Most Anticipated 2023 Releases – First Quarter

There are usually so many new releases coming out in the new year that it’s hard for me to narrow down the ones I want to read! 2023 is no exception as you can see below. Great historical fiction, romance, contemporary fiction, and nonfiction books are releasing in the next three months. Last year, I ended up reading about half of my most anticipated books of the year, so hopefully I can read more this year. 

I have a particular focus this year on Presidential and First Lady history because of my Booking It Through History: First Ladies project, so I was excited to see many new books about this topic being released! 

Books are listed in order of release date. All links are Amazon affiliate links. If you’d like to support independent bookstores and creators, check out my Bookshop.org affiliate link


Historical Fiction

In the Upper Country by Kai Thomas (January 10th)

This sweeping debut that takes readers on the Underground Railroad from Virginia to Canada looks amazing. I learned a little about the plight of escaped slaves in Canada in Marillia of Green Gables, and I look forward to learning even more.

River Sing Me Home by Eleanor Shearer (January 31st)

This book about a newly freed enslaved mother searching for the children sold from her arms looks both heartbreaking and powerful, perfect for fans of one of my favorite historical fiction novels of all time, Homegoing

The House of Eve by Sadeqa Johnson (February 7th)

This book by a fellow Richmond author is highly anticipated by many after her blockbuster novel, Yellow Wife. I can’t wait to read this book about two women in 1950s Philadelphia and Washington.

If a Poem Could Live and Breathe: A Novel of Teddy Roosevelt’s First Love by Mary Calvi (February 14th)

This book uses the real love letters between future president, Theodore Roosevelt, and his first wife, Alice Lee, to tell their tragic story. I read an ARC (review coming soon) and was captivated by the uniqueness of the book – it’s as flowery and poetic as the letters themselves. It’s perfect for the release date of Valentine’s Day!

The Little Wartime Library by Kate Thompson (February 21st)

This book about a library in the underground London Tube stations during World War II looks great! I love books about the resiliency of the English during the Blitz and am excited to learn even more!

Martha by Susan Holloway Scott (February 28th)

I can’t wait to read this novel about Martha Washington! It’s perfect for my First Ladies project!  

Stars in an Italian Sky by Jill Santopolo (February 28th)

This book linking generations through the decades from war-torn 1946 Italy to present-day New York looks sweeping and poignant. 

The Lost English Girl by Julia Kelly (March 7th)

I loved this author’s book, The Light Over London, and am looking forward to this heartfelt story about England’s evacuated children during WWII.

Once We Were Home by Jennifer Rosner (March 14th)

This searing novel about children stolen during WWII is getting a lot of great reviews. I have the author’s other book, The Yellow Bird Sings, on my TBR!

Strangers in the Night: A Novel of Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner by Heather Webb (March 21st)

Since Ava Gardner was from North Carolina, I am doubly excited to read this book from a favorite author about Gardner’s tumultuous relationship with Frank Sinatra. 

Two Wars and a Wedding by Lauren Willig (March 21st)

Set during two little known wars from the late 19th century, the Greco-Turkish War and the Spanish-American War, this book looks really intriguing! I can’t wait to read the ARC and participate in a chat with the author as part of the Patreon community of the Thoughts from a Page podcast. 

Hang the Moon by Jeannette Walls (March 28th)

I think I am the only reader who hasn’t read Walls’ memoir, but instead, I plan to check out her fiction novel about Prohibition in Virginia. I love reading books set in my adopted home! 


Historical Mysteries

The White Lady and A Sunlit Weapon by Jacqueline Winspear (March 21st)

These two books by the same author come out on the same day! The White Lady is a new historical mystery set in post-WWII Britain, while A Sunlit Weapon is the seventeenth book in the popular Maisie Dobbs series. I am just on book seven so it will take me a while to catch up to this one. I may just try out the new book! 


Historical Romances

The Rose and the Thistle by Laura Frantz (January 3rd)

This Christian romance about the Jacobite rebellion of the early 18th century looks like a good read for fans of Scottish history – and those who think Outlander is too racy! Check out this great review of the book by Austenprose.

A Love by Design by Elizabeth Everett (January 17th)

I really enjoy reading Everett’s Secret Scientists of London series and definitely plan to read this final installment in the trilogy. She writes fun, witty banter between smart women and complex men that makes you fall in love with them!  

The Laird’s Prize (Highland Lairds Book 1) by Eliza Knight (January 31st)

I read Knight’s The Mayfair Bookshop last month and look forward to delving into her prolific historical romance writing! This new book about a Scottish laird who takes an English bride sounds like the perfect starting point!


