The Most Anticipated Historical Fiction Books of 2024 

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The Most Anticipated Historical Fiction Books of 2024 

Historical fiction is a genre with a sweeping scope and never has that statement felt more true than in 2024. 

Some of the biggest titles arriving this year feature stories set in periods from Ancient Rome to Tudor England and the Vietnam War. Some books take their inspiration from the stories of Greek myology and William Shakespeare; others, the lives of real-life figures like Maria Callas and little-known events like the West Virginia Mine Wars. There’s truly something for everyone arriving in the next few months, and readers are spoiled for choice.

Here are our picks for the biggest historical fiction books hitting shelves in 2024. 

Diva by Daisy Goodwin

Release Date: January 23 from St. Martin’s Press

Why We’re Excited: Full disclosure I will read anything about Maria Callas, so the promise of all the soapy draw of her relationship the Aristotle Onassis is just the icing on the cake.

Publisher’s Description: In the glittering and ruthlessly competitive world of opera, Maria Callas was known simply as la divina: the divine one. With her glorious voice, instinctive flair for the dramatic and striking beauty, she was the toast of the grandest opera houses in the world. But her fame was hard won: raised in Nazi-occupied Greece by a mother who mercilessly exploited her golden voice, she learned early in life to protect herself from those who would use her for their own ends.

When she met the fabulously rich Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, for the first time in her life, she believed she’d found someone who saw the woman within the legendary soprano. She fell desperately in love. He introduced her to a life of unbelievable luxury, showering her with jewels and sojourns in the most fashionable international watering holes with celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

And then suddenly, it was over. The international press announced that Aristotle Onassis would marry the most famous woman in the world, former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, leaving Maria to pick up the pieces.

The American Queen Most Anticipated Historical Fiction 2024

The American Queen by Vanessa Miller

Release Date: January 30 from Thomas Nelson Fiction

Why We’re Excited: Based on the true story of a group of formerly enslaved people who founded a utopian society in the Appalachian mountains in the 1860s, The American Queen is a fascinating tale about a little known period in American history and puts a very different spin on the kind of slavery-adjacent story we normally see in this genre.

Publisher’s Description: Over the twenty-four years she’s been enslaved on the Montgomery Plantation, Louella learned to feel one thing: hate. Hate for the man who sold her mother. Hate for the overseer who left her daddy to hang from a noose. Hate so powerful there’s no room in her heart for love, not even for the honorable Reverend William, whom she likes and respects enough to marry.

But when William finally listens to Louella’s pleas and leads the formerly enslaved people out of their plantation, Louella begins to replace her hate with hope. Hope that they will find a place where they can live free from fear. Hope that despite her many unanswered prayers, she can learn to trust for new miracles.

Soon, William and Louella become the appointed king and queen of their self-proclaimed Kingdom of the Happy Land. And though they are still surrounded by opposition, they continue to share a message of joy and goodness—and fight for the freedom and dignity of all.

The Women Most Anticipated Historical Fiction 2024

The Women by Kristin Hannah

Release Date: February 6 from St. Martin’s Press

Why We’re Excited: Look “A Vietnam War novel from Kristin Hannah” is pretty much all I needed to hear, to be honest.

Publisher’s Description: Women can be heroes. When twenty-year-old nursing student Frances “Frankie” McGrath hears these words, it is a revelation. Raised in the sun-drenched, idyllic world of Southern California and sheltered by her conservative parents, she has always prided herself on doing the right thing. But in 1965, the world is changing, and she suddenly dares to imagine a different future for herself. When her brother ships out to serve in Vietnam, she joins the Army Nurse Corps and follows his path.

As green and inexperienced as the men sent to Vietnam to fight, Frankie is overwhelmed by the chaos and destruction of war. Each day is a gamble of life and death, hope and betrayal; friendships run deep and can be shattered in an instant. In war, she meets—and becomes one of—the lucky, the brave, the broken, and the lost.

