Historical Fiction Romance Books

Best Historical Fiction Romance Books for Valentine’s Day

Time travel and enjoy a swoon-worthy rogue with these great historical fiction romance books for Valentine’s Day!

Historical Fiction Romance Books

Best Historical Fiction Romance Books

Are you a fan of Claire and Jamie Fraser? Do you enjoy roguish dukes or dangerous outlaws? Whether you’re a fan of the steamy or like it clean– I have something for everyone to capture the romance of the day. Enjoy this list of historical fiction romance books to keep you company this Valentine’s Day!


Almost Heaven by Judith McNaught

Judith McNaught is one of the original queens of the historical romance genre! And don’t let the stigma of weak damsels in distress get you down for this author– because she epitomizes the fact that strong women can enjoy this genre as well. She was the first female executive producer at a CBS radio station after all! She also worked as a controller for a major trucking company and as an assistant director for a film crew! Talk about being a strong woman with a thick skin in male dominated fields! And yet, she loves romance books- both writing them and reading them!

Almost Heaven takes you from the drawing rooms of London to the wilds of the Scottish Highlands.

Elizabeth Cameron, the Countess of Havenhurst, possesses a rare gentleness and fierce courage to match her exquisite beauty. But her reputation is shattered when she is discovered in the arms of Ian Thornton, a notorious gambler and social outcast.

A dangerously handsome man of secret wealth and mysterious lineage, Ian’s interest in Elizabeth may not be all that it seems. His voyage to her heart is fraught with intrigue, scandal, and passion, forcing Elizabeth to wonder: is Ian truly just a ruthless fortune hunter? Or could the love in his heart perhaps be true?

“Well-developed main characters with a compelling mutual attraction give strength and charm to this romance” (Publishers Weekly) You won’t be able to put down.

Historical Fiction Romance books

Books for Valentine's Day

Years by LaVyrle Spencer

LaVyrle Spencer is another legend in the historical romance genre. She was even inducted into the Romance Writers Hall of Fame in 1988. Twelve of her books were New York Times bestsellers and several of them were made into movies.She also won five (RITA) Romance Writers in America Awards, the highest award offered to romance writers, four of which were in the historical romance category.

She is known for crafting stories around realistic characters and stories that focus on families rather than just the relationship between the couple.

In Years, Spencer tells a World War I story about a school teacher who grows to womanhood in the arms of a man who’d given up on love.


Something Like Love by Beverly Jenkins

Beverly Jenkins is a historical romance writer who writes in a particular niche about early 19th century African-American life. (You may have seen me write about her in my Black Historical Fiction Authors article.) She chose this purposefully because she feels it is a period of African-American history that is overlooked.

She was voted on of the Top 50 Favorite African-American writers of the 20th century by the African American Literature Book Club. She also won the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award as well as many others.

In Something Like Love, Jenkins tells a story about the potential for change. Can someone change, or are they predestined to remain as they are?

Desperate to escape an arranged marriage, Olivia Sterling flees Chicago and heads west. She dreams of setting up her own seamstress shop in Henry Adams, a small all Black town in Kansas. But her plans are derailed when her train is robbed by Neil July and his notorious band of outlaws.

Neil is enchanted by the headstrong and lovely Olivia. No woman has ever set his blood on fire before, and he suspects no other woman ever will. When they meet again, Olivia is the town’s newly elected mayor and Neil is still the wanted outlaw. With bounty hunters on his trail, he would be wise not to linger, yet he can’t seem to leave her. Will Neil be able to convince Olivia to ride off into the sunset with him? Or will he finally lay down his guns for love?


historical fiction romance

Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin

Jeannie Lin is a newer voice on the scene. However, that in no way diminishes her power! Butterfly Swords was her debut novel, and right out of the gate it won her a Golden Heart Award! Since then, she’s been featured in USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly and was listed in Library Journal as one of the best Romance novelists of 2011.

In Butterfly Swords, Lin weaves a story set in the Tang Dynasty, a time awash with luxury yet littered with deadly intrigues and fallen royalty. Princess Ai Li flees before her wedding.

Miles from home, with only her delicate butterfly swords for defense, she enlists the reluctant protection of a blue-eyed warrior….
Battle-scarred, embittered Ryam has always held his own life at cheap value. Ai Li’s innocent trust in him and honorable, stubborn nature make him desperate to protect her—which means not seducing the first woman he has ever truly wanted….


