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Most Anticipated Summer 2021 Historical Fiction Books

If your favorite way to learn about history is to immerse yourself in a novel inspired by actual events, you’ll thoroughly enjoy some of the historical fiction novels hitting shelves in Summer 2021. From bestselling authors you’re already acquainted with to debut authors making their mark in the genre, we are sure you’ll find something to pique your interest. So make space on your bookshelves, stop by your favorite indie bookstore, and make those library requests after you’ve browsed our most anticipated Summer 2021 historical fiction book list!

The Radio Operator : A Novel Ulla Lenze, Marshall Yarbrough

The Radio Operator by Ulla Lenze, translated by Marshall Yarbrough

Based on a true story, a gripping historical novel about a German immigrant who becomes embroiled in a Nazi spy ring operating in New York City in the early days of World War II.

The Woman with the Blue Star : A Novel Pam Jenoff

The Woman with the Blue Star by Pam Jenoff

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Girls of Paris comes a riveting tale of courage and unlikely friendship during World War II.

The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba  Chanel Cleeton

The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba by Chanel Cleeton

At the end of the nineteenth century, three revolutionary women fight for freedom in New York Times bestselling author Chanel Cleeton’s captivating new novel inspired by real-life events and the true story of a legendary Cuban woman–Evangelina Cisneros–who changed the course of history.

Ariadne : A Novel Jennifer Saint

Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

Ariadne, Princess of Crete, grows up greeting the dawn from her beautiful dancing floor and listening to her nursemaid’s stories of gods and heroes. But beneath her golden palace echo the ever-present hoofbeats of her brother, the Minotaur, a monster who demands blood sacrifice.

Light Perpetual : A Novel Francis Spufford

Light Perpetual by Francis Spufford

From the critically acclaimed and award-winning author of Golden Hill, a mesmerizing and boldly inventive novel tracing the infinite possibilities of five lives in the bustling neighborhoods of 20th-century London.

Love and Fury : A Novel of Mary Wollstonecraft Samantha Silva

Love and Fury by Samantha Silva

From the acclaimed author of Mr. Dickens and His Carol, a richly-imagined reckoning with the life of another cherished literary legend: Mary Wollstonecraft – arguably the world’s first feminist.

An Unlikely Spy : A Novel Rebecca Starford

An Unlikely Spy by Rebecca Starford

A twisting, sophisticated World War II novel following a spy who goes undercover as a part of MI5–in chasing the secrets of others, how much will she lose of herself?

Our Woman in Moscow : A Novel Beatriz Williams

Our Woman in Moscow by Beatriz Williams

The New York Times bestselling author of Her Last Flight returns with a gripping and profoundly human story of Cold War espionage and family devotion.

Long Division : A Novel Kiese Laymon

Long Division by Kiese Laymon

From Kiese Laymon, author of the critically acclaimed memoir Heavy, comes a debut novel about Black teenagers that is a satirical exploration of celebrity, authorship, violence, religion, and coming of age in post-Katrina Mississippi.

Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch : A Novel Rivka Galchen

Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch by Rivka Galchen

Drawing on real historical documents but infused with the intensity of imagination, sly humor, and intellectual fire for which Rivka Galchen is known, Everyone Knows Your Mother Is a Witch will both provoke and entertain. The story of how a community becomes implicated in collective aggression and hysterical fear is a tale for our time. Galchen’s bold new novel touchingly illuminates a society and a family undone by superstition, the state, and the mortal convulsions of history.

The Hidden Palace : A Novel of the Golem and the Jinni Helene Wecker

The Hidden Palace by Helene Wecker

In this enthralling historical epic, set in New York City and the Middle East in the years leading to World War I– the long-awaited follow-up to the acclaimed New York Times bestseller The Golem and the Jinni–Helene Wecker revisits her beloved characters Chava and Ahmad as they confront unexpected new challenges in a rapidly changing human world.

Sisters of the Resistance : A Novel of Catherine Dior's Paris Spy Network Christine Wells

Sisters of the Resistance by Christine Wells

Two sisters join the Paris Resistance in this page-turning new novel inspired by the real-life bravery of Catherine Dior, sister of the fashion designer and a heroine of World War II France.

The Sweetness of Water : A Novel Nathan Harris

The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris

A profound debut about the unlikely bond between two freedmen who are brothers and the Georgia farmer whose alliance will alter their lives, and his, forever.

