Historical Fiction Previews, Feb. 2023, Pt. 4 | Prepub Alert

What ghosts of the past mean for the present. 

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Calvi, Mary. If a Poem Could Live and Breathe: A Novel of Teddy Roosevelt’s First Love. St. Martin’s. Feb. 2023. 320p. ISBN 9781250277831. $28.99. HISTORICAL

Chang, Janie. The Porcelain Moon: A Novel of France, the Great War, and Forbidden Love. Morrow. Feb. 2023. 352p. ISBN 9780063072862. $27.99. CD. HISTORICAL

Hosein, Kevin Jared. Hungry Ghosts. Ecco. Feb. 2023. 352p. ISBN 9780063213388. $27.99. CD. HISTORICAL

Jenoff, Pam. Code Name Sapphire. Park Row: Harlequin. Feb. 2023. 352p. ISBN 9780778334293. $28.99; pap. ISBN 9780778387091. $17.99. CD. HISTORICAL

Labuskes, Brianna. The Librarian of Burned Books. Morrow. Feb. 2023. 384p. ISBN 9780063297128. $28.99; pap. ISBN 9780063259256. $17.99. lrg. prnt. CD. HISTORICAL

Maetis, J.C. The Vienna Writers Circle. Mira: Harlequin. Feb. 2023. 384p. ISBN 9780778333715. $27.99. HISTORICAL

Marshall, Heather. Looking for Jane. Atria. Feb. 2023. ISBN 9781668013687. $27.99. HISTORICAL

Moustakis, Melinda. Homestead. Flatiron: Macmillan. Feb. 2023. 256p. ISBN 9781250845559. $27.99. HISTORICAL

Natt och Dag, Niklas. The City Between the Bridges: 1794. Atria. Feb. 2023. 416p. ISBN 9781982145910. $28.99. HISTORICAL

Verble, Margaret. Stealing. Mariner: HarperCollins. 256p. ISBN 9780063267053. $27.99. CD. HISTORICAL

The Emmy Award–winning Calvi (Dear George, Dear Mary) returns with the story of a young Teddy Roosevelt wooing Boston belle Alice Lee in If a Poem Could Live and Breathe (60,000-copy first printing). Author of the paperback trilogy begun with Three Souls, Chang goes hardcover with The Porcelain Moon, about a young Chinese woman who flees her uncle’s Paris home in 1918 to avoid an arranged marriage, seeking a cousin in the French countryside who works as a translator for the Chinese Labour Corps and befriending a Frenchwoman who wants quit of her abusive husband (50,000-copy first printing). Set in 1940s Trinidad, when British colonialism and U.S. occupation were folding, Commonwealth Short Story Prize winner Hosein’s Hungry Ghosts contrasts the lives of wealthy farm owners Dalton and Marlee Changoor and their impoverished workers, with the plot driven by Dalton’s disappearance (100,000-copy first printing). In Code Name Sapphire, from World War II fiction titan Jenoff, Hannah Martel flees Nazi Germany for Brussels and joins the Sapphire Line, which spirits downed Allied airmen to safety; when her cousin Lily’s family is slated for deportation, she must decide whether she should try to rescue them at great risk to her Sapphire colleagues (350,000-copy paperback and 10,000-copy hardcover first printing). Best-selling thriller writer Labuskes turns to historical fiction with The Librarian of Burned Books, which moves from U.S. author Althea James’s discovery of Nazi resisters in 1933 Berlin to German refugee Hannah Brecht’s work at the German Library of Burned Books in 1936 Paris to Vivian Childs’s efforts in 1944 New York to block the censorship of the Armed Service Editions, paperbacks shipped to soldiers overseas (100,000-copy paperback and 30,000-copy hardcover first printing). Writing under his father’s Lithuanian surname, Maetis, British thriller writer John Matthews takes readers to 1938 Vienna, where members of The Vienna Writers Circle fear that the Anschluss means they won’t be able to write and then begin to fear for their very survival (50,000-copy first printing). In Canadian author Marshall’s best-selling debut, Angela Creighton’s discovery in 2017 of a long-misplaced letter with great import to her family sends her Looking for Jane, with Jane the codename for a network providing illegal abortions in 1970s–80s Toronto. Winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award and National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honors for Bear Down, Bear North: Alaska Stories, Moustakis tries out full-length fiction in Homestead, about a couple named Marie and Lawrence who marry impulsively and then learn about each other while homesteading in Alaska as it nears statehood (75,000-copy first printing). In Natt och Dag’s The City Between the Bridges, a sequel to the much-praised The Wolf and the Watchman, one-armed watchman Jean Mickel Cardell investigates the mysterious death of nobleman Eric Three Roses’s new bride on their wedding night in 1794 Stockholm; a No. 1 international best seller. In Pulitzer Prize–winning Verble’s Stealing, a Cherokee girl named Kit Crockett is taken from her home in 1950s bayou country because she seems connected to a terrible crime in her community and is sent to a Christian boarding school intent on expunging her heritage (50,000-copy first printing).

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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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