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Top Hist Fic Picks February 2023

For those who think February is all about Valentine’s Day, I’ve included some romances. Looking for Black History Month reads? I’ve included some African-American titles, too.


Shield Maiden by Sharon Emmerichs  (February 2)

“A heroine with a generous spirit, an unshakable will and a dragon’s fury.” H. M. Long

I love the colors on the covers of The Porcelain Moon, Daughter of Eden, and The Last Carolina Girl, but Shield Maiden intrigues me the most. It is only one of many ancient history stories being released this month. This one is about Fryda, niece to Bewulf. Her family is threatened, she begins to develop powers, and there’s a dragon. Count me in!


Circus of Wonders by Elizabeth Macneal (February 1)

“Macneal successfully balances thrilling action sequences with poignant passages…The author brings her fully developed characters to life, highlighting the exploitation of people with visible differences during Victorian times. This makes for a worthy spectacle of its own.” — Publishers Weekly

The word circus and the word wonder both evoke endless exciting possibilities. In this novel, a girl with birthmarks all over her body is sold to the circus as a leopard girl. The story follows her as moves from being exploited to taking charge of her own life.


Daughter of Eden by Jill Eileen Smith (February 14)

“When the greatest joys she has ever known are stripped away, the first woman must find the courage to face an unknown future” ~book description

Yes, this is a richly imagined story about Eve, the first woman. It documents her love for Adam and the joy they share until her act of disobedience forces them out of Eden. Loss and promise of redemption follow. I’m eager to see what fellow Lantern Michal Strutin (who also writes Biblical fiction) says about this one.


Marvelous by Molly Greeley (February 28)

“Enchanting. Molly Greeley has pulled off a piece of magic to tell a dazzling love story about the outcast’s ache to be cared for and belong. This book broke my heart and put it back together again.”–Allison Epstein, author of A Tip for the Hangman

This book is set in Catherine De Medici’s Renaissance Court, and reimagines the story of Beauty and the Beast. In a novel, of course, the plot is enriched and the characters multi-dimensional. The queen brokers the marriage between the pretty girl and the hairy man, and they are part of her court. Fascinating!


The House of Eve by Sadeqa Johnson (February 7)

Time’s Undoing by Cheryl J. Head (February 28)

The Great Mrs. Elias by Barbara Chase-Riboud (February 8)

When We Lost Our Heads by Heather O’Neill (February 8)

Redwood and Wildfire by Andrea Hairston (February 1)


A Perfect Equation by Elizabeth Everett (February 15)

Miss Newberry’s List by Megan Walker (February 5)

The Sound of Light by Sarah Sundin (February 7)

A Calder at Heart by Janet Dailey (February 21)

Lullaby for Witches by Hester Fox (February 1)


The Midwife’s Touch by Sue Harrison (February 7)


The Porcelain Moon by Janie Chang (February 21)

Dead Heat to Destiny by J. B. Rivard (February 7)

Code Name Sapphire by Pam Jenoff (February 7)

The Librarian of Burned Books by Brianna Labusher (February 21)


Prize Women by Carolinie Lea (February 14)

Homestead by Melissa Moustakis (February 28)

The Last Carolina Girl by Meagan Church (February 28)


A Dangerous Education by Megan Chance (February 7)


Stealing by Margaret Verble (February 7)

Hungry Ghosts by Kevin Jared Hosein (February 7)


The Woman With the Cure by Lynn Cullen (February 21)


Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes (February 7)

Legionary by Neil Denby (February 17)

The Shadow of  Perseus by Claire Heywood (February 21)

The Lost Daughter of Venice by Charlotte Betts (February 2)

Need more historical fiction 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 June 2023. To interact with her and other historical fiction authors and readers, join PLW’s Facebook group SHINE.

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