Come From Away by Genevieve Graham

Genevieve Graham is a newer historical fiction author on the block– publishing her first novel in 2017. Since then, this Canadian has proven herself to be a force to be reckoned with, writing five historical fiction books in just five years! I can’t even imagine doing all that research that quickly!

Graham focuses on Canadian history. She began by highlighting the little known area of Nova Scotia and has since expanded to write about Canada as a whole. Since publishing, her books have become bestsellers and one is even already optioned to become a movie!

In Come From Away, Graham highlights a little known period of Nazi infiltration in North America.

In the fall of 1939, Grace Baker’s three brothers, sharp and proud in their uniforms, board Canadian ships headed for a faraway war. Grace stays behind, tending to the homefront and the general store that helps keep her small Nova Scotian community running. The war, everyone says, will be over before it starts.

Three years later, the fighting rages on and the harsh realities of war come closer to home when rumours swirl about “wolf packs” of German U-Boats lurking in the deep waters along the shores of East Jeddore, a stone’s throw from Grace’s window.

Then, one day, a handsome stranger ventures into the store. He claims to be a trapper come from away, and, as Grace gets to know him, she becomes enamoured by his gentle smile and thoughtful ways. But after several weeks, she discovers that Rudi, her mysterious visitor, is not the lonely outsider he appears to be. He is someone else entirely—someone not to be trusted.

When a shocking truth about her family forces Grace to question everything she has so strongly believed, she realizes that she and Rudi have more in common than she had thought. And if Grace is to have a chance at love, she must not only choose a side, but take a stand.

Set against the tumultuous years of World War II, Come from Away is a mesmerizing story about strangers, enemies, and friends—and the power of love to transcend the barriers that keep us apart.

historical

An Unseen Attraction by K. J. Charles

K.J. Charles lives in London and is a queer historical romance novelist. She is a prolific writer with over thirty books in her repoirtoire. She has won a number of awards including both a RITA and Rainbow award.

In An Unseen Attraction, Charles depicts a slow-burning romance and a chilling mystery that binds two men together.

Lodging-house keeper Clem Talleyfer prefers a quiet life. He’s happy with his hobbies, his work—and especially with his lodger Rowley Green, who becomes a friend over their long fireside evenings together. If only neat, precise, irresistible Mr. Green were interested in more than friendship. . . .

Rowley just wants to be left alone—at least until he meets Clem, with his odd, charming ways and his glorious eyes. Two quiet men, lodging in the same house, coming to an understanding . . . it could be perfect. Then the brutally murdered corpse of another lodger is dumped on their doorstep and their peaceful life is shattered.

Now Clem and Rowley find themselves caught up in a mystery, threatened on all sides by violent men, with a deadly London fog closing in on them. If they’re to see their way through, the pair must learn to share their secrets—and their hearts.


Enjoy these historical fiction romance books! I hope you find something to snuggle up with this Valentine’s Day!

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Serialized Storytelling Platforms

What are Serialization Storytelling Platforms?

Kindle Vella, Wattpad– these are two of the largest Serialization Storytelling Platforms available. But what does that mean, and are they worth checking out?

Serialization Storytelling Platforms

What are Serialization Storytelling Platforms?

Serialization. It’s defined as the process of breaking down a larger object into bite-sized pieces. And it’s becoming more prevalent than ever in the entertainment industry. Think of it– narrative podcast episodes, TV mini-series streaming, and of course it’s also hit storytelling! We now have authors dropping chapters or series episodes for readers to devour and build up anticipation for the next installment. And why not? Serialization Storytelling Platforms are not entirely new– Charles Dickens was famous for publishing this way. 

Studies have shown serialization leads to reader loyalty and interest. And our current society trends lend itself to this style of publishing/reading. Scrolling through and reading in short micro-break moments when we have a spare second. So, is this the wave of the future? Should we be looking into these platforms? If so, which ones should we try?

Let’s take a look at some of these serialization storytelling platforms below.

One thing to note, these are just two of the big name options out there. There are MANY more! Some options focus on just one specific genre, others have subscription models. Definitely do a deep dive on Google yourself if you’re interested!

