Historical Fiction: Feb. 2024, Pt. 2 | Prepub Alert

A fictional look to the past. 

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Choo, Yangsze. The Fox Wife. Holt. Feb. 2024. 400p. ISBN 9781250266019. $27.99. CD/downloadable. HISTORICAL

Howes, Emily. The Painter’s Daughters. S. & S. Feb. 2024. 320p. ISBN 9781668021385. $27.99. HISTORICAL

Livesey, Margot. The Road from Belhaven. Knopf. Feb. 2024. 272p. ISBN 9780593537046. $28. Downloadable. HISTORICAL

Oliveira, Robin. A Wild and Heavenly Place. Putnam. Feb. 2024. 416p. ISBN 9780593543856. 28. HISTORICAL

Pataki, Allison. Finding Margaret Fuller. Ballantine. Feb. 2024. 416p. ISBN 9780593600238. $30. HISTORICAL

Quin, Eilish. Medea. Atria. Feb. 2024. 304p. ISBN 9781668020760. $27. HISTORICAL

Williams, Phillip B. Ours. Viking. Feb. 2024. 592p. ISBN 9780593654828. $32. HISTORICAL

Williams, Sheila. No Better Time. Amistad: HarperCollins. Feb. 2024. 288p. ISBN 9780063307933. $30. HISTORICAL

In Choo’s 1908 Manchuria–set The Fox Wife, a young woman found dead in the snow is thought to be the victim of foxes who transform themselves into beautiful humans to lure the unsuspecting to their deaths; following the Netflix-slated The Ghost Bride and The Night Tiger, a Reese’s pick. In 1700s England, Peggy and Molly Gainsborough—The Painter’s Daughters—run wild even as Peggy struggles ever harder to hide her sister’s periodic bouts of blankness and disassociation; from debuter Howes. In 19th-century Scotland, Lizzie Craig has the gift of sight, but it doesn’t warn her away from trouble when she follows charming Louis along The Road from Belhaven; Livesey follows up The Boys in the Field, a New York Times Notable Book. Raising a younger sister in a late 1800s Glasgow tenement, Samuel Fiddes befriends wealthy Hailey MacIntyre after rescuing her brother from a runaway carriage, then follows her to nascent Seattle—reputedly A Wild and Heavenly Place—when she moves there following her family’s bankruptcy; from Oliveira, author of the New York Times best-selling My Name Is Mary Sutter. In Finding Margaret Fuller, the New York Times best-selling Pataki follows the fiery Fuller from her association with the Transcendentalists to her Boston salon for women, her work as the first female foreign news correspondent, and her dangerous liaison with a Roman count. Like many others recently, debuter Quin reimagines the women of Greek mythology, though here she takes on a tough protagonist: the witch Medea, who vengefully murdered her children. In the mid-1800s, a fierce woman named Saint sweeps through Arkansas, destroying plantations as she rescues the enslaved and hides them in a town outside St. Louis named Ours, which outsiders cannot see; from the Kate Tufts/Lambda–winning Williams. Like Kais Alderson’s Sisters in Arms, No Better Time tells the story of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, the only all-Black battalion of the Women’s Army Corps during World War II, with Williams following Spelman graduate and librarian Dorothy Thom from basic training through a rough North Atlantic crossing to service in England and France.

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Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (bhoffert@mediasourceinc.com, @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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