But war is just the beginning for Frankie and her veteran friends. The real battle lies in coming home to a changed and divided America, to angry protesters, and to a country that wants to forget Vietnam.

Medea Most Anticipated Historical Fiction 2024

Medea by Eilish Quin

Release Date: February 13 from Atria Books

Why We’re Excited: Look, it’s about time that the publishing industry’s recent obsession with historical fiction centered on Greek mythological retellings got around to Medea, is all I’m saying. Get hype, because Eilish Quin is set to give one of history’s most reviled women her voice back.

Publisher’s Description: Among the women of Greek mythology, the witch Medea may be the most despised. Known for the brutal act of killing her own children to exact vengeance on her deceitful husband, the Argonauts leader Jason, Medea has carved out a singularly infamous niche in our histories.

But what if that isn’t the full story?

The daughter of a sea nymph and the granddaughter of a Titan, Medea is a paradox. She is at once rendered compelling by virtue of the divinity that flows through her bloodline and made powerless by the fact of her being a woman. As a child, she intuitively submerges herself in witchcraft and sorcery, but soon finds it may not be a match for the prophecies that hang over her entire family like a shroud.

As Medea comes into her own as a woman and a witch, she also faces the arrival of the hero Jason, preordained by the gods to be not only her husband, but also her lifeline to escape her isolated existence. Medea travels the treacherous seas with the Argonauts, battles demons she had never conceived of, and falls in love with the man who may ultimately be her downfall.

Warm Hands of Ghosts Fantasy 2024

The Warm Hands of Ghosts by Katherine Arden

Release Date: February 13 from Del Ray

Why We’re Excited: The latest novel from the author of the (truly excellent) Winternight trilogy, Katherine Arden’s The Warm Hands of Ghosts is a complicated historical fantasy about war, trauma, love, and the strangely mysterious hotel whose owner seems to be able to keep the war at bay for some of its victims.

Publisher’s Description: January 1918. Laura Iven was a revered field nurse until she was wounded and discharged from the medical corps, leaving behind a brother still fighting in Flanders. Now home in Halifax, Canada, Laura receives word of Freddie’s death in combat, along with his personal effects—but something doesn’t make sense. Determined to uncover the truth, Laura returns to Belgium as a volunteer at a private hospital, where she soon hears whispers about haunted trenches and a strange hotelier whose wine gives soldiers the gift of oblivion. Could Freddie have escaped the battlefield, only to fall prey to something—or someone—else?

November 1917. Freddie Iven awakens after an explosion to find himself trapped in an overturned pillbox with a wounded enemy soldier, a German by the name of Hans Winter. Against all odds, the two form an alliance and succeed in clawing their way out. Unable to bear the thought of returning to the killing fields, especially on opposite sides, they take refuge with a mysterious man who seems to have the power to make the hellscape of the trenches disappear.

As shells rain down on Flanders and ghosts move among those yet living, Laura’s and Freddie’s deepest traumas are reawakened. Now they must decide whether their world is worth salvaging—or better left behind entirely.

The Fox Wife Most Anticipated Historical Fiction 2024

The Fox Wife by Yangsze Choo

Release Date: February 13 from Henry Holt & Co.

Why We’re Excited: Set in early 1900s Manchuria, The Fox Wife deftly mixes Japanese folklore with a detective mystery in this lyrical story of a fox spirit searching for the photographer she believes is responsible for her child’s death.

Publisher’s Description: Manchuria, 1908. In the last years of the dying Qing Empire, a courtesan is found frozen in a doorway. Her death is clouded by rumors of foxes, which are believed to lure people by transforming themselves into beautiful women and handsome men. Bao, a detective with an uncanny ability to sniff out the truth, is hired to uncover the dead woman’s identity. Since childhood, Bao has been intrigued by the fox gods, yet they’ve remained tantalizingly out of reach—until, perhaps, now.

