2022 is an exciting year for novels, especially historical novels. So as soon as 2021 ended, I put my old planner in the drawer and started to use a new calendar, a literary calendar marked with new releases written by many talented writers. Some of them I have known for years, and their novels have become my favorites. Expertly crafted, each tells a unique, compelling tale that will transport you to another time, another place. On this list, you’ll find stories of a persistent bookshop owner, a deadly female sniper, or a resilient investigative reporter and fascinating tales set in Paris, Germany, London, Barcelona and other cities!

Diana Giovinazzo, author of The Woman in Red, will publish her new novel, Antoinette’s Sister. It’s a topic I adore – I confess I’m perpetually fascinated by royals and empresses after years of researching and writing about Empress Wu, the first and only female ruler in China. Coming in early January:

Antoinette’s Sister, by Diana Giovinazzo

As Marie Antoinette took her last breath as Queen of France in Paris, another formidable monarch — Antoinette’s dearly beloved sister, Charlotte — was hundreds of miles away, in Naples, fighting desperately to secure her release from the revolutionaries who would take her life. Little did Charlotte know, however, that her sister’s execution would change the course of history — and bring about the end of her own empire.

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The bookstore Shakespeare and Company in Paris was one of my destinations when I visited Paris a few years ago. Who knew there was a story behind it? Also in January:

The Paris Bookseller, by Kerri Maher

The dramatic story of how a humble bookseller fought against incredible odds to bring one of the most important books of the 20th century to the world is in this new novel from the author of The Girl in White Gloves.

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Immigration. Dark secrets. Corruption. What would women do to fulfill their American dreams? Coming in February:

The Next Ship Home, by Heather Webb

Ellis Island, 1902: Two women band together to hold America to its promise: “Give me your tired, your poor … your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”

Francesca arrives on the shores of America, her sights set on a better life than the one she left in Italy. That same day, aspiring linguist Alma reports to her first day of work at the immigrant processing center. Ellis, though, is not the refuge it first appears thanks to President Roosevelt’s attempts to deter crime. Francesca and Alma will have to rely on each other to escape its corruption and claim the American dreams they were promised.

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I came to know Lisa Barr a few years ago at a Tall Poppy gathering. A woman about my height, Lisa had a husky voice and earnest eyes that would make you want to pour out all your secrets. And trust me, you will, if you spend 10 minutes with her. Here’s Lisa’s new novel, coming in March: 

Woman on Fire, by Lisa Barr

After talking her way into a job with Dan Mansfield, the leading investigative reporter in Chicago, rising young journalist Jules Roth is given an unusual – and very secret – assignment. Dan needs her to locate a painting stolen by the Nazis more than 75 years earlier: legendary Expressionist artist Ernst Engel’s most famous work, Woman on Fire. World-renowned shoe designer Ellis Baum wants this portrait of a beautiful, mysterious woman for deeply personal reasons, and has enlisted Dan’s help to find it. But Jules doesn’t have much time; the famous designer is dying. Meanwhile, in Europe, provocative and powerful Margaux de Laurent also searches for the painting. 

This is a thrilling tale of secrets, love and sacrifice that illuminates the destructive cruelty of war and greed and the triumphant power of beauty and love.

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Erika Robucks debut novel, Hemingway’s Girl, has captivated many readers with the story of a literary legend. Since then, she has written more books, notably The Invisible Woman, which portrays an extraordinary image of Virginia Hall. Coming in March, Sisters of Night and Fog has already received a starred review from Publishers Weekly!

Sisters of Night and Fog, by Erika Robuck

1940. In a world newly burning with war, and in spite of her American family’s wishes, Virginia decides to stay in occupied France with her French husband. She’s sure that if they keep their heads down they’ll make it through. But as the call to resist the enemy grows around her, Virginia must decide if she’s willing to risk everything to help those in need.

19-year-old Violette is a crack shot with an unquenchable spirit of adventure and she’s desperate to fight the Nazis however she can. When her mother sends her to find an exiled soldier, Violette meets the man who will change her life. Then tragedy strikes, and Britain’s clandestine war organization — the Special Operations Executive — learns of Violette’s dual citizenship and adept firearm handling and starts to recruit her. But Violette is no stranger to loss and must decide whether the cost of defiance is too great a price to pay.

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I believe I’m not the only one who’s waiting for a new novel from Kate Quinn with bated breath. The Alice Network, The Huntress, and The Rose Code have captivated many readers, and you certainly want to dive into this novel immediately! Coming on March 29!

