Freedom, War, & Independence: Historical Fiction Previews, Jan. 2023, Pt. 3 | Prepub Alert

Historical fiction ranging in subject from the Underground Railroad to World War II. 

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Benedict, Marie. The Mitford Affair. Sourcebooks Landmark. Jan. 2023. 304p. ISBN 9781728229362. $27.99. HISTORICAL/WORLD WAR II

Blauner, Peter. Picture in the Sand. Minotaur: St. Martin’s. Jan. 2023. 352p. ISBN 9781250851017. $27.99.  HISTORICAL/THRILLER

Correa, Armando Lucas. The Night Travelers. Atria. Jan. 2023. 368p. ISBN 9781501187988. $27.99. HISTORICAL/WORLD WAR II

Divakaruni, Chitra Banerjee. Independence. Morrow. Jan. 2023. 384p. ISBN 9780063142381. $28.99. CD. LITERARY/HISTORICAL

Saab, Gabriella. Daughters of Victory. Morrow. Jan. 2023. 512p. ISBN 9780063297050. $28.99; pap. ISBN 9780063246492. $17.99. lrg. prnt. CD. HISTORICAL

Thomas, Kai. In the Upper Country. Viking. Jan. 2023. 352p. ISBN 9780593489505. $27. HISTORICAL

In the New York Times best-selling Benedict’s The Mitford Affair, Nancy Mitford must choose between family and country when she realizes to her shock that two of her sisters support the Nazis’ rise to power. Billed as an historical thriller (with the accent on historical), the Edgar Award–winning Blauner’s Picture in the Sand tells the story of Egyptian American businessman Ali Hassan, who shares his secret activist past with a grandson now in Syria as a holy warrior, hoping to dissuade him from extremist actions (75,000-copy first printing). By the author of the internationally best-selling The German Girl, Correa’s The Night Travelers moves from Ally Keller’s struggles to get biracial daughter Lilith out of 1930s Berlin to Lilith’s experiences during the Cuban revolution to Nadine’s work in late 1980s Berlin to honor the remains of victims of the Nazis even as daughter Luna encourages her to investigate her own past. American Book Award–winning, Orange Prize short-listed Divakaruni’s Independence tracks the fate of three Indian sisters—ambitious Priya, gorgeous Deepa, and devout Jamina—who are torn apart as the 1947 Partition looms (50,000-copy first printing). Saab’s Daughters of Victory, successor to her well-received debut, The Last Checkmate, follows Svetlana Petrova from revolutionary idealism in 1917 Russia to disillusionment with Bolshevism to concern for a granddaughter aching to join the resistance as Germans invade the Soviet Union in 1941 (100,000-copy paperback and 30,000-copy hardcover first printing). A debut from Black Canadian Thomas, In the Upper Country opens in 1800s Dunmore, Canada, terminus of the Underground Railroad, where imbued Black journalist Lensinda Martin urges a new arrival who’s just killed a slave hunter to give testimony before her arrest; instead, she proposes that they trade stories, with the resulting narrative a braided-together history of Black and Indigenous peoples in North America.

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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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