Meanwhile, a family who owns a famous Chinese medicine shop can cure ailments but can’t escape the curse that afflicts them—their eldest sons die before their twenty-fourth birthdays. When a disruptively winsome servant named Snow enters their household, the family’s luck seems to change—or does it?

Snow is a creature of many secrets, but most of all she’s a mother seeking vengeance for her lost child. Hunting a murderer, she will follow the trail from northern China to Japan, while Bao follows doggedly behind. Navigating the myths and misconceptions of fox spirits, both Snow and Bao will encounter old friends and new foes, even as more deaths occur.

Neferura Most Anticipated historical Fiction 2024

Neferura by Malayna Evans

Release Date: February 13 from Sourcebooks Landmark

Why We’re Excited: Set during Egypt’s 18th Dynasty, this story of Neferura, the daughter of female pharaoh Hatshepsut is fierce, feminist, and full of fast-paced political intrigue. (Not to mention more than a few wildly intense period details.)

Publisher’s Description: Neferura, princess and high priestess of Kemet, knows her duty is to her people. When your mother is the great Pharaoh, it is hard to forget. But Neferura’s unique position at court comes with high stakes for her country, especially when she’s forced to serve her vile half-brother, a man determined to stop Neferura’s potential rise.

Peace, it seems, never lasts for women who wield power in the open. Especially when they cross a vengeful man.

When Neferura overhears Thutmose’s plot to end her mother’s rule, she knows he must be stopped, no matter the cost. The discovery of a mysterious tattooed wisewoman and her shadowy network of spies offers an uneasy alliance. But the wisewoman wields more power than Neferura knew possible—power with the potential to rival her own. Neferura must decide where her loyalties lie and how much she’s willing to sacrifice to protect the people she loves before everything crumbles at the hands of a tyrant.

Sun of Blood and Ruin Most Anticipated Historical Fiction 2024

Sun of Blood and Ruin by Mariely Lares

Release Date: February 20 from Harper Voyager

Why We’re Excited: A creative, feminist reimagining of Zorro set in 16th century New Spain, this book is the sort of historical fiction that blends Mexican history​​, Mesoamerican mythology, and a dash of magic to form something wonderfully fresh and fun. 

Publisher’s Description: In sixteenth-century New Spain, witchcraft is punishable by death, indigenous temples have been destroyed, and tales of mythical creatures that once roamed the land have become whispers in the night. Hidden behind a mask, Pantera uses her magic and legendary swordplay skills to fight the tyranny of Spanish rule.

To all who know her, Leonora de las Casas Tlazohtzin never leaves the palace and is promised to the heir of the Spanish throne. The respectable, law-abiding Lady Leonora faints at the sight of blood and would rather be caught dead than meddle in court affairs.

No one suspects that Leonora and Pantera are the same person. Leonora’s charade is tragically good, and with magic running through her veins, she is nearly invincible. Nearly. Despite her mastery, she is destined to die young in battle, as predicted by a seer.

When an ancient prophecy of destruction threatens to come true, Leonora—and therefore Pantera—is forced to decide: surrender the mask or fight to the end. Knowing she is doomed to a short life, she is tempted to take the former option. But the legendary Pantera is destined for more than an early grave, and once she discovers the truth of her origins, not even death will stop her.

The Hidden Life of Cecily Larson Most Anticipated Historical Fiction 2024

The Hidden Life of Cecily Larson  by Ellen Baker

Release Date: February 20 from Mariner Books

Why We’re Excited: A sweeping multigenerational saga that’s being compared to Water for Elephants, The Hidden Life of Cecil Larson follows the story of a young girl taken from a Chicago orphanage and trained to be a bareback rider in the circus, a decision that sets her life on an unexpected course with ramifications that impact her family for decades. 

