, where clothes rationing leaves little opportunity for pomp or celebration—even at weddings—in this heartwarming novel based on true events, from the bestselling author of The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir.” ~book description

I’m not a great seamstress, but I do cross-stitch and can appreciate well made clothing. The idea is appealing of a famous fashion designer losing everything yet still working to repair and remake wedding dresses. Cressida is forced to live with family members in the country after the London Blitz destroys her world. She inspires a local sewing circle to help with the dresses and in the process helps the women, too. Sounds like a feel-good girl pal book.

The Punishing Journey of Arthur Delaney by Bob Kroll (June 7)

“For readers of Paulette Jiles and Gil Adamson, a 19th-century tale of a father’s greatest regret and path to redemption” ~book description

Arthur’s wife dies, so he puts his three children in an orphanage and signs up for the Union Army to fight the Civil War. When the war is over, he has grown to appreciate family and goes to reclaim his children. The orphanage has moved, however, and they aren’t there. This novel is his twenty year journey across Canada to find them. This sounds like a great story of personal growth and the strength of family.

MEDIEVAL

The Valley by A.M. Linden (June 27)

ROMANCE

In Honor’s Defense by Karen Wittemeyer (June 7)

A Time to Bloom by Lauraine Snelling (June 7)

Edward and Amelia by Karen Thornell (June6)

LGBTQ

The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes by Cat Sebastian (June 7)

MYSTERY

Tom Boy by Shelley Blanton-Stroud (June 28)

Death of a Matador by James Garcia Woods (June 2)

WORLD WAR II

The German Wife by Kelly Rimmer (June 28)

The Runaway Orphans by Pam Weaver (June 9)

December ‘41 by William Martin (June 7)

JEWISH FICTION

Home So Far Away by Judith Berlowitz (June 21)

THRILLER

The Maker of Swans by Paraic O’Donnell (JUNE 14)

The Nurse’s Secret by Amanda Skenandore (June 28)

Need more books on your TBR? See more new release titles at Historical Novel Society.

Linda Ulleseit is the award-winning author of The Aloha Spirit and Under the Almond Trees. Her next historical novel, The River Remembers, will be published in 2023. To interact with her and other historical fiction authors and readers, join PLW’s Facebook group SHINE.

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