History Nonfiction

Flora MacDonald: “Pretty Young Rebel”: Her Life and Story by Flora Fraser (January 10th)

I can’t wait to learn more about Flora MacDonald, famous for helping Bonnie Prince Charlie escape Scotland dressed as her maid. She ended up moving to North Carolina and was part of the Scottish immigrants who settled the foothills and mountains during the 18th century – just like my own ancestors! Outlander fans will love this deep dive into the real Flora and Scottish life in the New World. There was a great review of the book in this past weekend’s New York Times as well. 

Virginia’s Presidents: A History & Guide by Heather S. Cole (January 30th)

With my interest in presidential history travel, I can’t wait to get this new guide to the presidential historical sites in the Old Dominion. Known as the Mother of Presidents, Virginia has historical sites for over eight presidents! 

Dinner with the President: Food, Politics, and a History of Breaking Bread at the White House by Alex Prud’homme (February 7th)

I’m excited to read this book taking us behind the scenes of the White House kitchen. With the menus often being developed by the first ladies, this book will be a great addition to my first ladies reading project! 

Mourning the Presidents: Loss and Legacy in American Culture, edited by Lindsay M. Chervinsky and Matthew R. Costello (February 20th)

This book examines the different ways our country has mourned its presidents since George Washington’s passing in 1799. It’s edited by one of my favorite presidential scholars, Dr. Chervinsky! 

The Confidante: The Untold Story of the Woman Who Helped Win WWII and Shape Modern America by Christopher C. Gorham (February 21st)

I’ve received an ARC of this book about Anna Marie Rosenberg, a Hungarian Jewish immigrant who became the most important woman in the government during the 1940s and 1950s. I’ve never heard of her and am excited to learn more. 

Untold Power: The Fascinating Rise and Complex Legacy of First Lady Edith Wilson by Rebecca Boggs Roberts (March 7th)

I will definitely be adding this book about Virginia-born First Lady Edith Wilson to my First Ladies project!

There are a few history nonfiction books by some of my favorite historians that are coming out in the UK only. Order Uproar! by Alice Loxton – known as history_alice on Instagram – (March 2nd) and The Women Behind the Few The Women’s Auxiliary Air Force and British Intelligence During the Second World War by Sarah-Louise Miller (March 9th) through Blackwells for free shipping to the US! 


Contemporary Fiction

Just the Nicest Couple by Mary Kubica (January 10th)

I’ve already read and reviewed this fast-paced thriller about two couples, one missing husband, and the lies that threaten to tear them apart. Thanks to Cindy at the Thoughts from a Page podcast for the ARC and author chat as a Patreon bonus!

Georgie, All Along by Kate Clayborn (January 24th)

This uplifting tale had me at the first line of its synopsis – longtime personal assistant Georgie Mulcahy has made a career out of putting others before herself. When she realizes she doesn’t even know what she wants, she turns to her teenage diary for guidance. It sounds like the perfect book for an enneagram 2!

The Minuscule Mansion of Myra Malone by Audrey Burges (January 24th)

I’ve heard great things about this poignant story of two people linked through a dollhouse mansion. And I love supporting fellow Richmond writers!

The Sweet Spot by Amy Poeppel (January 31st)

This delightful book is a bright spot in a dreary month! I loved the eclectic cast of characters and the found family they created. I reviewed the book here and loved the author chat hosted by Cindy at Thoughts from a Page.

A Likely Story by Leigh McMullan Abramson (March 14th)

This novel about an aspiring writer uncovering the secrets of her famous literary family looks perfect for me! I can’t wait to read the ARC and talk with the author thanks to Thoughts from a Page.

The Mostly True Story of Tanner & Louise by Colleen Oakley (March 28th)

I really enjoyed Oakley’s The Invisible Husband of Frick Island last year, so I definitely want to check out this fun but emotional caper about an aimless Gen Z’er working for a sprightly elderly woman.


Contemporary Romance

Take the Lead: A Dance Off Novel by Alexis Daria (February 14th)

This romance about a professional dancer and her celebrity partner on a dancing reality show is made for me! I can’t wait to read this!


General Nonfiction

My What If Year: A Memoir by Alisha Fernandez Miranda (February 7th)

I don’t read that many memoirs, but this one about a 40-year-old woman who pauses her career to take a series of internships exploring the roads not taken looks right up my alley!

Enchantment: Awakening Wonder in an Anxious Age by Katherine May (February 28th)

I really enjoyed May’s Wintering in 2021 and am looking forward to this book that encourages us to reawaken our sense of awe with the world. She has a comforting way of writing that just soothes the soul.


What book is your most anticipated read for the first three months of 2023? See anything in my list that you want to put on your TBR?

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