Publisher’s Description: In 1924, four-year-old Cecily Larson’s mother reluctantly drops her off at an orphanage in Chicago, promising to be back once she’s made enough money to support both Cecily and herself. But she never returns, and shortly after high-spirited Cecily turns seven, she is sold to a traveling circus to perform as the “little sister” to glamorous bareback rider Isabelle DuMonde. With Isabelle and the rest of the circus, Cecily finally feels she’s found the family she craves. But as the years go by, the cracks in her little world begin to show. And when teenage Cecily meets and falls in love with a young roustabout named Lucky, she finds her life thrown onto an entirely unexpected—and dangerous—course.

In 2015, Cecily is now 94 and living a quiet life in Minnesota, with her daughter, granddaughter, and great-grandson. But when her family decides to surprise her with an at-home DNA test, the unexpected results not only bring to light the tragic love story that Cecily has kept hidden for decades but also throw into question everything about the family she’s raised and claimed as her own for nearly seventy years. Cecily and everyone in her life must now decide who they really are and what family—and forgiveness—really mean.

I Am Rome Most Anticipated Historical Fiction 2024

I Am Rome by Santiago Posteguillo

Release Date: March 5 from Ballantine Books

Why We’re Excited: The international hit from Spanish author Santiago Posteguillo delves deep into the rise of Julius Caesar with a story set well before he was the man the world would remember. One part historical ode, one part political drama, and one part legal thriller, this historical fiction doorstopper promises a wild ride. 

Publisher’s Description: Every legend has a beginning . . .

Rome, 77 B.C. The corrupt Senator Dolabella is about to go on trial for his crimes.

But Dolabella owns the jury. He’s hired the best lawyers in the city. And he’s very willing to use violence against those who oppose him. 

In all of Rome, no man dares accept the role of prosecutor—until, against all odds, an unknown twenty-three-year-old steps out to lead the case, defend the people of the city, and defy the power of the ruling elite. 

That lawyer’s name is Gaius Julius Caesar.

The Tower cover

The Tower by Flora Carr

Release Date: March 5 from Doubleday

Why We’re Excited: A claustrophobic story about Mary, Queen of Scots’ imprisonment in Lochleven Castle, The Tower tackles much broader issues —-class, religion, sexuality—alongside its exploration of a lesser-known period in the Scots queen’s life. 

Publisher’s Description: Scotland, 1567. A pregnant Mary, Queen of Scots is dragged out of her palace by rebel lords and imprisoned in the isolated Lochleven Castle, an ancient fortress surrounded by a vast lake. Her infant son and heir, James, has been captured by her enemies. 

Accompanying Mary are two inconspicuous serving observant, ambitious Jane and romantic, quick-tempered Cuckoo, who endeavor to keep their mercurial mistress company while sharing the space of a claustrophobic room over the course of their eleven-month forced stay. Their hosts want them dead. They’ll settle for Mary’s abdication.

After Mary reluctantly surrenders her throne, her closest friend, the reserved, devoted Lady Seton, is permitted to join the captive women. Against the odds, as they hatch a perilous getaway plan, the four women form a bond that transcends class and religion, and for Jane and Seton, becomes something even deeper. At the center of it all is Mary–calculating, charming, brave, and unbowed. Flora Carr’s thrilling, feverish debut is a celebration of resilience, a meditation on the meaning of power, and a testament to the unshakeable strength of female friendship, starring one of history’s most charismatic leaders.

The Great Divide Most Anticipated Historical Fiction 2024

The Great Divide by Cristina Henriquez

Release Date: March 5 from Ecco

Why We’re Excited: This ambitious historical fiction tale of the construction of the Panama Canal is told through the intersecting lives of a dozen different characters and sounds like exactly the sort of story this genre is to spotlight. 

Publisher’s Description: It is said that the canal will be the greatest feat of engineering in history. But first, it must be built. For Francisco, a local fisherman who resents the foreign powers clamoring for a slice of his country, nothing is more upsetting than the decision of his son, Omar, to work as a digger in the excavation zone. But for Omar, whose upbringing was quiet and lonely, this job offers a chance to finally find connection.