The Great Mistake : A novel Jonathan Lee

The Great Mistake by Jonathan Lee

From the acclaimed author of High Dive comes an enveloping, exultant novel of New York City at the turn of the twentieth century, a story of one man’s rise to fame and fortune, and his mysterious murder.

The Secret Keeper of Jaipur : A Novel Alka Joshi

The Secret Keeper of Jaipur by Alka Joshi

In New York Times bestselling author Alka Joshi’s intriguing new novel, henna artist Lakshmi arranges for her prot g , Malik, to intern at the Jaipur Palace in this tale rich in character, atmosphere, and lavish storytelling.

Daughters of Sparta : A Novel Claire Heywood

Daughters of Sparta by Claire Heywood

For millennia, men have told the legend of the woman whose face launched a thousand ships–but now it’s time to hear her side of the story. Daughters of Sparta is a tale of secrets, love, and tragedy from the women behind mythology’s most devastating war, the infamous Helen and her sister Klytemnestra.

The Personal Librarian  Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray

The remarkable story of J. P. Morgan’s personal librarian, Belle da Costa Greene, the Black American woman who was forced to hide her true identity and pass as white to leave a lasting legacy that enriched our nation, from New York Times author Marie Benedict, and acclaimed author Victoria Christopher Murray.

All Our Shimmering Skies : A Novel Trent Dalton

All Our Shimmering Skies by Trent Dalton

From the internationally bestselling and beloved author of the critically acclaimed Boy Swallows Universe, a mesmerizing, uplifting novel of adventure and unlikely friendships in World War II Australia.

Island Queen : A Novel Vanessa Riley

Island Queen by Vanessa Riley

A remarkable, sweeping historical novel based on the incredible true life story of Dorothy Kirwan Thomas, a free woman of color who rose from slavery to become one of the wealthiest and most powerful landowners in the colonial West Indies.

The Forest of Vanishing Stars : A Novel Kristin Harmel

The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel

The New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Lost Names returns with an evocative coming-of-age World War II story about a young woman who uses her knowledge of the wilderness to help Jewish refugees escape the Nazis–until a secret from her past threatens everything.

The War Nurse : A Novel Tracey Enerson Wood

The War Nurse by Tracey Enerson Wood

Based on a true story, The War Nurse is a sweeping historical novel by  Superintendent of Nurses Julia Stimson must recruit sixty-five nurses to relieve the battle-worn British, months before American troops are ready to be deployed. She knows that the young nurses serving near the front lines of will face a challenging situation, but nothing could have prepared her for the chaos that awaits when they arrive at British Base Hospital 12 in Rouen, France.

A Woman of Intelligence : A Novel Karin Tanabe

A Woman of Intelligence by Karin Tanabe

A Woman of Intelligence is an exhilarating tale of post-war New York City, and one remarkable woman’s journey from the United Nations, to the cloistered drawing rooms of Manhattan society, to the secretive ranks of the FBI.

When We Meet Again  Caroline Beecham

When We Meet Again by Caroline Beecham

An emotionally compelling tale of love and mystery set in the publishing world of World War II London, When We Meet Again tells the story of a mother searching for her stolen child, and illustrates the unbreakable bonds among families, lovers, and readers under the shadow of war.

Radar Girls  Sara Ackerman

Radar Girls by Sara Ackerman

An extraordinary story inspired by the real Women’s Air Raid Defense, where an unlikely recruit and her sisters-in-arms forge their place in WWII history.

The Women's March : A Novel of the 1913 Woman Suffrage Procession Jennifer Chiaverini

The Women's March by Jennifer Chiaverini

New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Chiaverini returns with The Women’s March, an enthralling historical novel of the woman’s suffrage movement inspired by three courageous women who bravely risked their lives and liberty in the fight to win the vote.

Three Words for Goodbye : A Novel Hazel Gaynor, Heather Webb

Three Words for Goodbye by Hazel Gaynor, Heather Webb

From Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb, the bestselling authors of Meet Me in Monaco, comes a coming-of-age novel set in pre-WWII Europe, perfect for fans of Jennifer Robson, Beatriz Williams, and Kate Quinn.

