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12 Historical Novels to read in Summer 2019

The must read historical books coming out this Summer

Summer is almost with us and if you are a historical fiction fan, we have the top 12 releases out this summer, which we anticipate to be the must reads of the summer. You can click the titles to take you to Amazon so  you can get your hands on them in time for your holidays.

Don’t forget you can keep up to date with book news and watch your favourite historical fiction authors, including Barbara Erskine, Glynis Peters, Marius Gabriel, Rachel Kadish and Soraya M Lane, NOW in our MYVLF Theatre. It’s completely FREE to register. myvlf.com/register

Or find out more myvlf.com/findoutmore

1. The Tuscan Secret by Angela Petch (26th June)

Il Mulino. An old crumbling mill, by a winding river, nestled in the Tuscan mountains. An empty home that holds memories of homemade pasta and Nonna’s stories by the fire, and later: the Nazi invasion, and a family torn apart by a heartbreaking betrayal…

Anna is distraught when her beloved mother, Ines, passes away. She inherits a box of papers, handwritten in Italian and yellowed with age, and a tantalising promise that the truth about what happened during the war lies within.

The diaries lead Anna to the small village of Rofelle, where she slowly starts to heal as she explores sun-kissed olive groves, and pieces together her mother’s past: happy days spent herding sheep across Tuscan meadows cruelly interrupted when World War Two erupted and the Nazis arrived; fleeing her home to join the Resistenza; and risking everything to protect an injured British soldier who captured her heart. But Anna is no closer to learning the truth: what sent Ines running from her adored homeland?

When she meets an elderly Italian gentleman living in a deserted hamlet, who flinches at her mother’s name and refuses to speak English, Anna is sure he knows more about the devastating secret that tore apart her mother’s family. But in this small Tuscan community, some wartime secrets were never meant to be uncovered…

A stunning tale, inspired by true events, about how the tragic consequences of war can echo through generations, and how love can guide us through the darkest times. Fans of Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale and The Letter by Kathryn Hughes will be captivated.

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2. The Brighton Guest House Girls by Lesley Eames (4th July)

A saga of immense charm and warmth, with three characters you won’t forget. Thea, Anna and Daisy forge an unbreakable friendship through adversity…

Thea’s loathsome stepbrother is trying to trick her out of her inheritance of her parents’ beautiful house in the seaside town of Brighton by means of a Will which Thea believes to be forged. He gives her three months in which to leave. Afterwards she will face destitution. Anna is pregnant and grieving, her explorer fiancé lost at sea. Her violent father drives her from the family home in the back streets of London’s Bermondsey and her fiancé’s upper-class relatives cruelly reject her. Daisy is in search of independence, running from a man she doesn’t want to marry. Together the three girls set up Thea’s home as a guest house and embark on a mission to outwit her stepbrother by proving his fraud. In a race against time, nothing will turn out to be quite as it seems.

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3. The Warlow Experiment by Alix Nathan (4th July)

The year is 1792 and Herbert Powyss is set on making his name as a scientist. He is determined to study the effects of prolonged solitude on another human being, though before now Powyss’s sole subjects have been the plants in his greenhouse. He fills three rooms beneath Moreham House with books, paintings and even a pianoforte, then puts out an advertisement, hoping for a gentleman recluse to claim the substantial reward…

Only one man is desperate enough to apply for the job: John Warlow, a semi-literate labourer with a wife and six children to provide for. The experiment, a classic Enlightenment exercise gone more than a little mad, will have unforeseen consequences for all included. In this seductive tale of self-delusion and obsession, Alix Nathan has created an utterly transporting historical novel which is both elegant and unforgettably sinister.

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4. The Girl from The Corner Shop by Alrene Hughes (11th July)

WW2 Manchester: Newlyweds Helen and Jim Harrison have big plans – to leave the family shop where Helen works and set up home together. But when Jim is tragically killed in an air raid, Helen is heartbroken, her life in ruins.

