From Mitch Albom to Ariel Lawhon to Danielle Steel: Historical Fiction, Nov. 2023, Pt. 3 | Prepub Alert

World War II, five generations of Métis women, and a ball at Versailles. 

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Albom, Mitch. The Little Liar. Harper. Nov. 2023. 288p. ISBN 9780062406651. $26.99. lrg. prnt. CD. HISTORICAL

In 1940s Greece, guileless 11-year-old Nico Krispi is persuaded by Nazi officer Udo Graf to tell other Jewish residents of his village that it’s safe to board the waiting trains, realizing too late that he’s condemned those he loves, including his own family, to a terrible fate. Thereafter, he conscientiously becomes a liar. The narrative unfolds his story along with those of brother Sebastian and schoolmate Fannie, death-camp survivors who later married, and of Graf himself. From the mega-best-selling Albom; a million-copy first printing.

Freethy, Sarah. The Porcelain Maker. St. Martin’s. Nov. 2023. 384p. ISBN 9781250289346. $29. Downloadable. HISTORICAL

Jewish architect Max and avant-garde artist Bettina fall in love in Weimar-era Germany, but with the rise of Nazism, Max is sent to Dachau, where his gift for crafting gorgeous porcelain figures protects him from execution. Much later, in the 1993 United States, Bettina’s daughter finally decides to discover who her father really was. TV writer/producer Freethy’s debut novel merits a 100,000-copy first printing.

Howe, Katherine. A True Account: Hannah Masury’s Sojourn Amongst the Pyrates, Written by Herself. Holt. Nov. 2023. 288p. ISBN 9781250304889. $28.99. Downloadable. HISTORICAL

In early 1700s Boston, Hannah Masury decides to hunt down the Caribbean treasure she’s heard about from a gallows-bound pirate and disguises herself as a cabin boy aboard a pirate ship commanded by the ferocious Edward "Ned" Low. In 1930, Professor Marian Beresford cobbles together Hannah’s story, wishing she had Hannah’s freedom. From the New York Times best-selling author of The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane; with a 60,000-copy first printing.

Lawhon, Ariel. The Frozen River. Doubleday. Nov. 2023. 432p. ISBN 9780385546874. $28. lrg. prnt. HISTORICAL

In 1789 Maine, a dead man is found enshrouded in ice when the Kennebec River freezes over, and midwife/healer Martha, called in to determine the cause of death, knows that the victim is one of several men accused of a particularly vicious rape several months earlier. The two incidents seem linked, and Martha will soon be witness at the upcoming trial. From the New York Times best-selling Lawhon (Code Name Hélène).

Porter, Michelle. A Grandmother Begins the Story. Algonquin: Workman: Hachette. Nov. 2023. 336p. ISBN 9781643755182. $28. Downloadable. HISTORICAL

A young Métis mother named Carter; her mother, Allie, finally ready to protect Carter from the pain she herself suffered; her grandmother, Lucie, whom Carter has never met but who now wants her help in reaching the Afterlife; Mamé, who’s in the Afterlife; and Genevieve, still spiritually close to the sister she lost. Five generations of Métis emerge in this fiction debut from award-winning poet Porter, a member of the Manitoba Métis Federation, and bison figure into the narration, too. With a 25,000-copy first printing.

Steel, Danielle. The Ball at Versailles. Delacorte. Nov. 2023. 320p. ISBN 9780593498347. $28.99. lrg. prnt. CD. HISTORICAL

In summer 1959, at the Palace of Versailles, a handpicked group of U.S. and French debutantes will be presented to international society at an all-night ball. Caroline Taylor, from Hollywood royalty and struggling with heartbreak, and art history major Samantha Walker, haunted by the past, are delighted to have been invited; shy Felicity Smith and Amelia Alexander, who plans to attend law school, not so much. From the billion-copy best-selling Steel.

Vaz, Katherine. Above the Salt. Flatiron: Macmillan. Nov. 2023. 432p. ISBN 9781250873811. $29.99. Downloadable. HISTORICAL

On the Portuguese island of Madeira, John Alves, son of a Presbyterian martyr, bonds with Mary Freitas, a botanist’s adopted daughter of suspect background, and they flee to the United States when enmity between Catholics and Protestants on their island boils over. Initially separated, they reconnect in Illinois, but unfortunately the Civil War looms. From the Drue Heinz/Prairie Schooner award-winning author of Saudade; with a 75,000-copy first printing.

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Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; winner of ALA's Louis Shores Award for reviewing; and past president, awards chair, and treasurer of the National Book Critics Circle, which awarded her its inaugural Service Award in 2023.

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