Wattpad

Wattpad is a user-contributed fiction platform. It’s equated to the Youtube of the writing industry and is one of the original online serialization platforms. This means writers can upload anything– short stories, fan fiction, pre-released chapters etc. and share it with the world. 

Wattpad is free for all users, so that means writers are giving away their work for free. Great for readers, but one would question– does this benefit authors?

Well, it needs to be viewed as a social media site experience. Users are primarily readers, or else why would they be there searching for material? So, authors should consider it an opportunity to entice and gain followers.

Wattpad is built for the serialization format.Wattpad has made it impossible to upload an actual finished book in one single file. So, it must be uploaded and released in a chapter by chapter format. Readers can then favorite and follow an author and get an email sent to them when a new chapter is uploaded.

A word of caution– feedback I’ve found has said authors do need to be prepared to give away a full free book for best results. Just offering a few chapters leads to resentment as readers tend to view it as a paywall or bait and switch tactic. However, authors have said that at the bottom of their chapters they’ve linked to other published work for sale and hopefully readers will go ahead and purchase if they’ve become invested.

Overall thoughts? This is a definite long game option for authors. Could it work? Yes. However, it can take a long time and an investment of effort. But many authors claim they’ve found success with it and it has affected sales and gained them followers. One strategy mentioned has also been to consider using Wattpad as a beta reading process and then take their work down and publish as a full book after. 

Readers- Why not? It’s free for you to get exposed to TONS of new authors. And if you’re interested in the writing process, you can follow and participate in the editing process of an author’s new project. You do need to keep an open mind though as some work might be more polished than others. I’d say try it out and see what you think!

Kindle Vella

Kindle Vella is Amazon’s version of Wattpad. It is similar, but different. For one, it is not entirely free like Wattpad. And an important thing for authors to know– there is a commitment of exclusivity to Kindle Vella unlike with Wattpad.

If you go to the Kindle Vella website, you’ll see that the first few episodes (chapters) of any Kindle Vella story are free. However, after that a reader has to buy and use tokens to release the rest of the story. 

Feedback on this structure and application has been mixed. Readers get frustrated that it basically is a paywall. And authors have some behind the scenes things to consider as well.

One, Kindle Vella does pay the authors. Yay! Authors can expect to see 50% of the royalties. But, the price of a story varies depending on word count. For example, a 2,000 word story might cost 20 tokens while a 10,000 word story costs 100. Also, tokens vary in price depending how many a reader buys at a time. Right now, it costs readers about $1.99 to buy 200 tokens for about 20,000 words and $9.99 to buy 1,100 tokens for about 110,000 words. With that pricing an author could hypothetically make about $1 a read for 20,000 words. Not awful– do-able for readers and pretty fair for authors.

But Amazon reserves the right to change the price of tokens at any time. They could easily lower the cost of tokens which would benefit readers, but influence the author’s revenue.

Also Amazon periodically offers free token offers to entice readers to join the program. Yay, for readers, but authors then get no revenue for free token reads. 

One other difference between these two serialization storytelling platforms is the level of interaction between readers and authors. Both authors and readers love Wattpad because of the ability to leave comments and build a community. Authors view it as a free beta reading experience– you get firsthand reader’s feedback on the story as it’s unfolding. They can tweak and change things as they go if they see readers are experiencing strong reactions to something in the story. And readers love it because they get to feel that connection to the author and that their voice can be heard.

Kindle Vella does offer it’s own opportunities for feedback like liking and following a favorite author. Readers can also leave story crowns for their favorite story of the week which are then displayed in search results. Authors can also leave notes at the end of an episode including polls where readers can vote on particular things like which character is their favorite or what plot event should happen next. 

So one would argue, community can still be built between readers and authors, just in a more structured, formal way.

One of the biggest differences authors must keep in mind with Kindle Vella is that they must wait to publish their finished work in a novel format for a period of time after it is posted. There are also limitations as to how they can publish after. Like it MUST go into the Kindle Unlimited Store! And you must wait 60 days for your content to be removed from the Kindle Vella Store.

