From 1850s Kentucky and a moving story about race, art and a famous racehorse, to 1960s California and an unlikely cooking show host who becomes the role model her daughter deserves, check out these recent historical fiction novels.
Horse, Geraldine Brooks
A discarded painting in a junk pile, a skeleton in an attic, and the greatest racehorse in American history: from these strands, a Pulitzer Prize winner braids a sweeping story of spirit, obsession, and injustice across American history Kentucky, 1850. Jarrett, an enslaved groom, and a bay foal forge a bond of understanding that will carry the horse to record-setting victories across the South. Based on the remarkable true story, Horse is a gripping, multi-layered reckoning with the legacy of enslavement and racism in America.
The Daughter of Doctor Moreau, Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Carlota Moreau is young woman growing up on a distant and luxuriant estate, safe from the conflict and strife of the Yucatán peninsula. The Daughter of Doctor Moreau is both a dazzling historical novel and a daring science fiction journey.
The Magnolia Palace, Fiona Davis
A tantalizing novel about the secrets, betrayal, and murder within one of New York City’s most impressive Gilded Age mansions.
Lessons in History, Bonnie Grams
Set in 1960s California, Lessons in Chemistry is a story of a woman scientist whose career is constantly derailed by the idea that a woman’s place is in the home, only to find herself starring as the host of America’s most beloved TV cooking show.
The Christie Affair, Nina de Gramont
The Christie Affair is a beguiling novel of star-crossed lovers, heartbreak, revenge, and murder, and a brilliant re-imagination of one of the most talked about unsolved mysteries of the twentieth century. The greatest mystery wasn’t Agatha Christie’s disappearance in those eleven infamous days, it’s what she discovered.
The Last White Rose: A Love of Elizabeth of York, Alison Weir
New York Times bestselling author Alison Weir explores the life of Henry VIII’s mother, Elizabeth, the first queen of the Tudor dynasty, in this stunning historical novel.
The Books of Jacob, Olga Tokarczuk
In the mid-eighteenth century, as new ideas and a new unrest begin to sweep the continent, a young Jew of mysterious origins arrives in a village in Poland. Before long, he has changed not only his name but his persona, visited by what seem to be ecstatic experiences. The Books of Jacob captures a world on the cusp of precipitous change, searching for certainty and longing for transcendence.
Trust, Hernan Diaz
An award-winning writer of absorbing, sophisticated fiction delivers a stylish and propulsive novel rooted in early 20th century New York, about wealth and talent, trust and intimacy, truth and perception. Hernan Diaz’s Trust is an overarching novel that becomes more exhilarating and profound with each new layer and revelation, engaging the reader in a treasure hunt for the truth that confronts the reality-warping gravitational pull of money, and how power often manipulates facts.
The Book Woman’s Daughter, Kim Michele Richardson
In the ruggedness of the beautiful Kentucky mountains, Honey Lovett, the daughter of the famed blue-skinned, Troublesome Creek packhorse librarian, realizes she must fight to stay free if she wants to bring the freedom books provide to the families who need it most.
Forbidden City, Vanessa Hua
A teenage girl living in 1960s China becomes Mao Zedong’s protégée and lover–and a poster child for the Cultural Revolution–in this provocative, poignant novel from the bestselling author of A River of Stars. Mei’s harrowing journey toward truth and disillusionment raises questions about power, manipulation, and belief, as seen through the eyes of a passionate teenage girl.