Battling grief and despair, Helen resolves to escape her domineering mother and rebuild her shattered world. Wartime Manchester is a dangerous place, besieged by crime and poverty. So when Helen joins the Women’s Auxiliary Police Corps, working with evacuees, the destitute and the vulnerable, she finds a renewed sense of purpose. She’s come a long way from her place behind the counter in the corner shop.

But there’s still something missing in her heart. Is Helen able to accept love and happiness and find the courage to change her life?

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5. Tears of the Dragon by Jean Moran (11th July)

 

One sultry evening in Kowloon, Dr Rowena Rossiter and Sister Alice Huntley are off-duty and in search of fun – little knowing that their world is on the brink of collapse.

That night, Rowena will meet two men who will fight for her heart for the next four years. ConnorO’Connor, the rebellious Irish soldier, who will woo and then lose her, and Kim Pheloung. Immensely rich and the most beautiful man Rowena has ever seen, he is also the most ruthless, with a sinister need possess and control.

When the Japanese invasion leaves this previously strong and independent woman raped and broken, who will succeed in claiming Rowena’s body and soul? And will she ever learn to love the child born of that terrible Christmas Day?

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6. The Violin Maker’s Daughter by Sharon Maas (19th July)

When the Nazis march onto the cobbled streets of Colmar on November 1st 1940, Josef, a Jewish violin maker, gathers his wife and daughters closely to him and tells them everything will be alright.

But one year later, three sharp knocks on the door at midnight turn his seventeen year old daughter Sarah’s world upside down. As the oldest child, Sarah must be the first to leave her family, to make her escape in a perilous journey across France via Paris to Poitiers. And she must hide who she is and take a new name for her own safety. For now, bilingual Sarah is no longer a French Jew but a German girl.

As she bids farewell to her beloved father and family, Sarah has hope, against all odds, that she will see them again when the war is over. But, travelling through the mountains she finds herself in terrible danger and meets Ralf, a German deserter, who risks his own life to save her.

Ralf and Sarah continue their journey together, keeping their identities secret at all cost. But when Ralf is captured, will Sarah pay the ultimate price for sharing who she really is?

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7. The Secret Letter by Debbie Rix (22nd July)

London, 2018: When ninety-four-year-old Imogen receives a letter addressed to her in neat, unfamiliar handwriting, she notices the postmark is stamped from Germany – and it sends shivers down her spine…

Germany, 1939: Thirteen-year-old Magda is devastated by the loss of her best friend, shy and gentle Lotte, cruelly snatched from her and sent to a concentration camp – the Star of David sewn on her faded, brown coat. As the Nazi’s power takes hold, Magda realizes she’s not like the other girls in her village – she hates the fanatical new rules of the Hitler Youth. So Magda secretly joins The White Rose Movement and begins to rebel against the oppressive, frightening world around her.

But when an English RAF pilot lands in a field near Magda’s home she is faced with an impossible choice: to risk the lives of her family or to save a stranger and make a difference in the war she desperately wants to end.

England, 1939: Fifteen-year-old Imogen is torn from her family and evacuated to the Lake District, a haven of safety away from the war raging across Europe. All she has to connect her to the bombs and the battles are the letters she writes to her loved ones. Little does she know, on the other side of the enemy line, her fate rests on the actions of one girl who will change her life forever…

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8. The Work of Art by Mimi Matthews (23rd July)

An Uncommon Beauty…

Hidden away in rural Devonshire, Phyllida Satterthwaite has always been considered more odd than beautiful. But in London, her oddity has made her a sensation. Far worse, it’s caught the eye of the sinister Duke of Moreland—a notorious art collector obsessed with acquiring one-of-a-kind treasures. To escape the duke’s clutches, she’s going to need a little help.

An Unlikely Hero…

Captain Arthur Heywood’s days of heroism are long past. Grievously injured in the Peninsular War, he can no longer walk unaided, let alone shoot a pistol. What use can he possibly be to a damsel in distress? He has nothing left to offer except his good name.