Ada Bunting is a bold sixteen-year-old from Barbados who arrives in Panama as a stowaway alongside thousands of other West Indians seeking work. Alone and with no resources, she is determined to find a job that will earn enough money for her ailing sister’s surgery. When she sees a young man—Omar—who has collapsed after a grueling shift, she is the only one who rushes to his aid.

John Oswald has dedicated his life to scientific research and has journeyed to Panama in single-minded pursuit of one goal: eliminating malaria. But now, his wife, Marian, has fallen ill herself, and when he witnesses Ada’s bravery and compassion, he hires her on the spot as a caregiver. This fateful decision sets in motion a sweeping tale of ambition, loyalty, and sacrifice.

The Girls We SEnt Away Most Anticipated Historical Fiction 2024

The Girls We Sent Away by Megan Church

Release Date: March 5 from Sourcebooks Landmark

Why We’re Excited: This story of an unwed young mother sent to a “maternity home” by her parents and tricked into signing away her rights to her child may technically be about the Baby Scoop Era of the 1960s, but its themes of female agency and bodily autonomy still feel all too relevant and necessary today.

Publisher’s Description: It’s the 1960s and Lorraine Delford has it all – an upstanding family, a perfect boyfriend, and a white picket fence home in North Carolina. Yet every time she looks through her father’s telescope, she dreams of the stars. It’s ambitious, but Lorraine has always been exceptional. 

But when this darling girl-next-door gets pregnant, she’s forced to learn firsthand the realities that keep women grounded.  To hide their daughter’s secret shame, the Delfords send Lorraine to a maternity home for wayward girls. But this is no safe haven – it’s a house with dark secrets and suffocating rules. And as Lorraine begins to piece together a new vision for her life, she must decide if she can fight against the powers that aim to take her child or submit to the rules of a society she once admired.

All Our Ye

All Our Yesterdays by Joel H. Morris

Release Date: March 12 from G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Why We’re Excited: The sudden deluge of historical fiction centered on the origins of Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth is absolutely targeted at me, specifically, and that All Our Yesterdays is already drawing comparisons to Maggie O’Farrell’s Hamnet should have literature nerds frothing at the bit. (It’s me. Hi. I’m the problem, it’s me.) 

Publisher’s Description: Scotland, the 11th Century. Born in a noble household and granddaughter of a forgotten Scottish king, a young girl carries the guilt of her mother’s death and the weight of an unknowable prophecy. When she is married, at fifteen, to the Mormaer of Moray, she experiences firsthand the violence of a sadistic husband and a kingdom constantly at war. To survive with her young son in a superstitious realm, she must rely on her own cunning and wit, especially when her husband’s downfall inadvertently sets them free.

Suspicious of the dark devices that may have led to his father’s death, her son watches as his mother falls in love with the enigmatic thane Macbeth. Now a woman of stature, Lady Macbeth confronts a world of masculine power and secures the protection of her family. But the coronation of King Duncan and the political maneuvering of her cousin Macduff set her on a tragic course, one where her own success might mean embracing the very curse that haunts her and risking the child she loves.

The Divorcees Most Anticipated Historical Fiction 2024

The Divorcees by Rowan Beaird

Release Date: March 19 from Flatiron Books

Why We’re Excited: This complex story of female friendship is set at a 1950s “divorce ranch” in Reno, where women can file to leave their husbands after six weeks of Nevada residency. We stan women seizing their own agency in any era. 

Publisher’s Description: Lois Saunders thought that marrying the right man would finally cure her loneliness. But as picture-perfect as her husband is, she is suffocating in their loveless marriage. In 1951, though, unhappiness is hardly grounds for divorce—except in Reno, Nevada.

