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Top 5 November Historical Fiction Releases

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Can you believe it’s November? The nights are colder, and we’ve even had some rain in California. In other parts of the country, leaves are turning colors and people are wearing coats. With Halloween over, we can begin to focus on the big holidays. Yes, I’m old school—no Christmas in September for me! In this post I’ve given you a peek at a whole bunch of new historical fiction arriving just in time to be Christmas presents!  November is about giving thanks, and I am especially thankful for authors who continue to write great stories.

This month I am excited to see books by perennial favorites like Danielle Steel, Barbara Taylor Bradford, and Diana Gabaldon as well as new releases from my friends Gini Grossenbacher, Cryssa Bazos, and Trisha Faye. Six of these books have covers with the woman walking away or headless, which has become the norm for historical fiction, but four have full faces. Four don’t have any people at all. Which covers work best for you?


Go Tell the Bees That I Have Gone by Diana Gabaldon

“The past may seem the safest place to be . . . but it is the most dangerous time to be alive. . . .” ~from the book description

Diana Gabaldon is my favorite historical fiction author, and I love her Outlander series. Book 9 is finally here (I’ve already preordered it) and I just found out she’s working on book 10. (Fangirl moment here). This series follows a 20th century woman as she travels back in time to 18th century Scotland. This new book finds Claire and Jamie, reunited with their family, in the New World on the brink of the American Revolution. Gabaldon’s writing is so beautifully detailed, her characters so deeply layered—if you have not yet discovered this series, now’s a good time to start reading! (release date November 23, available for preorder now)


Rebel’s Knot by Cryssa Bazos

“As the web of violence and treachery grows, Áine and Niall find solace in each other’s arms—but can their love survive long-buried secrets and the darkness of vengeance?” ~from book description

I love stories of early Ireland because I can imagine my ancestors hovering in the background of those stories. In this one, English invaders have killed all of Áine’s family. She is thrown together with Niall, a soldier who has also lost his family. Of course there are secrets, betrayal, and vengeance as well as romance. Áine is a stranger in the soldier’s camp, someone with knowledge of the old stories that sets her apart even more. Someone from her past arrives and stirs up her life even more. Meanwhile, a traitor betrays the Irish soldiers and Niall is being hunted.

(release date November 8, available for preorder now)


The Family by Naomi Krupitsky 

“Mario Puzo meets Elena Ferrante in Krupitsky’s dynamite debut novel. . . Depicting twentieth-century Mafia families primarily from the female viewpoint is a fabulous concept that Krupitsky carries out with aplomb. Perspective shifts are smooth, and the backdrops of Prohibition and WWII are superbly realized. Italian American traditions (including delicious casseroles) are highlighted, and the unique immigration stories show why and how Italian and Jewish newcomers get pulled into organized crime. Fans of Adriana Trigiani and Lynda Cohen Loigman will inhale this tense, engrossing novel about family ties, women’s friendships, and the treacherous complications of loyalty.” ~Booklist, starred review

My husband loves Mafia stories, especially movies, but the ultra macho story lines leave me yawning. This book, though, tells the story of two girls, best friends from two Mafia families. They live in that murky place where no one talks about their fathers’ work. Then one of the fathers disappears. Their friendship becomes difficult to sustain as they grow into independent young women. This book promises to pull the blinders off forced family vacations and obligatory Sunday dinners. I am intrigued by the female point of view of a Mafia family, which is what makes this a must-read for me.

(release date November 2, available for preorder now)


The Return of the Pharaoh by Nicholas Meyer 

“Anyone who dares to write a Sherlock Holmes story must possess not only a thorough knowledge of the canon but also an inquisitive, devouring intelligence, not unlike the great detective’s own. Nicholas Meyer established his credentials triumphantly in his classic novels The Seven-Per-Cent Solution and The West End Horror. His latest entry sends Holmes into spooky realms of Edwardian Egyptology ― a sophisticated joy from start to finish.” -Alex Ross, author of The Rest is Noise

I love stories of ancient Egypt and the pharaohs. Maybe it comes from teaching it to sixth graders for many years. This book would capture my interest even if it weren’t Sherlock Holmes in disguise on a case. (He’s trying to locate a missing duke who was on the trail of an undiscovered tomb)  It takes a lot of courage for an author to write from another author’s mind, to present those characters as his own. This one promises to be a great read.

(release date November 9, available for preorder now)


Flying Angels by Danielle Steel (November 23)

“Danielle Steel presents a sweeping, stunning tribute to these incredibly courageous women, inspiring symbols of bravery and valor.” ~from the book description

Danielle Steel has been a favorite author of mine since I first read The Promise over 30 years ago. I know her romances will be entertaining and light reading, and her historicals well researched. So, despite this cover being distressingly similar to that of Hidden Figures, (I mean if you’re writing about six girls, show six girls, right?) I will definitely read it. Female pilots during World War II were clearly not the norm, but they were brave women. That makes them good material for a novel. I’ve read other novels recently about women who flew during the war, and wouldn’t necessarily read this one except that I like the author. 

Madam in Lace by Gini Grossenbacher (November 1)

Parting the Veil by Pauline Kennedy (November 1)

Where Shall I Flee? by Anne Clare (November 1)

The London House by Katherine Reay (November 2)

Anticipation by Melodie Winawer (November 2)

The Perishing by Natashia Deón (November 9)

Down a Dark River by Karen Odden (November 9)

The POW’s Legacy by Trisha Faye (November 11)

An Heiress’s Guide to Deception and Desire by Manda Collins (November 16)

The Letter in the Briefcase by Autumn Barlow (November 26)

The Red Cross Orphans by Glynis Peters (November 30)

The Sisters Sweet by Elizabeth Weiss (November 30)

The Postmistress of Paris by Meg Waite Clayton (November 30)

Linda Ulleseit is the award-winning author of The Aloha Spirit and Under the Almond Trees.

To interact with her and other historical fiction authors and readers, join PLW’s Facebook group SHINE.

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