I love reading in the fall. Snuggling under cozy blankets in front of a fire and sipping on hot tea while viewing an autumn landscape is pretty much my idea of heaven! Plus fall book releases tend to be some of my favorites, the hefty historical tomes, the classic retellings, the seasonally-themed romances. Add in my usual focus on LM Montgomery’s works in October, and it is definitely my favorite reading time of the year!
There are so many amazing new releases this year, I had trouble narrowing them down as you’ll see from my extra-long list below. I have ARCs of most of the books, so be sure to follow me on Instagram and Goodreads to see my reviews once I read them.
All links listed below are Amazon affiliate links. As another option, I’ve also created a list of these books in my Bookshop.org shop that supports independent bookstores and creators.
All books are listed in order of their anticipated publication dates (subject to change).
My favorite genre is chock full of new releases that entertain while also teaching about important figures and events from history.
A Literary Take on Historical Fiction
The Vaster Wilds by Lauren Groff (September 12)
I’ve never read a Groff novel, but as soon as I heard her latest book takes place in the English settlement of Jamestown during the starving years, I knew I wanted to read it. See my review of Jamestown here.
Let Us Descend by Jesmyn Ward (October 24)
Following an enslaved girl’s path from the rice plantations of the Carolinas to the sugar fields of Louisiana, this book looks like hard but necessary reading. And with Ward at the helm, you know it will be beautiful yet heartbreaking.
The General and Julia by Jon Clinch (November 14)
This is probably my most anticipated book of the fall with its focus on President Ulysses S. Grant and his wife, Julia. I have an ARC and am eagerly looking forward to reading it! (Final review can be found here)
Amazing Women from History
A Beautiful Rival: A Novel of Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden by Gill Paul (September 5)
After reading a book about Estée Lauder this spring, I think I will really enjoy this novel about the rivalry between cosmetics business founders, Helena Rubenstein and Elizabeth Arden.
The Other Princess: A Novel of Queen Victoria’s Goddaughter by Denny S. Bryce (October 3)
I loved Bryce’s novel, Wild Women and the Blues, so I know I’ll especially enjoy this book about an African princess raised in Queen Victoria’s royal court. It’s based on a true story, one I’ve never heard before! I can’t wait to read the ARC. (Final review is here)
The Woman at the Wheel by Penny Haw (October 3)
Haw always finds amazing women from history who aren’t well known (I really liked her book about a trailblazing female veterinarian, The Invincible Miss Cust), and this novel about the woman behind the founding of the Mercedes-Benz car company looks fascinating! I have an ARC and will review it soon! (Final review can be found here.)
The Roaring Days of Zora Lily by Noelle Salazar (October 3)
I enjoy books written about the roaring 1920s, and this one about a young seamstress and her dreams of being the next Chanel looks great! I have an ARC and hope to get to it soon. (Final review can be found here)
The Frozen River by Ariel Lawhon (December 5)
Lawhon is one of my favorite historical fiction writers (Code Name Hélène is still one of my top ten favorite books ever!), so her latest about a murder in snowy Maine looks thrilling! It’s based on a true story found in the diaries and letters of a famed 18th century midwife.
World War II Historical Fiction
One of my favorite time periods, I am excited to have stumbled across books that are part of a long series and books that explore women’s roles in the war.
The Last Test of Courage (A Time to Serve Book 4) by Chris Glatte (October 23)
I love sweeping war sagas that include both the frontlines and the homefront, especially ones that describe what women were doing to support the soldiers. This series follows one American family as the men head off to the Pacific front while the women become an active part of the war effort at home. I am excited to start this series in time to catch up to the release of the fourth book!
The Woman with a Purple Heart by Diane Hanks (November 7)
Driving the Tide (The After Dunkirk Series Book 6) by Lee Jackson (December 7)
Another sweeping historical WWII saga that takes you from the deserts of Africa to the European frontlines to the codebreakers at Bletchley Park, I hope to read the other books in the series to prepare for this last book!
