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Top Hist Fic Picks for June 2023
By Linda Ulleseit
June 2, 2023

June brings Father’s Day and the end of the school year, warm days and summer vacation. This year, though, June will be the highlight of the year. On June 27, my next historical novel, The River Remembers, will be released! Personally, I think it belongs in the Best Cover category, and the Best Title, and Most Interesting and Most Anticipated! Therefore, I will remove it from the competition and present it here.

In The River Remembers, three women have reason to be in Fort Snelling in 1835. All three are wildly different from one another, but they have one thing in common: the world is changing faster than they can cope with it.

​​Samantha Lockwood, refuses another suitor her father chooses for her, and he banishes her to live in the territory with her brother. He, too, tries to take over her marriage plans, but Samantha is determined to find her own husband, even when her choices go awry.

Day Sets demands that her white husband create a school to educate their daughter, supporting her father’s belief that his people must learn the ways of the white man in order to ensure the tribe’s future. Until events prove her father wrong.

Harriet Robinson’s life in the territory is more like that of a free person than anywhere she’s lived. She even falls in love with Dred Scott and dreams of a life with him. But they are both enslaved, and she keeps being reminded of how little control she has over her own fate.

As their cultures collide, each of these three women must find a way to direct her own future and leave a legacy for her children.

BEST COVER

Banyan Moon by Thao Thai (June 27)

“A compelling look at three generations of women, from 1960s Vietnam to modern-day Florida. … Readers who savor many unexpected twists and a surprising conclusion will be rewarded.” — Library Journal (starred review)

I love the colors in this one. If you’ve been reading my monthly new release blogs for awhile, you know how much I appreciate color! This is a story of a grandmother who passes away, and a daughter who is jealous of that grandmother’s relationship with her granddaughter. Of course there’s a derelict estate involved, that mother and daughter inherit together.

BEST TITLE

A Right Worthy Woman by Ruth P. Watson (June 13)

“In A Right Worthy Woman, Watson lovingly crafts a jewel of a story to bring life back to Maggie Lena Walker—a genius Black financial wizard of Jim Crow–era Virginia. Readers will prize her amazing legacy as a welcome and crucial addition to the growing collection of historical fiction about unsung Black women’s lives.” — Piper Huguley, author of By Her Own Design

This title implies a story about a strong woman. Maggie Lena Walker sees the gap between Black residents and white clients of her mother’s laundry in 19th century Virginia. Her ambition and determination drive her to rise from schoolteacher to an influential member of the Richmond business world.

MOST INTRIGUING

The Brightest Star by Gail Tsukiyama (June 20)

“The beloved bestselling author of The Color of Air, Women of the Silk, and The Samurai’s Garden returns with this magnificent historical novel based on the life of the luminous, groundbreaking actress Anna May Wong—the first and only Asian American woman to gain movie stardom in the early days of Hollywood.” ~book description

This one drew my interest because it’s a biographical novel of a woman I hadn’t heard about. Anna May Wong, the child of Chinese immigrants, becomes the first Asian American Hollywood star. She battles her family’s disapproval and the industry’s racism to do so, hiding illicit love affairs along the way.

MOST ANTICIPATED

The Spectacular by Fiona Davis (June 13)

“In The Spectacular, Fiona Davis has created a beautiful, evocative story of old New York. Marion and her fellow characters are fully alive, feeling individuals, who totally inhabit their world right down to the bittersweet ending.” —AuthorLink

So many of my favorite authors have books coming out this month! I had to choose this one, though, because it’s about Radio City Music Hall and the Rockettes in the 1950s. Marion Brooks becomes a Rockette but also helps the police find a bomber. She must blend in to be a Rockette, but stand out to solve the mystery.

WORLD WAR II

The Beach at Summerly by Beatriz Williams (June 27)

The Last Life Boat by Hazel Gaynor (June 13)

The Wind Knows My Name by Isabel Allende (June 6)

The Glass Chateau by Stephen P. Kiernan (June 20)

Caravans in the Dark by B. K. Oldre (June 6)

The Paris Daughter by Kristin Harmell (June 6)

WOMEN’S

Maddalena and the Dark by Julia Fine (June 13)

The Radcliffe Ladies’ Reading Club by Julia Bryan Thomas (June 6)

Hotel Laguna by Nicola Harrison (June 20)

The Ship’s Midwife by Peta Miller (June  7)

The Unreliable Death of Lady Grange by Lawrence Sue (June 6)

The Cherokee Rose by Tiya Miles (June 13)

COLD WAR

A Shadow in Moscow by Katherin Reay (June 13)

FRENCH REVOLUTION

Nemesis by Wilbur Smith (June 20)

MYTHOLOGY

Psyche and Eros by Luna McNamara (June 13)

MYSTERY

A Most Agreeable Murder by Julia Seales (June 27)

A Fatal Illusion by Anna Lee Huber (June 20)

Death Among the Ruins by Susanna Calkins (June 6)

The Devil’s Playground by Craig Russell (June 20)

Marion Lane and the Raven’s Revenge by T. A. Willberg (June 6)

This is Where it Ends by Cindy K. Sproles (June 27)

The Last Drop of Hemlock by Katherine Schellman (June 6)

BIOGRAPHICAL

Angelica Paintress of Minds by Miranda Miller (June 13)

Killingly by Katherine Beutner (June 6)

Starring Adele Astaire by Eliza Knight (June 6)

The First Ladies by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray (June 27)

Lady Tan’s Circle of Women by Lisa See (June 6)

FAMILY SAGA

Wedding Bells at Goodwill House  by Fenella J. Miller (June 1)

The Waterfront Lass by Annemarie Bear (June 6)

FANTASY

Morgan is My Name by Sophie Keetch (June 13)

ROMANCE

Rocky Mountain Rendezvous by Misty M. Beller (June 6)

An Uncharted Devotion by Amanda Taylor (June 6)

 

Need more books on your TBR? See more new release titles at Historical Novel Society.

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Linda Ulleseit

Written by Linda Ulleseit

Linda Ulleseit writes award-winning heritage fiction set in the United States. She is a member of Historical Novel Society, Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and Women Writing the West as well as a founding member of Paper Lantern Writers. Get in touch with her on Instagram (lulleseit) and Facebook (Linda Ulleseit or SHINE with Paper Lantern Writers).

View Linda’s PLW Profile

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