The Diamond Eye, by Kate Quinn

An unforgettable World War II tale of a quiet bookworm who becomes history’s deadliest female sniper. Based on a true story. In the snowbound city of Kiev, wry and bookish history student Mila Pavlichenko organizes her life around her library job and her young son – but Hitler’s invasion of Russia sends her on a different path. Given a rifle and sent to join the fight, Mila must forge herself from studious girl to deadly sniper, a lethal hunter of Nazis known as Lady Death. When news of her 300th kill makes her a national heroine, Mila finds herself torn from the bloody battlefields of the eastern front and sent to America on a goodwill tour.

Still reeling from war wounds and devastated by loss, Mila finds herself isolated and lonely in the glittering world of Washington, DC – until an unexpected friendship with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and an even more unexpected connection with a silent fellow sniper offer the possibility of happiness. But when an old enemy from Mila’s past joins forces with a deadly new foe lurking in the shadows, Lady Death finds herself battling her own demons and enemy bullets in the deadliest duel of her life.

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What are the required qualities to be a perfect bride? How about a particular school that will train women to be such brides? How about brides of the Nazis? An intriguing concept and a fascinating story by my fellow Tall Poppy Writer, Aimie K. Runyan. Coming in April:

The School for German Brides, by Aimie K. Runyan

Germany, 1939. As the war begins, Hanna Rombauer, a young German woman, is sent to live with her aunt and uncle after her mother’s death. Thrown into a life of luxury she never expected, Hanna soon finds herself unwillingly matched with an SS officer. The independence that her mother lovingly fostered in her is considered highly inappropriate as the future wife of an up-and-coming officer and she is sent to a “bride school.” 

There, in a posh villa on the outskirts of town, Hanna is taught how to be a “proper” German wife. The lessons of hatred, prejudice and misogyny disturb her and she finds herself desperate to escape. For Rachel Altman, a German Jewish woman, the war has brought more devastation than she ever thought possible. Torn from her work, her family and her new husband, she fights to keep her unborn baby safe. But when the unthinkable happens, Rachel realizes she must hide. The risk of discovery grows greater with each passing day, but she has no other options.

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The Mayfair Bookshop, by Eliza Knight

USA Today bestselling author Eliza Knight brings together a brilliant dual-narrative story about Nancy Mitford — one of 1930s London’s hottest socialites, authors and a member of the scandalous Mitford Sisters — and a modern American desperate for change; they’re connected through time by a little London bookshop.

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In the Face of the Sun, by Denny S. Bryce

1928, Los Angeles: The newly-built Hotel Somerville is the hotspot for the city’s glittering African-American elite. It embodies prosperity and dreams of equality for all — especially Daisy Washington. An up-and-coming journalist, Daisy anonymously chronicles fierce activism and behind-the-scenes Hollywood scandals in order to save her family from poverty. But power in the City of Angels is also fueled by racism, greed and betrayal. And even the most determined young woman can play too many secrets too far . . .

1968, Chicago: For Frankie Saunders, fleeing across America is her only escape from an abusive husband. But her rescuer is her reckless, profane Aunt Daisy, still reeling from her own shattered past. Frankie doesn’t want to know what her aunt is up to so long as Daisy can get her to LA — and safety. But Frankie finds there’s no hiding from long-held secrets — or her own surprising strength.

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I’ve been a fan of Chanel Cleeton since I read her Next Year in Havana, a Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick, and lucky me, I’m reading an Advanced Reader Copy of this novel right now. You don’t want to miss this! Coming in May:

Our Last Days in Barcelona, by Chanel Cleeton

When Isabel Perez travels to Barcelona to save her sister Beatriz, she discovers a shocking family secret in New York Times bestselling author Chanel Cleeton’s new novel.

Barcelona, 1964. Exiled from Cuba after the revolution, Isabel Perez has learned to guard her heart and protect her family at all costs. After Isabel’s sister Beatriz disappears in Barcelona, Isabel goes to Spain in search of her. Joining forces with an unlikely ally thrusts Isabel into her sister’s dangerous world of espionage, but it’s an unearthed piece of family history that transforms Isabel’s life.

Barcelona, 1936. Alicia Perez arrives in Barcelona after a difficult voyage from Cuba, her marriage in jeopardy and her young daughter Isabel in tow. Violence brews in Spain, the country on the brink of civil war, the rise of fascism threatening the world. When Cubans journey to Spain to join the International Brigades, Alicia’s past comes back to haunt her as she is unexpectedly reunited with the man who once held her heart. Alicia and Isabel’s lives intertwine, and the past and present collide as a mother and daughter are forced to choose between their family’s expectations and following their hearts.

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All books are ready for pre-order, and the descriptions come from the back cover of the book.