The Paris Housekeeper by Renee Ryan (December 26)
When I saw this book was about the Hotel Ritz in Paris during WWII, I knew I had to read it! We stayed there this summer and just fell in love with its history (check out this link to the other books I’ve read about the hotel).
This is a fairly new genre to me but one that I am loving!
A Traitor in Whitehall by Julia Kelly (October 3)
The first in a series of mysteries by one of my favorite historical fiction writers, this novel about a murder in Churchill’s war rooms sounds great! And since I’ve visited the actual war rooms, the book will be especially interesting to me. I have an ARC of this and plan to dig in soon. (Final review here)
The Murder of Andrew Johnson (The John Hay Mysteries 3) by Burt Solomon (October 3)
I stumbled across this speculative history mystery series when looking up books for my presidential and first lady reading. Looks intriguing!
Veil of Doubt by Sharon Virts (October 10)
Since this historical thriller based on a true crime takes place in Reconstruction-era Virginia, I am interested in reading this novel about a mother accused of poisoning her daughter. Hopefully it’s not too dark for me! (Final review here)
The Lace Widow (An Eliza Hamilton Mystery) by Mollie Ann Cox (December 12)
This speculative history mystery using Eliza Hamilton and the intrigue surrounding her family looks really creative!
These books make great gifts, especially paired with a coordinating fiction book!
The Six: The Untold Story of America’s First Women Astronauts by Loren Grush (September 12)
Space history is something my family is especially interested in, so I definitely want to read this new book about the first women in the space program. From recognizable names such as Sally Ride and Judith Reznik to unknown-to-me women, this looks like a great read! (Final review is here)
The Longest Minute: The Great San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of 1906 by Matthew J. Davenport (October 17)
I have always been interested in reading about the great San Francisco earthquake and loved Susan Meissner’s historical fiction novel about it. This is a great nonfiction pairing with her book!
God Save Benedict Arnold: The True Story of America’s Most Hated Man by Jack Kelly (December 5)
With a renewed interest in Arnold thanks to the most recent Outlander episode (IYKYK), this new book about the extraordinary story of his military heroism and his legendary betrayal will be exciting to read.
Once you realize the colonies were split almost evenly between Patriots, Loyalists, and those who tried to stay neutral, it makes you wonder how these loyalties affected families and friends. This book looks like it will answer that!
Thunder in the Harbor: Fort Sumter and the Civil War by Richard W. Thatcher III (December 15)
Written by a former Fort Sumter historian, this is the definitive look at what happened at the site where the first battle of the Civil War took place (see my review of Fort Sumter to pair with a visit!).
Middle Grade Historical Fiction
Use this list to help you plan you children’s Christmas gifts!
The Marquis, the Escape & the Fox by Jenny L. Cote (August 1)
This fall release got bumped up to an August release, but I still wanted to mention it! The author is a friend who writes fascinating historical fiction novels for young readers, using an animal team to help explain history. And her research and historical fact-checking is top-notch. This is the seventh book in The Epic Order of the Seven series and focuses on the American Revolution from April 1776 through April 1777.
Nothing Else But Miracles by Kate Albus (September 5)
This is my current read, and I am really enjoying it. I absolutely loved Albus’ debut (A Place to Hang the Moon) – it’s one of my top middle grade reads of all time! – so I knew I wanted to read this book about a Lower East Side girl during WWII who finds a family in her tight-knit community. If it has half as much heart as her first book, this will be a huge win for me! (Read my final review here)
Escape from Stalingrad by Andy Marino (September 5)
A WWII tale told from a very different perspective, this novel gives middle grade readers insight into the plight of Soviet children during the horrific Battle of Stalingrad, the bloodiest battle of the war.
White House Clubhouse by Sean O’Brien (October 3)
Written by a former White House speech writer, this time travel adventure takes the children of the current president back in time to meet Teddy Roosevelt’s kids. Looks like fun! I have the ARC and am sure I’ll love this, especially with my presidential history focus. (Final review here)
I Survived the Great Alaska Earthquake, 1964 (I Survived #23) by Lauren Tarshis (November 7)
This was my son’s favorite book series when he was younger, and it does a great job at mixing adventure with history. This new book delves into the unknown history of the huge earthquake to hit Alaska in the 1960s.