Overall thoughts? Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about Kindle Vella. For readers, there is a wide selection of content. If you’re already accustomed to using the Kindle app– you’ll find the format and store quite similar. I think in terms of value, you’re obviously can’t beat the free option with Wattpad, but as an author I love the idea of supporting the creator of the fiction you’re consuming. 🙂

For authors, I think it really depends what your plans are for after completion. If you don’t mind taking your time going wide (aka, to other vendors besides Amazon) it definitely could be worth trying.

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Black Historical Fiction Authors

Black Historical Fiction Authors

Looking for some Black historical fiction books? Here is a roundup of some fantastic Black historical fiction authors!

black historical fiction books

Black Historical Fiction Authors

I’m always looking for diverse voices in the historical fiction market. For so long it seemed to be a genre saturated with castles and royalty. Those stories are still entertaining and even important in their own way. I’m interested in the Tudors as much as the next girl. But there are so many other important stories out there! I’m loving that the market is expanding so dramatically! In the last year alone I’ve been exposed to so many new cultures and historical periods. I’m loving it! Today I want to focus on some amazing Black historical fiction authors I’ve found. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!


Beverly Jenkins

Beverly Jenkins has made a name for herself as the “Queen of Black historical romance”. She is a recipient of the 2017 Romance Writers of America Award, the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award, and has been nominated for the NAACP Image Award in literature. She has also been featured on NPR, CBS Sunday Morning, the Wall Street Journal and People Magazine.

Since her first book, Night Song, debuted in 1994, she has been trail blazing the way in writing historical romance stories with Black and multicultural characters.

Learn more about her at her website- https://beverlyjenkins.net/ and shop her books below!

Black historical fiction authors

Black historical fiction authors

Lola Jaye

You may have seen her most recent book- The Attic Child hitting the bestseller lists and getting attention with Book of the Month etc. But before this haunting story, Jaye was already writing thought provoking historical fiction.

Wartime Sweethearts is a unique multicultural take on the popular WWII time period of historical fiction and Orphan Sisters is an immigration story as well as a deeper look at life in 1950s London.

To learn more about Lola Jaye- visit her website at https://www.lolajaye.com/ and shop her books below!


Dr. Vanessa Riley

Have you read Island Queen yet? This book floored me and was one of my top historical fiction reads of 2021! But before this groundbreaking true story about a former slave girl who becomes one wealthiest and powerful landowners in the West Indies, Riley had already made a name for herself in the historical fiction market.

Her work as classified as straight historical fiction as well as historical romance and historical mysteries– all taking place in Georgian, Regency and Victorian eras.

Her books have been featured in Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly, NPR, Publisher’s Weekly and more!

To learn more about Dr. Vanessa Riley check out her website here- https://vanessariley.com/ and shop her books below!

Black historical fiction authors

Yaa Gyasi

Gyasi has become a legend in the historical fiction world. Her debut novel, Homecoming, came out in 2016 and at the tender age of 26– won her the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Award, the Pen/Hemingway Award, the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 honors, and the American Book Award. She also received a Vilcek Proze for Creative Promise in 2020.

To say this woman is talented is an understatement. But more importantly, she makes us think. Not only does she write about large sweeping periods in history to understand the ripple effects of events over time and generations, but she has also written and offered interviews in multiple publications about what reading in general does for us. How we read, why we read, what effect reading has on society etc.


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Author Highlight- Meet Jolie Tunnell

Author Highlight- Meet Jolie Tunnell

Joyana’s Author Spotlight Series is Back! This month meet historical

cozy mystery writer- Jolie Tunnell!

Author Highlight- Meet Jolie Tunnell, a historical cozy mystery writer!

Author HighlightMeet Jolie Tunnell

By this point, I hope you all know how much I love building a thriving book community. My favorite way to do that is by offering new introductions to writers. So, here we go- this month’s Author Highlight- Meet Jolie Tunnell, a fantastic historical cozy mystery writer!

Jolie began writing as soon as she could hold a pencil, however she waited fifty years and five kids later before she finally began her career as an author!

Jolie launched her Idylwood Mystery Series in 2020 and is now an award-winning and Amazon best-selling novelist in multiple categories! Just goes to show, it really is never too late to follow your dreams!

Her books are described as containing mystery, history and a pinch of poppycock! And seriously, her main protagonist, Loveda Brown, is fast becoming one of my favorite cozy mystery detectives! 