The Second Life of Mirielle West  Amanda Skenandore

The Second Life of Mirielle West by Amanda Skenandore

In this thought-provoking and sensitive novel, inspired by the true story of a Louisiana leprosy hospital where patients were forcibly quarantined, acclaimed author Amanda Skenandore tells an extraordinarily timely tale of resilience, hope–and the last woman who expected to find herself in such a place…

I Was Never the First Lady : A Novel Wendy Guerra, Alicia "Achy" Obejas

I Was Never the First Lady by Wendy Guerra, translated by Alicia "Achy" Obejas

A lush, sensuous, and original tale of family, love, and history, set against the backdrop of the Cuban Revolution and its aftermath.

Her Heart for a Compass : A Novel Sarah Ferguson

Her Heart for a Compass by Sarah Ferguson

From one of the most famous former members of the British royal family, Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York –a mesmerizing novel of a young noblewoman’s coming-of-age that richly details both high society and low in Victorian England.

Sisters in Arms : A Novel of the Daring Black Women Who Served During World War II Kaia Alderson

Sisters in Arms by Kaia Alderson

Kaia Alderson’s debut historical fiction novel reveals the untold, true story of the Six Triple Eight, the only all-Black battalion of the Women’s Army Corps, who made the dangerous voyage to Europe to ensure American servicemen received word from their loved ones during World War II.

The Perfume Thief : A Novel Timothy Schaffert

The Perfume Thief by Timothy Schaffert

A Gentleman in Moscow meets Moulin Rouge in this stylish, sexy page-turner set in Paris on the eve of World War II, where Clementine, a queer American ex-pat and notorious thief, is drawn out of retirement and into one last scam when the Nazis invade.

The Show Girl : A Novel Nicola Harrison

The Show Girl by Nicola Harrison

Nicola Harrison’s The Show Girl gives a glimpse of the glamorous world of the Ziegfeld Follies, through the eyes of a young midwestern woman who comes to New York City to find her destiny as a Ziegfeld Follies star.

At Summer's End  Courtney Ellis

At Summer's End by Courtney Ellis

When an ambitious female artist accepts an unexpected commission at a powerful earl’s country estate in 1920s England, she finds his war-torn family crumbling under the weight of long-kept secrets. From debut author Courtney Ellis comes a captivating novel about finding the courage to heal after the ravages of war.

The Light of Luna Park  Addison Armstrong

The Light of Luna Park by Addison Armstrong

In the spirit of The Orphan Train and Before We Were Yours, a historical debut about a nurse who chooses to save a baby’s life, and risks her own in the process, exploring the ties of motherhood and the little-known history of Coney Island and America’s first incubators.

The Bookseller's Secret : A Novel of Nancy Mitford and WWII Michelle Gable

The Bookseller's Secret by Michelle Gable

In 1942, London, Nancy Mitford is worried about more than air raids and German spies. Still recovering from a devastating loss, the once sparkling Bright Young Thing is estranged from her husband, her allowance has been cut, and she’s given up her writing career. On top of this, her five beautiful but infamous sisters continue making headlines with their controversial politics.

Silent Winds, Dry Seas : A Novel Vinod Busjeet

Silent Winds, Dry Seas by Vinod Busjeet

Vinod Busjeet’s sweeping debut novel explores the intimate struggle for independence and success of a young descendant of Indian indentured laborers in Mauritius, a small multiracial island in the Indian Ocean.

The Last Mona Lisa : A Novel Jonathan Santlofer

The Last Mona Lisa by Jonathan Santlofer

A novel exploring the Mona Lisa’s very real theft in 1911 and the present underbelly of the art world, The Last Mona Lisa is a suspenseful tale, tapping into our universal fascination with da Vinci’s enigma, why people are driven to possess certain works of art, and our fascination with the authentic and the fake.

The Ophelia Girls  Jane Healey

The Ophelia Girls by Jane Healey

Alternating between the two fateful summers, The Ophelia Girls is a suspense-filled exploration of mothers and daughters, illicit desire, and the perils and power of being a young woman.

The Last Debutantes : A Novel Georgie Blalock

The Last Debutantes by Georgie Blalock

Fans of The Kennedy Debutante and Last Year in Havana will love Georgie Blalock’s new novel of a world on the cusp of change…set on the eve of World War II in the glittering world of English society and one of the last debutante seasons.

The Women of Troy : A Novel Pat Barker

The Women of Troy by Pat Barker

From the Booker Prize-winning Pat Barker, author of The Silence of the Girls and the Regeneration Trilogy, a distinguished new entry in the boom in fiction recasting classical myths from a modern perspective.

Are you looking forward to any of these books?

What historical fiction books are you looking forward to in 2021?  What books would you add to the list?