Top Hist Fic Picks for October

October is the beginning of the holiday season—Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas—and a perfect time to curl up with a book and a pumpkin spice latte. This month brings Paper Lantern Writer Ana Brazil’s long-awaited second novel, The Red-Hot Blues Chanteuse.

It’s a Viola Vermillion Vaudeville mystery. With a name like that, Viola is going to be great! In 1919 San Francisco, Viola’s piano player and lover Stu Wiley is murdered in the Pantages Theater balcony. With her own gun. To remain out of jail, Viola is forced to uncover Stu’s secret past and figure out which one of his lies got him killed. And, of course, she has secrets too. Coming October 17. Congratulations, Ana!


Who She Left Behind by Victoria Atamian Waterman (October 17)

“Who She Left Behind is a multi-generational, multi-decade tale of love and courage, an homage to perseverance and inner strength, a record of horrifying reality yet uplifting and a page-turner. I celebrate and treasure it as a testament to strong women and the often unacknowledged and un-celebrated roles they play in creating enduring culture as the machinations of men seek to destroy it.” – Susan Colantuono, founder and former CEO Leading Women, author, speaker, thought leader

Every now and then a cover comes along that takes my breath away. Like this one. Wow. The description has other elements that make this a buy-right-now book. It’s set in a lesser known era, has a theme of motherhood and love, and is inspired by the author’s family history. The action starts with a discovery of Armenian dolls. If the cover wasn’t so gorgeous, this one would definitely make my top 5 most intriguing.


The Lost Boys of Barlowe Theater by Jaime Jo Wright (October 10)

“It promises beauty but steals life instead. Will the ghosts of Barlowe Theater entomb them all?” ~from the book description

This one also has a beautiful cover. I chose it for the title, however, because I am interested in the idea of boys lost in a theater. In this one, someone died during the construction of the theater. Later, the protagonist’s brother goes missing, and others. Clearly, there’s an evil curse afoot that must be broken.


One Woman Show by Christine Coulson (October 17)

“A pleasure to read . . . Coulson is gifted at conveying astute observations through small, often humorous details. . . . Coulson’s innovative form is the perfect vehicle for her wry commentary on the conventions of art criticism, the complexities of seeing and being seen. . . . A jewel box of a novel.” —Kirkus Reviews

I included White House Clubhouse here because historical fiction is so important when engaging young people in history. One Woman Show, however, intrigues me the most. The description says it is “a sly and stylish novel—remarkably told through museum wall labels—about a twentieth-century woman who transforms herself from a precious object into an unforgettable protagonist.” Told through museum wall labels? THAT is intriguing!


Reclaiming Mni Sota by Colin Mustful (October 10)

“As an author and educator, one of my favorite things to do is pose the question ‘What if?’ In Colin Mustful’s novel Reclaiming Mni Sota, he poses this question about the Dakota War of 1862. The answer? A compelling re-imagining of history that is accessible to the reader while also creating empathetic characters from both perspectives of the war.” ~ Jason Lee Willis, author and educator

I already mentioned The Red-Hot Blues Chanteuse, so here I’m choosing Reclaiming Mni Sota. I had the pleasure of reading an early copy of this one and was instantly engaged. It is set in the same area as my own novel, The River Remembers, but begins after my novel ends. This is a well-written alternate history for a period of time that is little known to most people.


At What Cost, Silence by Karen Lynne Klink (October 17)


A Haunting at Linley by Michelle Cox (October 24)

Brooklyn Crime Novel by Jonathen Lethem (October 3)

The Herbalist’s Secret by Annabelle Marx (October 27)

The Murder of Andrew Johnson by Burt Solomon (October 3)

Murder in Drury Lane by Vanessa Riley (October 24)

A Cold Highland Wind by Tasha Alexander (October 3)

The Roaring Days of Zora Lily by Noelle Salazar (October 3)


The Other Princess by Denny S. Bruce (October 3)

October in the Earth by Olivia Hawker (October 10)


Queen Hereafter by Isabelle Schuler (October 10)


The Refugee Ocean by Pauls Toutonghi


What Wild Women Do by Karma Brown (October 24)


A Traitor in Whitehall by Julia Kelly (October 3)


White House Clubhouse by Sean O’Brien (October 3)


Straw Dogs of the Universe by Ye Chun (October 17)

Catinat Boulevard by Caroline Vu (October 1)


Take the Long Way Home by Rochelle Alers (October 24)


The Royal Daughter by Soraya Lane (October 12)

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

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