Historical Musings #76: Books to look out for in 2023

Now that 2022 is almost over, it’s time to look ahead to the historical fiction being published in 2023. I’ve listed below a selection of books that have caught my attention for one reason or another – some are review copies I’ve received (and in a few cases have already read), some are new books by authors I’ve previously enjoyed and others just sounded interesting. 2023 looks like being a great year for historical fiction and I hope there’s something here that appeals to you.

Dates provided are for the UK and were correct at the time of posting.

January

A Marriage of Fortune by Anne O’Brien (19th January) – Set during the Wars of the Roses, this is the sequel to The Royal Game and continues the story of the women of the Paston family.

For Thy Great Pain Have Mercy On My Little Pain by Victoria MacKenzie (19th January) – A novella describing a meeting in 1413 between Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe, two English mystics and authors.

My Father’s House by Joseph O’Connor (26th January) – Based on a true story, an Irish priest in Vatican City helps people escape from the Nazis.

February

The Whispering Muse by Laura Purcell (2nd February) – Laura Purcell’s new Gothic novel is set in a theatre in Victorian London, where an actress is said to have made a pact with Melpomene, the muse of tragedy.

Weyward by Emilia Hart (2nd February) – This book weaves together the stories of three women from different time periods who share a connection to witchcraft.

March

The Shadows of London by Andrew Taylor (2nd March) – The sixth book in Taylor’s excellent Marwood and Lovett mystery series set in the years following the Great Fire of London.

Lady MacBethad by Isabelle Schuler (2nd March) – The story of Gruoch, the real-life queen who was the inspiration for Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth. Having read several other books about Macbeth and Gruoch/Groa, I’ll be interested to see how this one compares.

The Secrets of Hartwood Hall by Katie Lumsden (30th March) – A Victorian Gothic novel about a young woman who becomes a governess at an isolated country house.

April

The House of Whispers by Anna Mazzola (6th April) – I’ve read all of Anna Mazzola’s previous novels and each one has been very different from the one before. This new book is set in Rome in 1938.

The King’s Jewel by Elizabeth Chadwick (13th April) – The new novel from Elizabeth Chadwick is set in 11th century Wales and tells the story of Nesta, daughter of Prince Rhys of Deheubarth.

Rivers of Treason by KJ Maitland (13th April) – The third book in the Daniel Pursglove mystery series sees Daniel returning to his childhood home in Yorkshire and falling under suspicion of murder.

Homecoming by Kate Morton (13th April) – A modern day journalist discovers a family connection with an unsolved murder case in 1950s Australia. I’ve enjoyed some of Kate Morton’s previous books but not others, so I’ll be interested to see what this one is like.

Prize Women by Caroline Lea (27th April) – Set in Canada during the Great Depression, this is the story of two women who become involved in the contest known as The Great Stork Derby.

May

Atlas: The Story of Pa Salt by Lucinda Riley and Harry Whittaker (11th May) – The final book in the Seven Sisters series, completed by Lucinda Riley’s son after her death in 2021. I can’t wait to find out the truth about Pa Salt at last!

A Lady’s Guide to Scandal by Sophie Irwin (11th May) – I loved Sophie Irwin’s A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting and her second novel, another one set in the Regency period, sounds just as entertaining!

Henry VIII: The Heart and the Crown by Alison Weir (11th May) – After writing a series of novels from the perspectives of Henry VIII’s six wives, now Alison Weir is going to give us Henry’s side of the story.

Music in the Dark by Sally Magnusson (11th May) – The new novel by Scottish author Sally Magnusson explores the lives of two people during the Highland Clearances of 1854.

The Ghost Theatre by Mat Osman (11th May) – This sounds like a very unusual novel about children in a theatrical troupe in Elizabethan London.

The Stolen Crown by Carol McGrath (18th May) – Following her recent She-Wolves trilogy, Carol McGrath goes further back in time for her new novel which tells the story of Henry I’s daughter Matilda and the period known as The Anarchy.

Mrs Porter Calling by AJ Pearce (25th May) – The third book in Pearce’s series about Emmy Lake, who works for Woman’s Friend magazine during World War II. I still need to catch up with the second one!

June

The Last Lifeboat by Hazel Gaynor (8th June) – Set in 1940, this new book by Hazel Gaynor tells the story of the evacuees sent away by sea during the war.

