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Top Hist Fic Picks for July 2023

July is all about summer vacations and lots of reading! My birthday is also in July, so let this serve as a birthday wish list. This year I’m thrilled to welcome Paper Lantern Writer C. V. Lee’s second book in her Roses and Rebels series, Betrayal of Trust. In this follow up to Token of Betrayal, Philippe returns to Jersey to take the mantle as Seigneur of St. Ouen’s Manor. He marries the new governor’s daughter, Margaret, to whom he was betrothed by agreement between his father and Vice Admiral Harleston. Harleston proves to be a benevolent leader. But things go awry after Henry Tudor invades England and topples Richard III from the throne. (July 30)


Red Smoking Mirror  by Nick Hunt

“A bravura reimagining of an alternate history, Red Smoking Mirror is a richly written novel of love and fate, of how cultures co-operate and clash, and of how individuals can shape and are shaped by the times they live through.” — book description

So many wonderful covers this month, from bold colors to subtle. I have to choose Red Smoking Mirror, though, because of the color and subject matter. This novel portrays an alternate history, where Spain never fell to the Christians, and in 1521 Tenochtitlan is discovered by Moorish explorers. Interesting idea! (July  6)


The Weaver and the Witch Queen by Genevieve Gornichec

The lives of two women—one desperate only to save her missing sister, the other a witch destined to become queen of Norway—intertwine in this spellbinding, powerful novel of Viking Age history and myth from the acclaimed author of The Witch’s Heart.” ~book description

Weaver and witch queen imply an unusual pairing. This is the story of friends in tenth century Norway who are separated by events beyond their control but united once more by an irresistible power. The bonds are emotional and enchanted between these two very different people. (July 25)


Do Tell by Lindsay Lynch

“A scintillating, page-turning novel: “There is little more alluring than the promise of secrets, and Do Tell is full of them–glamorous, tawdry, and human. A rich portrait of the lives of early Hollywood’s beautiful puppets and those holding their strings.” –Emma Straub, New York Times bestselling author of This Time Tomorrow

A lot of intrigue here. These titles and covers all appeal to me, as do their descriptions. Do Tell, though, titillates me with the idea of an actress turned gossip columnist. She is successful, but at what cost? She goes on trial and must make a choice that could cost people their lives. (July 11)


The Forger of Marseilles by Linda Joy Meyers

The Forger of Marseille is a historical gem! Myers delivers an absolute page-turner with just the right amount of suspense and laced with a gripping love story. The historical detail, pitch-perfect prose, and realistic dialogue makes this one unputdownable. You’ll be thinking about these characters long after the last page is finished. Highly recommend!” ~Michelle Cox, author of the Henrietta and Inspector Howard series

I’ve watched memoirist Linda Joy Meyers work on her new historical fiction, and I’m excited to say I got to read an early copy. It’s 1939, and all across Europe the Nazis are coming for Jews and anti-fascists. The only way to avoid being imprisoned or murdered is to assume a new identity. For that, people are desperate for papers. And for that, the underground needs forgers. Meyers’ story introduces you to an unlikely pairing of an artist and a musician, both Jewish, who must flee Paris. (July 11)


The Air Raid Book Club by Annie Lyons (July 11)

The Ice Harp by Norman Lock (July 4)

What We Leave Behind by Christine Gallagher Kearney (July 27)

The Blood of Others by Graham Hurley (July 6)

Women of the Post by Joshunda Sanders (July 18)


The Life She Wanted by Anita Abriel (July 1)

Trinity by Zelda Lockhart (July 4)

The Measure of Silence by Elizabeth Langston (July 18)

The Woman in the Castello by Kelsey James (July 25)

Sinners of Starlight City  by Anika Scott (July 18)

The Secret of Villa Alba by Louise Douglas (July 3)

Ladies of the Lake by Cathy Gohlke (July11)

The Little Village of Book Lovers by Nina George (July 25)


The Madwomen of Paris by Jennifer Cody Epstein (July 11)

The Carnivale of Curiosities by Aimee Gibbs (July11)

The Poetics of Passion by Delphine Ross (July 25)

Queen of Exiles by Vanessa Riley (July 11)


Rebecca by Shannon McNear (July 1)

REGENCYSome Day My Prince Will Come by Natalie Kleinman

A Lady’s Guide to Scandal by Sophie Irwin (July 11)

The House Keepers by Alex Hay (July 4)


The Sinner’s Mark by S. W. Perry (July 4)


The Chatelaine by Kate Hearthfield (July 20)


In the Shadow of the Bull by Eleanor Kuhns (July 4)

The Woman From Lydia by Angela Hunt (July 11)

Kings of War by MJ Porter (July 12)

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

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Linda Ulleseit writes award-winning heritage fiction set in the United States. She is a member of Historical Novel Society, Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and Women Writing the West as well as a founding member of Paper Lantern Writers. Get in touch with her on Instagram (lulleseit) and Facebook (Linda Ulleseit or SHINE with Paper Lantern Writers).

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