Not only has Jolie recently released a new book, Loveda Brown: Hide and Seek, which is the eighth in her series and available on Kindle Unlimited! But, she is also kind enough to share a free exclusive copy of the first of her Loveda Brown books- Loveda Brown: The Boston Burglar. 

You can claim this offer by signing up for her Newsletter. This is the murder mystery that Loveda Brown had to solve before she left her hometown of 1911 Boston forever.

Now without further ado- my interview with one of my favorite Indie Authors- Jolie Tunnell, everyone!

Jolie’s Writing Process:

So, as stated earlier, Jolie knew she wanted to be a writer from a young age. She apparently even made her own handmade books as a child!

She states that her handwriting is atrocious so she will only write on her computer. Her favorite place to write is an interesting one. 🙂 She created her own desk area in her closet and writes in there with the door closed! She does this with a hot cup of Yorkshire Gold black tea with sugar and milk. 

Jolie’s Reading Life:

As most authors are, Jolie is also an avid reader! Her favorite place to read is curled up in her recliner with a quilt and cup of tea. 

Some of her favorite authors are Janet Evanovich, Rudyard Kipling, Sue Grafton, Jane Austen, William Goldman, Alexandre Dumas, and she loves The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux!

The last book she read was Betsy and the Great World by Maud Hart Lovelace. 

She likes spunky female characters and could see herself being best friends with Jo March from Little Women. She would also love to get stuck in an elevator one day with Lula from Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series and a tub of fried chicken!

Other Things About Jolie:

She is most fascinated by the year 1912 right now and the pioneer days leading up to the Progressive Era. 

Her favorite places to travel are New Zealand and Italy.

Her top bucket list item is to write 100 books! (I’d say she’s on her way!)

For more information about Jolie and her fabulous Loveda Brown series- you can follow her at https://jolietunnell.com

And on social media at https://www.facebook.com/JolieTunnell/

https://www.instagram.com/jolietunnell/

Jolie’s Full Author Bio– Jolie Tunnell brings the past to life in a historical mystery series with a voice all her own. Author, freelance writer, blogger, and professional mom, she lives in Southern California with her hubby, five kids, and a pear-shaped cat. Minus the murders, Idyllwild has been her summer retreat for years.

Cozy up with a cuppa and enjoy her mountaintop mysteries with a feisty small town community, hidden villains, and the unsinkable Loveda Brown. She offers readers a historical whodunnit with the flavor of turn-of-the-century Wild West.
Visit JolieTunnell.com to find her blog, newsletter, sales calendar, and upcoming new releases!


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Best Historical Fiction Books 2022

Best Historical Fiction Books 2022

Enjoy a round-up of the best historical fiction books from 2022!

Best Historical Fiction 2022

Best Historical Fiction Books 2022

Another year has flown by! Man, that went fast! But with it came some fantastic writing! I’ve honestly really been impressed with the historical fiction books I’ve read this year. So, with that in mind, I’ve put together a list of my faves from the year. I hope you enjoy- so here it is- The Best Historical Fiction Books 2022!


The Magnolia Palace by Fiona Davis

I love Fiona Davis!! For a writer inspired by buildings in New York, she seriously manages to conjure up some amazing stories!


Eight months since losing her mother in the Spanish flu outbreak of 1919, twenty-one-year-old Lillian Carter’s life has completely fallen apart. For the past six years, under the moniker Angelica, Lillian was one of the most sought-after artists’ models in New York City, with statues based on her figure gracing landmarks from the Plaza Hotel to the Brooklyn Bridge. But with her mother gone, a grieving Lillian is rudderless and desperate—the work has dried up and a looming scandal has left her entirely without a safe haven. So when she stumbles upon an employment opportunity at the Frick mansion—a building that, ironically, bears her own visage—Lillian jumps at the chance. But the longer she works as a private secretary to the imperious and demanding Helen Frick, the daughter and heiress of industrialist and art patron Henry Clay Frick, the more deeply her life gets intertwined with that of the family—pulling her into a tangled web of romantic trysts, stolen jewels, and family drama that runs so deep, the stakes just may be life or death.