Disobedient by EC Fremantle (8th June) – A new EC Fremantle book is always something to look forward to and this one, about the 17th century artist Artemisia Gentileschi, sounds great.

The Square of Sevens by Laura Shepherd-Robinson (22nd June) – I’d been hoping for a third book in the Harry and Caro Corsham mystery series, but this new book about a fortune-teller in Georgian England could be even better!

The Other Side of Mrs Wood by Lucy Barker (22nd June) – This one sounds fun – it’s described as an ‘irresistible historical comedy about two rival mediums in Victorian London’.

July

The Housekeepers by Alex Hay (6th July) – An intriguing-sounding debut novel in which a group of servants plan to carry out a daring heist in a grand London house in 1905.

Lady Tan’s Circle of Women by Lisa See (6th July) – I usually love Lisa See’s books and this one is about the life of Tan Yunxian, a Chinese physician during the Ming dynasty.

The Murder Wheel by Tom Mead (11th July) – I loved Tom Mead’s first Golden Age-style mystery novel, Death and the Conjuror, and I’m pleased to see that he’s written another one, again featuring the magician Joseph Spector.

August

Fair Rosaline by Natasha Solomons (3rd August) – The second novel in this list with a Shakespeare connection, this is the story of Rosaline, the woman Romeo loved before beginning his tragic romance with Juliet.

Night Train to Marrakech by Dinah Jefferies (31st August) – The third book in the Daughters of War trilogy is going to be set in 1960s Morocco. I’m looking forward to finding out how the story ends.

October

Menewood by Nicola Griffith (3rd October) – The long-awaited sequel to Hild, this book will continue the story of St Hilda of Whitby. The first book was beautifully written and I’ve been looking forward to this one for years!

November

The Temple of Fortuna by Elodie Harper (23rd November) – This will be the final book in Elodie Harper’s trilogy set in ancient Pompeii. I loved The Wolf Den but still need to read the middle book.

December

The Witch’s Daughter by Imogen Edwards-Jones (7th December) – The sequel to The Witches of St Petersburg is set in 1916 and follows the story of Princess Militza’s daughter Nadezhda as the Russian Revolution approaches.

~

Are you interested in reading any of these? What else have I missed?

26 thoughts on “Historical Musings #76: Books to look out for in 2023

    • Helen says:

      Yes, I love the Andrew Taylor series so I’m particularly excited about reading that one. I need to read the second Elodie Harper book before the third one comes out!

  1. whatmeread says:

    Joseph O’Connor is always good, and I’ve been reading the Andrew Taylor series, so I’ll certainly read that. I’m iffy about Laura Purcell and Kate Morton, but I’ll probably read those. The series about the Paston family sounds interesting, although I haven’t read any of those yet.

  2. jekc says:

    I always look forward to Andrew Taylor’s novels. Thanks for posting, it’s interesting to see what’s coming up and I’ve made a note of a few books by authors I either haven’t read or haven’t come across.

  3. Lark says:

    So many good books coming out in 2023! I definitely want to read The Secrets of Harwood Hall and A Lady’s Guide to Scandal. But The Housekeepers sounds kind of awesome, too; servants planning a heist? Fun! 😀

  4. Elizabeth Bailey says:

    You caught my attention with Lady Macbethad. Had a look at it and might check that one out. I researched Macbeth thoroughly for my own “For One More Tomorrow” and the Shakespeare version as I am sure you know is mostly a fallacy, based on Holinshed as most of his then historical plays were. Gruoch’s story doesn’t look as if it bears resemblance to the truth either, but I found very little historical evidence of her. I’ll be interested to see if this author has managed to locate more data.

    • Helen says:

      I’ve come across Gruoch in fiction a few times but know nothing about the real historical woman. I would be interested to know what you think of the Isabelle Schuler book, if you do read it!

  5. FictionFan says:

    Gosh, this post should have a TBR warning! I’ve got The Square of Sevens and The Other Side of Mrs Woods in my wishlist already, but had missed the new Mazzola so thanks for the heads up on that! Looks like we won’t run short of books next year…

    • Helen says:

      No, I don’t think we’ll be running out of books anytime soon! Sorry if I’ve made your TBR even longer – hopefully the new Mazzola will be as good as her last one.

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