Can a marriage of convenience save Philly from the vengeful duke? Or will life with Arthur put her—and her heart—in more danger than ever?

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9. The Bastille Spy by C S Quinn (1st August)

England’s best spy. France’s deadliest prison.

Paris, 1789. English spy Attica Morgan’s success freeing kidnapped Britons has earned her acclaim with an underground network. But it has also led to attention of dangerously powerful men. So when she’s given a new assignment in Paris, a city with revolution in the air, her instinct is to run.

Because in Paris, nothing is what it seems. Skirmishes in the city are rife and English visitors are viewed with suspicion. Attica is charged with investigating the murder of a rebel in the morgue of the Bastille, that notorious prison of no return. A murder her backers are convinced is part of a much more treacherous plot.

With France is on the cusp of a bloody revolution, Attica soon realizes her mission is a great deal deadlier than she bargained for. A mythic treasure has vanished, a strange man named Robespierre wants her dead, and on the city streets, all hell is about to break loose…

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10. The Corpse Played Dead by Georgina Clarke (19th August)

‘All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players…’

When an undercover assignment for the Bow Street magistrate sees prostitute Lizzie Hardwicke trade Ma Farley’s Bawdy House in Soho for life as a seamstress the theatre on Drury Lane, it becomes clear quite quickly – what goes on in the wings is much more intriguing than the theatrics being played out on stage…

Soon Lizzie is once again thrown together with the handsome Inspector Will Davenport when a high profile investor is brutally hanged at centre stage and Lizzie discovers the body. With the suspect list rivalling any casting call, Lizzie will have to use every trick she’s hidden up her sleeves to unravel the tangled threads and bring the culprit into the spotlight.

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11. You’ll Never See Me Again by Lesley Pearse (27th August)

Betty is running for her life . . . 

Young Betty dreams of settling down to an ordinary life with her husband. But when he returns broken and haunted from the Great War, she finds herself persecuted by his distraught mother – and yearns to escape.

It is only when a storm devastates the village that Betty sees her chance. Fleeing to Bristol and changing her name to Mabel Brook, she seeks a new life – only to discover destiny has other plans.

Penniless and alone, Mabel suffers a brutal attack before being rescued by a psychic named Nora Nightingale. She gets her first taste of those who receive messages from the dead and realizes she may have this power herself.

But Mabel fears her gift may be a terrible curse as it becomes ever harder to hide from the truth about who she once was – and the tragic life she left behind.

Soon Mabel receives her own message and is forced back to the very place she has escaped. A place of heartbreak and perhaps even murder – but to secure her future Mabel must confront her past one last time.

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12. Bone China by Laura Purcell (19th September)

‘Laura is a masterful writer, her deliciously gothic stories so skilfully woven that you can’t get them out of your head even if you wanted to’ Stacey Halls, author of The Familiars 

A Daphne Du Maurier-esque chiller set on the mysterious Cornish coast from the author of The Silent Companions and The Corset

Consumption has ravaged Louise Pinecroft’s family, leaving her and her father alone and heartbroken. But Dr Pinecroft has plans for a revolutionary experiment: convinced that sea air will prove to be the cure his wife and children needed, he arranges to house a group of prisoners suffering from the same disease in the cliffs beneath his new Cornish home.

Forty years later, Hester Why arrives at Morvoren House to take up a position as nurse to the now partially paralysed and almost entirely mute Miss Pinecroft. Hester has fled to Cornwall to try and escape her past, but surrounded by superstitious staff enacting bizarre rituals, she soon discovers that her new home may be just as dangerous as her last…

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Don’t forget you can keep up to date with book news and watch your favourite historical fiction authors, including Barbara Erskine, Glynis Peters, Marius Gabriel, Rachel Kadish and Soraya M Lane, NOW in our MYVLF Theatre. It’s completely FREE to register. myvlf.com/register