Nearly fifty years later, mod English model Veronica Weber has her own chance to make her career—and with it, earn the money she needs to support her family back home—within the walls of the former Frick residence, now converted into one of New York City’s most impressive museums. But when she—along with a charming intern/budding art curator named Joshua—is dismissed from the Vogue shoot taking place at the Frick Collection, she chances upon a series of hidden messages in the museum: messages that will lead her and Joshua on a hunt that could not only solve Veronica’s financial woes, but could finally reveal the truth behind a decades-old murder in the infamous Frick family.

Best Historical Fiction Books 2022

Hester by Laurie Lico Albanese

I loved this book! Call it my nerdy English teacher side coming out, I mean, I know there are few people out there who can say they truly enjoyed reading Nathaniel Hawthorne and the original Scarlet Letter. But Hester was an interesting examination of the original premise from a different perspective.

“A hauntingly beautiful––and imagined––origin story to The Scarlet Letter.” ––People

WHO IS THE REAL HESTER PRYNNE?

Isobel Gamble is a young seamstress carrying generations of secrets when she sets sail from Scotland in the early 1800s with her husband, Edward. An apothecary who has fallen under the spell of opium, his pile of debts have forced them to flee Glasgow for a fresh start in the New World. But only days after they’ve arrived in Salem, Edward abruptly joins a departing ship as a medic––leaving Isobel penniless and alone in a strange country, forced to make her way by any means possible.

When she meets a young Nathaniel Hawthorne, the two are instantly drawn to each other: he is a man haunted by his ancestors, who sent innocent women to the gallows––while she is an unusually gifted needleworker, troubled by her own strange talents. As the weeks pass and Edward’s safe return grows increasingly unlikely, Nathaniel and Isobel grow closer and closer. Together, they are a muse and a dark storyteller; the enchanter and the enchanted. But which is which?

In this sensuous and hypnotizing tale, a young immigrant woman grapples with our country’s complicated past, and learns that America’s ideas of freedom and liberty often fall short of their promise. Interwoven with Isobel and Nathaniel’s story is a vivid interrogation of who gets to be a “real” American in the first half of the 19th century, a depiction of the early days of the Underground Railroad in New England, and atmospheric interstitials that capture the long history of “unusual” women being accused of witchcraft. Meticulously researched yet evocatively imagined, Laurie Lico Albanese’s Hester is a timeless tale of art, ambition, and desire that examines the roots of female creative power and the men who try to shut it down.


Peach Blossom Spring by Melissa Fu

This book had me step outside my usual comfort zone. I was not at all familiar with either this period of history or this part of the world and their history. This book was not only so well researched and written, it was also extremely engaging. I was enthralled with these characters and their stories! I’m not going to lie, this was not an uplifting read or even what I would consider a happy ending. But, it was an important and informative read. I’m glad I read it and I would STRONGLY recommend it for others to read as well!

Within every misfortune there is a blessing and within every blessing, the seeds of misfortune, and so it goes, until the end of time.”

It is 1938 in China and, as a young wife, Meilin’s future is bright. But with the Japanese army approaching, Meilin and her four year old son, Renshu, are forced to flee their home. Relying on little but their wits and a beautifully illustrated hand scroll, filled with ancient fables that offer solace and wisdom, they must travel through a ravaged country, seeking refuge.

Years later, Renshu has settled in America as Henry Dao. Though his daughter is desperate to understand her heritage, he refuses to talk about his childhood. How can he keep his family safe in this new land when the weight of his history threatens to drag them down? Yet how can Lily learn who she is if she can never know her family’s story?

Spanning continents and generations, Peach Blossom Spring is a bold and moving look at the history of modern China, told through the story of one family. It’s about the power of our past, the hope for a better future, and the haunting question: What would it mean to finally be home?


The Good Left Undone by Adriana Trigiani

This was a beautiful multi-generational story. I loved learning a new perspective of how World War II affected a part of the world. This was a heartbreaking love story, but one full of understanding and hope for the next generation.

From “a master of visual and palpable detail” (The Washington Post), comes a lush, immersive novel about three generations of Tuscan artisans with one remarkable secret. Epic in scope and resplendent with the glorious themes of identity and belonging, The Good Left Undone unfolds in breathtaking turns.