YA Historical Fiction
Enola Holmes and the Mark of the Mongoose by Nancy Springer (September 5)
Does your teen love to watch the Enola Holmes historical mysteries on Netflix? This is the next installment in the novel series that the TV show is based upon and is perfect for teens who like a who-done-it along with learning history. And it’s set in the bookish world of Edwardian England, which makes it even more fun!
Artifice by Sharon Cameron (November 7)
Cameron’s The Light in Hidden Places is one of my all-time favorite YA historical fiction novels, so I am excited for her newest book about art and forgery in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam.
Historical Fiction Graphic Novels
Graphic novels are some of the best ways for kids to learn about history, and I am glad there are so many great ones coming out! Here are a few of our favorites that take your kids from the American Revolution through WWI and WWII.
I Survived the American Revolution, 1776 (I Survived Graphic Novel #8) by Lauren Tarshis (September 5)
History Comics: World War II Fight on the Home Front by Kate Hannigan (October 31)
Above the Trenches (Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales #12) (November 14) – My son’s favorite!
Normal Rules Don’t Apply: Stories by Kate Atkinson (September 12)
I don’t usually read short stories, but this new collection by one of my favorite historical fiction writers is getting great reviews! It may be a nice thing to read slowly, savoring one story at a time spread out over a month.
The Fiction Writer by Jillian Cantor (November 28)
Amazing Grace Adams by Fran Littlewood (September 5)
This debut about a woman in her forties who tries to reclaim her life reminds me of the theme from one of my favorite books read this year, The Society of Shame. For “women of a certain age” (which includes me!), I think these books help us realize we’re not alone! I have an ARC of this and hope to get to it soon! (Final review here)
A Winter in New York by Josie Silver (October 3)
One of my favorite books I read in 2022 was Silver’s The Two Lives of Lydia Bird, and I just love her reflective and heartfelt books. They make me feel and think and have so much emotion. This book about a woman who falls in love while stumbling onto a link to her family’s past through a gelato recipe sounds delightful. (Final review here)
The Good Part by Sophie Cousens (November 7)
Who hasn’t wished to move to the “good part” of life, to get out of the stage of life you’re currently in to a new stage that you know (or just think) will be better? As someone who always is thinking about the road not taken and how life could be different, I am excited to read the latest by one of my favorite women’s fiction authors. (Final review here)
The Gentleman’s Gambit (A League of Extraordinary Women Book 4) by Evie Dunmore (December 5)
Finally! The last book in my favorite historical romance series is here! Dunmore writes fun and feisty heroines who are suffragists that don’t take kindly to men who treat them as helpless damsels. The witty banter and neat historical details make these delightful reads.
The Second Chance Year by Melissa Wiesner (December 5)
Who hasn’t wanted to redo a year? When Sadie is given the chance to go back in time and change things, she starts to realize that maybe this wish isn’t what she wants. I am excited to read this ARC!
Love, Holly by Emily Stone (September 26)
Stone’s poignant books tend to rip my heart out (in a good way!). Her newest book is about a woman who has lost her family and spends each holiday writing letters to others who have lost their loved ones. When she recognizes one of the letters and realizes she can reunite a family, she gets caught up in a plan that changes her own life as well. I will read with a tissue box close at hand! (Final review here)
Faking Christmas by Kerry Winfrey (September 26)
Winfrey’s Just Another Love Song was one of my top romances read this year, so I am looking forward to this cute romcom about a Christmas Eve Eve dinner on a farm. And with the love interest named Gilbert, I am all in (Anne of Green Gables fans will agree)!
Whew! It’s a super-sized list but with four months left in 2023, there are still tons of great books coming out. I hope you find something to add to your TBR today. What book is your most anticipated read of the fall?