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Apr 06, 2022

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Happy April, historical fiction friends! Despite some continued cold and rainy weather in my neck of the woods, I am looking forward to spring and nice, warm days of reading outside. And if you’re hoping for good reading to pair with the good weather (or, really, any old weather; let’s not pretend we as readers are all that picky when it comes down to it), these new April historical fiction releases might be just what you’ve been searching for. Many of these novels deal with family and belongings, as well as times of political change and turmoil. All of them feature fierce women making their way through the world, which is just happenstance, but what wonderful happenstance it is!

Pick one out, add it to your TBR, or request it from your local library and venture out into spring–and spring releases–with me.

Four Treasures of The Sky Book Cover

Four Treasures of the Sky by Jenny Tinghui Zhang

Set against the Chinese Exclusion Act in the 1880s American West, a girl named Daiyu–named after a tragic heroine–is kidnapped, smuggled into America, and forced to leave the life she knew behind. Year after year, she is forced to reinvent herself, from a calligraphy school to a brothel, outrunning tragedy and desperate to survive even as anti-Chinese sentiment grows. As violence against Chinese immigrants grows, Daiyu is forced to drawn on all the pieces of herself to claim her name and her story.

Release date: April 5, 2022

The Lives of Diamond Bessie Book Cover

The Lives of Diamond Bessie by Jody Hadlock

Based on a true story, The Lives of Diamond Bessie recounts the life of Annie Moore, who became one of the sought after demi-mondaines in the United States. As a teenager she’s sent off to a convent for fallen women when she becomes pregnant out of wedlock, eventually turning to prostitution to survive. She garners many gifts from her admirers and even meets the son of a wealthy jewelry, who becomes her husband. She expects to find her salvation in him, but instead suffers the ultimate betrayal. But in this story set against the backdrop of the burgeoning Women’s Movement, how can a woman find redemption? And is the answer ever revenge?

Release date: April 5, 2022

cover of An Unlasting Home by Mai Al-Nakib

An Unlasting Home by Mai Al-Nakib

Three generations of Arab women, from 1920s to present day, face triumphs and failures as they forge lives for themselves in Lebanon, Iraq, India, the United States, and Kuwait. In 2013, a philosophy professor returns to Kuwait only to find herself facing accusations of blasphemy and the threat of execution after teaching Nietzsche. As she grapples with her place in the world, the stories of her grandmothers and mothers, whose fierce and fearless lives brought her to where she is today. It’s an intergenerational story of the personal and the political, but always, at its heart, a story of family.

Release date: April 12, 2022

Take My Hand Book Cover

Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez

A Black nurse in post-segregation Alabama, fresh out of nursing school and looking to make a difference, becomes a whistleblower to make known the terrible wrongs done to her patients in this historical fiction novel inspired by true events. When Civil Townsend begins working at Montgomery Family Planning Clinic, she knows she’ll be making a real difference for women, helping make choices about their own bodies and their lives and what they want to do with them. But on her first week at the job, she’s shocked to find her new patients are children. And as she reflects on her career many years later, with her own daughters grown, she realizes that history is bound to repeat itself unless we force everyone to remember.

Release date: April 12, 2022

Forbidden City Book Cover

Forbidden City by Vanessa Hua

A teenager living through the 1960s Cultural Revolution in China becomes a poster child for the movement as well as a protegee and lover to Mao Zedong in this epic novel of modern history. At first, being a confidant and favorite of the Chairman seems like a dream for a girl like Mei, who dreamed of becoming the ideal revolutionary. But when a mission from Mao himself shows her the darker side of the latest stage of the revolution, she begins to question everything she thought she knew.

Release date: April 19, 2022

In the Face of The Sun Book Cover

In the Face of the Sun by Denny S. Bryce

The author of Wild Women and the Blues is back with a new historical fiction novel, this time set during the height of the Civil Right’s Movement in the 1960s. Frankie Saunders has always known her Aunt Daisy as a reckless and profane woman full of mysteries, but right now she doesn’t care what secrets her aunt is keeping, only that the woman is her best chance of escape from an abusive husband. But Daisy’s past as a journalist in Los Angeles in the twenties comes roaring back, and both women will have to decide what’s worth keeping of the past and looking forward to in this dual-narrative historical fiction novel.

Release date: April 26, 2022

Don’t forget you can get three free audiobooks at Audiobooks.com with a free trial!


That’s it for now, folx! Stay subscribed for more stories of yesteryear.

If you want to talk books (historical or otherwise), you can find me @rachelsbrittain on Instagram, Goodreads, Litsy, and occasionally Twitter.

Right now I’m reading Portrait of a Thief by Grace D. Li and Where the Wild Ladies Are by Aoko Matsuda. What about you?

The Handsell: April 4, 2022

This week on the Handsell, Amanda recommends Creatures of Passage by Morowa Yejide....

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