Matelda, the Cabrelli family’s matriarch, has always been brusque and opinionated. Now, as she faces the end of her life, she is determined to share a long-held secret with her family about her own mother’s great love story: with her childhood friend, Silvio, and with dashing Scottish sea captain John Lawrie McVicars, the father Matelda never knew. . . .
 
In the halcyon past, Domenica Cabrelli thrives in the coastal town of Viareggio until her beloved home becomes unsafe when Italy teeters on the brink of World War II. Her journey takes her from the rocky shores of Marseille to the mystical beauty of Scotland to the dangers of wartime Liverpool—where Italian Scots are imprisoned without cause—as Domenica experiences love, loss, and grief while she longs for home. A hundred years later, her daughter, Matelda, and her granddaughter, Anina, face the same big questions about life and their family’s legacy, while Matelda contemplates what is worth fighting for. But Matelda is running out of time, and the two timelines intersect and weave together in unexpected and heartbreaking ways that lead the family to shocking revelations and, ultimately, redemption.


I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys

This was one of my top favorite reads of the year! I’d read about Communist Russia before and seen a glimpse of what it was like living under a Communist regime, but this was a whole new perspective.First off, this was Romania, and it was interesting to see just how infiltrated, sheltered and gaslit they were. I can’t imagine what it must be like to have no idea who to trust, not even your family.

A #1 New York Times and National Bestseller!
 
A gut-wrenching, startling historical thriller about communist Romania and the citizen spy network that devastated a nation, from the #1 New York Times bestselling, award-winning author of Salt to the Sea and Between Shades of Gray.

Best Historical Fiction Books 2022

Romania, 1989. Communist regimes are crumbling across Europe. Seventeen-year-old Cristian Florescu dreams of becoming a writer, but Romanians aren’t free to dream; they are bound by rules and force.
 
Amidst the tyrannical dictatorship of Nicolae Ceaușescu in a country governed by isolation and fear, Cristian is blackmailed by the secret police to become an informer. He’s left with only two choices: betray everyone and everything he loves—or use his position to creatively undermine the most notoriously evil dictator in Eastern Europe.
 
Cristian risks everything to unmask the truth behind the regime, give voice to fellow Romanians, and expose to the world what is happening in his country. He eagerly joins the revolution to fight for change when the time arrives. But what is the cost of freedom?
 
Master storyteller Ruta Sepetys is back with a historical thriller that examines the little-known history of a nation defined by silence, pain, and the unwavering conviction of the human spirit.


What were your best historical fiction books for 2022? Please be sure to add them below in the comments!

Enjoy this list of books? Be sure to check out my other Book Lists Here!

Great Book Endings

Great Book Endings

Can you think of some of the best book endings?

Great Book Endings

Great Book Endings from Literature

There are some great book endings out there!

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” The Great Gatsby, F.Scott Fitzgerald

“After all, tomorrow is another day.” Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell

“Isn’t it pretty to think so?” The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway

But what is it that makes a great ending and why does it matter?

I just had a great conversation with one of my best friends about the additional epilogue released from Colleen Hoover’s book, Verity. We both agreed we would have been happier if she’d left well enough alone.

But this got me thinking. How many times have I read a book and declared it was great except for the ending? And can you really like a book despite the ending?

Writers are trained to belabor over the first ten pages of a manuscript religiously. It’s what gets sent out to agents and editors, gets revised endlessly in critique groups, but should we be focusing more or at least equally on the ending of a book?

You may have seen me confess on social media that I often read the end of a book before I get there. I’m not exactly sure when or why I started doing this. I think it stems from a few things. 1. I’m super impatient and want to know how it turns out. 2. It’s kind of a guessing game type thing for me. Am I accurately guessing how things will turn out? And 3. I want to see if a book is worth my time. If it’s already slow going, I want to KNOW it gets better or if I should just cut my losses.

I used to feel it was betraying the author or some unwritten rule in the book world if I didn’t finish a book. It was sacrosanct, you start a book, you must finish it. But as I’ve grown older and time has become a more precious resource, I’ve accepted– not all books are worth finishing. If it’s not grabbing me, I can put it down and find something else that does.

That’s why endings need to be prioritized! Everyone’s time is valuable and there is nothing worse than investing time in a story to get to an end that does not provide the appropriate pay-off.

What are your thoughts on book endings?

To see some of Joyana’s other thoughts on books- check out her blog page here!

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