2021 is finally here! I’m excited about many historical fiction novels (and one nonfiction history book) releasing this year and wanted to share them with you. It’s time to get those preorders or library hold requests in!
I collected these titles over the past few months from various sources, including:
- Historical Novel Society magazine – if you’re a historical fiction fan, this group is fabulous to join!
- Social media posts by favorite authors/publishers – if you’re not following your favorite authors or publishing houses on Instagram or Facebook, you’re missing out on amazing extra content and behind-the-scenes information!
- Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Winter Book Preview – you have to be a member of her Patreon community or book club to get access to the list but it’s so worth it!
- NetGalley recommendations – as a member of NetGalley, you can request upcoming releases to preview. It has allowed me to discover new-to-me authors.
- Magazine/newspaper articles – I always have my eye out for great book lists. Check out these favorites from Oprah Magazine and The Bibliofile.
All links are Amazon affiliate links. You can also purchase the books at my shop on Bookshop.org, which supports independent bookstores and creators.
New Releases I’ve Read
I’ve read three 2021 releases through Advanced Reader Copies, and they were all amazing.
Under the Light of the Italian Moon by Jennifer Anton (Releases 3/8/21)
This debut book is based on the author’s own family history, which makes it even more special. It’s a powerful story of strong Italian women dealing with love, loss, and separation in World War II-era Italy. Even though I’ve read it already, I’ve preordered it as well! A five star read for me!!!
A Woman of Intelligence by Karin Tanabe (Releases 7/20/21)
I was intrigued by the beautiful cover of this book on NetGalley and was blown away by the story of a 1950s housewife in New York City who becomes part of a FBI sting on a Communist group in the city. It will be the perfect summer read! Five stars!
Three Ordinary Girls: The Remarkable Story of Hannie Schaft and the Oversteegen Sisters, Teenaged Saboteurs and Nazi Assassins by Tim Brady (Releases 2/23/21)
I requested this nonfiction book from NetGalley since I am fascinated by the Dutch Resistance during World War II. We visited the Dutch Resistance Museum in Amsterdam several years ago, and it was one of the best museums I have ever visited, particularly for children. This story is hard to read but it’s so important to remember these young women who sacrificed so much to ensure freedom.
Anticipated Releases from My Favorite Authors
We all have those authors who are on our must-read list, and I’m excited to see that many of my favorites have new books releasing in 2021. I’ve already preordered all of these (listed by their publication dates which could change)!
Our Darkest Night: A Novel of Italy and the Second World War by Jennifer Robson (Released 1/5/21)
By the author of one of my favorite 2019 reads, The Gown, this book is set in World War II-era Italy (must be a theme this year!). I love learning about this little-known part of the war and am glad to see many books focusing on the Italian front this year. This book was released this week, and I can’t wait to read my preorder!
The Four Winds: A Novel by Kristin Hannah (Releases 2/2/21)
The author of one of my top historical fiction books of all time, The Nightingale, has a new book set in Depression-era Texas. While I can’t imagine anything topping The Nightingale, I’m excited to read this!
The Nature of Fragile Things by Susan Meissner (Releases 2/2/21)
Meissner is one of my top all-time favorite authors, and I’ve read almost everything she has written. I am eagerly awaiting the publication of her latest book about the great 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Her writing is always elegant and heartfelt, and I can’t wait to learn more about one of our nation’s most destructive natural disasters through her characters.
The Rose Code by Kate Quinn (Releases 3/9/21)
Quinn is the author of two of my favorite historical fiction novels, The Alice Network and The Huntress. Set in World War II-era England, The Rose Code focuses on the women of Bletchley Park who worked to break the German military codes. She writes such amazing female characters that I can’t wait to hear their snappy dialogue and witty banter in this book!
The Women of Chateau Lafayette by Stephanie Dray (Releases 3/30/21)
I love Dray’s work in My Dear Hamilton, America’s First Daughter, and Ribbons of Scarlet. She always highlights hidden women who made a huge impact on history. Her latest book focuses on three extraordinary women who live at different times in the same castle in France. Linked by a shared history, the intertwined story of these remarkable women sounds captivating!
Sunflower Sisters by Martha Hall Kelly (Releases 3/30/21)
Kelly is the author of one of my favorite books from the past several years, Lilac Girls. I’m excited that her latest book explores the ancestors of one of the characters from Lilac Girls and takes place in my favorite time period to study, the Civil War. Since I’m under a Civil War fiction reading moratorium due to my novel-in-progress, I won’t be able to read it anytime soon but can’t wait until I can!
The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba by Chanel Cleeton (Releases 5/4/21)
I fell in love with Cleeton’s writing in 2020, and one of my top books of the year was Next Year in Havana. Her books center on Cuba during the 20th century Castro revolution, and I always learn so much about history and Cuban culture from them.