At the Golden Yarrow, the most respectable of Reno’s famous “divorce ranches,” Lois finds herself living with half a dozen other would-be divorcees, all in Reno for the six weeks’ residency that is the state’s only divorce requirement. They spend their days riding horses and their nights flirting with cowboys, and it’s as wild and fun as Lake Forest, Illinois, is prim and stifling. But it isn’t until Greer Lang arrives that Lois’s world truly cracks open. Gorgeous, beguiling, and completely indifferent to societal convention, Greer is unlike anyone Lois has ever met—and she sees something in Lois that no one else ever has. Under her influence, Lois begins to push against the limits that have always restrained her. How far will she go to forge her independence, on her own terms?

All We Were Promised by Ashton Lattimore

Release Date: April 2 from Ballantine Books

Why We’re Excited: This debut novel is set in pre-Civil War Philadelphia and explores the lives of three young Black women each trying to make a life for themselves in a free city while so many of their people remained enslaved. A unique setting and premise make this one a must-read.

Publisher’s Description: Philadelphia, 1837. After Charlotte escaped from the crumbling White Oaks plantation down South, she’d expected freedom to feel different from her former life as an enslaved housemaid. After all, Philadelphia is supposed to be the birthplace of American liberty. Instead, she’s locked away playing servant to her white-passing father, as they both attempt to hide their identities from slavecatchers who would destroy their new lives.

Longing to break away, Charlotte befriends Nell, a budding abolitionist from one of Philadelphia’s wealthiest Black families. Just as Charlotte starts to envision a future, a familiar face from her past reappears: Evie, her friend from White Oaks, has been brought to the city by the plantation mistress, and she’s desperate to escape. But as Charlotte and Nell conspire to rescue her, in a city engulfed by race riots and attacks on abolitionists, they soon discover that fighting for Evie’s freedom may cost them their own.

1666 Most Anticipated Historical Fiction 2024

1666 by Lora Chilton

Release Date: April 2 from Sibylline Press

Why We’re Excited: There truly isn’t enough historical fiction focused on Indigenous stories, and Lora Chilton’s 1666 focuses on the sort of largely untold story that deserves increased attention. A retelling of teh Survival Story of the Patawomeck Tribe of Virginia, it follows three Indigenous women who recount the events of the summer of 1667 when colonists attacked and massacred their tribe, sending the surviving women to Barbados via slave ship.

Publisher’s Description: The survival story of the Patawomeck Tribe of Virginia has been remembered within the tribe for generations, but the massacre of Patawomeck men and the enslavement of women and children by land hungry colonists in 1666 has been mostly unknown outside of the tribe until now. 

Author Lora Chilton, a member of the tribe through the lineage of her father, has created this powerful fictional retelling of the survival of the tribe through the lives of three women. 1666: After the Massacre is the imagined story of the indigenous Patawomeck women who lived through the decimation of their tribe in the summer of 1666. Told in first person point of view, this historical novel is the harrowing account of the Patawomeck women who were sold and transported to Barbados via slave ship. The women are separated and bought by different sugar plantations, and their experiences as slaves diverge as they encounter the decadence and clashing cultures of the Anglican, Quaker, Jewish and African populations living in sugar rich “Little England” in the 1660’s. 

The Celestial Wife Most Anticipated Historical Fiction 2024

The Celestial Wife by Leslie Howard

Release Date: April 9 from Simon & Schuster

Why We’re Excited: This 1960s set story of a fundamentalist Mormon who escapes her polygamist community when faced with the prospect of a forced marriage to a man four times her age is certain to appeal to anyone who couldn’t look away from Netflix docs like Keep Sweet, Pray, and Obey

Publisher’s Description: 1964. Fifteen-year-old Daisy Shoemaker dreams of life beyond her small, isolated fundamentalist Mormon community of Redemption on the Canada—US border—despite Bishop Thorsen’s warning that the outside world is full of sin. According to the Principle, the only way to enter the celestial kingdom is through plural marriage. While the boys are taught to work in the lucrative sawmill that supports their enclave, Daisy and her best friend, Brighten, are instructed to keep sweet and wait for Placement—the day the bishop will choose a husband for them. But Daisy wants to be more than a sister-wife and a mother. So when she is placed with a man forty years her senior, she makes the daring decision to flee Redemption.

Years later, Daisy has a job and a group of trustworthy friends. Emboldened by the ideas of the feminist and counterculture movements, she is freer than she has ever been…until Brighten reaches out with a cry for help and Daisy’s past comes hurtling back. But to save the women she left behind, Daisy must risk her newfound independence and return to Redemption, where hellfire surely awaits.

The Passionate Tudor Most Anticipated Historical Fiction 2024

The Passionate Tudor: A Novel of Queen Mary I by Alison Weir

Release Date: May 7 from Ballantine Books

Why We’re Excited: When discussing the Tudor family, most of the focus is almost always on King Henry VIII and the story of his six wives or the triumph of his daughter Elizabeth, who went on to become one of the most famous queens in all of history. His eldest child, Mary Tudor, is often forgotten or swept aside, with little more than the unfair sobriquet (“Bloody Mary”) to summarize her life and time on England’s throne. But this latest historical fiction novel from Alison Weir, the author of the Six Wives series, is here to change all that with The Passionate Tudor, which aims to finally give Mary her due. 

Publisher’s Description: Born from young King Henry’s first marriage, his elder daughter, Princess Mary, is raised to be queen once it becomes clear that her mother, Katherine of Aragon, will bear no more surviving children. However, Henry’s restless eye has a devastating influence on the young princess’s future when he declares her a bastard and his marriage to her mother unlawful. In hopes of a male heir, he marries Anne Boleyn and banishes Katherine and Mary from the royal court. But when Anne too fails to produce a son, she is beheaded and Mary is allowed to return to court as the default heir. At age twenty, she hopes in vain for her own marriage and children, but who will marry her, bastard that she is?

Yet Mary eventually triumphs and becomes queen, after first putting down a seventeen-year-old usurper, Lady Jane Grey, and ordering her beheading. Any hopes that as the first female queen to rule Britain Mary will show more compassion are dashed when she embarks on a ruthless campaign to force Catholicism on the English by burning hundreds of Protestants at the stake. But while her brutality will forever earn her the name Bloody Mary, at heart she is an insecure and vulnerable woman, her character forged by the unhappiness of her early years.

Rednecks Most Anticipated Historical Fiction 2024

Rednecks by Taylor Brown

Release Date: May 14 from St. Martin’s Press

Why We’re Excited: This story about the West Virginia Mine Wars that led to the largest labor uprising in American history in the early twentieth century feels incredibly relevant to our current larger societal discussions about workers’ rights and community power. 

Publisher’s Description: Rednecks is a tour de force, big canvas historical novel that dramatizes the 1920 to 1921 events of the West Virginia Mine Wars–from the Matewan Massacre through the Battle of Blair Mountain, the largest armed conflict on American soil since the Civil War, when some one million rounds were fired, bombs were dropped on American soil, and the term “redneck” would come to have an unexpected origin story.

Featuring real-life and invented characters–men and women, adults and children, Black and white and immigrants from many countries who worked in the dangerous West Virginia coal mines–Rednecks tells a dramatic story of rebellion against oppression. Taylor Brown introduces crucial point of view characters: “Doc Moo” Muhanna, a Lebanese-American doctor (inspired by the author’s own great-grandfather) who serves the mining camps; Frank Hugham, a Black miner who helps lead the miners’ revolt; Frank’s mother Beulah, who fights to save her home and her son; and true-life folk hero “Smilin” Sid Hatfield, a sharp-shooting sheriff who dares to stand up to the “gun thugs” of the coal companies. These and other characters come fully to life in a propulsive, character-driven tale that’s both a century old and blisteringly contemporary: a story of unexpected friendship, heroism in the face of injustice, and the power of love and community against outsized odds.

Lacy Baugher Milas is the Books Editor at Paste Magazine, but loves nerding out about all sorts of pop culture. You can find her on Twitter @LacyMB

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