China: The Novel by Edward Rutherfurd (Releases 5/18/21)
Rutherfurd is my go-to author when preparing to visit a large city. His books span centuries and are epic tales of history, politics, and family through dozens of generations. I’ve read his books on London, Paris, and Ireland and am eagerly anticipating this new book about China’s history.
Our Woman in Moscow by Beatriz Williams (Releases 6/1/21)
I read The Golden Hour by Williams this year and really enjoyed her focus on smart, independent women. I’m becoming more and more fascinated with the Cold War so I am looking forward to this upcoming release about espionage and intrigue during this tense time period.
The Women’s March: A Novel of the 1913 Woman Suffrage Procession by Jennifer Chiaverini (Releases 7/27/21)
Chiaverini is one of my favorite authors and writes history-filled novels about important women. This latest release about the women’s suffrage movement looks interesting and is a great pairing with the women’s suffrage 100 year anniversary celebrated in 2020!
Anticipated Releases from New-to-me Authors
Yellow Wife by Sadeqa Johnson (Releases 1/12/21)
While participating in the James River Writers Conference, I learned about this upcoming release and pre-ordered it from my local bookstore. I love reading books set in Richmond, which is where I live, and this book takes a look at the hard history of antebellum Virginia. I look forward to reading it once my Civil War reading moratorium is over!
The Children’s Blizzard by Melanie Benjamin (Releases 1/12/21)
I’ve read one of Benjamin’s books, The Aviator’s Wife, and am intrigued by this book about a little-known natural disaster. The only reason I knew about it is from the I Survived the Children’s Blizzard, 1888, which I read with my son years ago. Looking forward to learning even more!
The Girl from the Channel Islands: A WWII Novel by Jenny Lecoat (Releases 2/2/21)
I became fascinated with the history of the Channel Islands during World War II while reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society so when I saw this book listed as an upcoming release, I was immediately hooked.
Send for Me: A Novel by Lauren Fox (Releases 2/2/21)
I love stories based on the author’s own ancestors because it adds such depth and meaning to a story. This book is based on letters by the author’s family who fled to America during the persecution of the Jewish population in Nazi Germany. Much like one of my favorite books of all time, We Were the Lucky Ones, this book explores the meaning of family and heritage during a horrific time.
The Kitchen Front: A Novel by Jennifer Ryan (Releases 2/23/21)
After reading Recipe for a Perfect Wife in 2020 and being intrigued by the pairing of recipes with historical fiction, I thought this book looked like a good read. Set in World War II England, a BBC radio program hosts a cooking contest for British women. Sounds like a perfect book to read while watching The Great British Bake Off!
Wild Women and the Blues by Denny S. Bryce (Releases 3/30/21)
This dual-timeline book takes place in the Chicago jazz scene during the swinging 1920s and in present day Chicago. I love stories about the decadence of the ‘20s (like Rules of Civility) so can’t wait to read this unique take on the decade from the perspective of a sharecropper’s daughter thrust into the glamour and crime running rampant in the city.
Libertie: A Novel by Kaitlyn Greenidge (Releases 3/30/21)
This novel is getting a lot of buzz! It takes place in Reconstruction-era New York and Haiti and centers on a Black doctor and her daughter navigating the world. I love when historical novels are based on real people, and this one is inspired by the life of one of the first Black female doctors in the United States.
Anticipated Releases in Middle Grade
Dolley Madison and the War of 1812 by Libby Carty McNamee (Releases 5/20/21)
Libby is a great friend, and her book, Susanna’s Midnight Ride, is one of my favorite middle grade novels. Her latest book tells the story of Dolley Madison’s escape from the White House during the War of 1812. With the British just miles away, Dolley makes sure to save the famous portrait of George Washington, which still hangs in the White House today. I can’t wait for its release on Dolley’s 253rd birthday!
I Survived the Nazi Invasion, 1944 Graphic Novel by Lauren Tarshis (Releases 2/2/21)
I’ve read all of the I Survived series with my younger son, and he especially loves the graphic novels based on the books. This latest graphic novel is about the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939 and is a great addition to the novel. I’ve preordered it for my son!
Camp Time in California (Magic Treehouse #35) by Mary Pope Osborne (Releases 3/2/21)
The Magic Treehouse series is one of the best ways to introduce young elementary readers to history. In this new book, Jack and Annie visit early 20th century Yosemite and meet Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir. It’s a perfect read if you’re planning a trip there!
It looks like 2021 is going to be a great year for historical fiction fans. Even though I’m not doing a monthly recap, I’ll still do plenty of reading-related posts, especially about these anticipated books. To follow what I’m reading in real time, be sure to follow me on both Goodreads and Instagram.
What book are you excited to read this year? What book should be added to my list? Let me know!