Historical Fiction Club

For the reader who delights in historical fiction, almost always historical mystery though we’ve been known to sneak one or two great historical fictions into the lineup. Picks are often UK. eds. One Signed First per Month.


January: Blauner, Peter. Picture in the Sand (St Martins Press, $27.99).

“On rare occasions I read a book that reminds me of why I fell in love with storytelling in the first place. This is such a book.” —Stephen King

Peter Blauner’s epic Picture in the Sand is a sweeping intergenerational saga told through a grandfather’s passionate letters to his grandson, passing on the story of his political rebellion in 1950s Egypt in order to save his grandson’s life in a post-9/11 world.

When Alex Hassan gets accepted to an Ivy League university, his middle-class Egyptian-American family is filled with pride and excitement. But that joy turns to shock when they discover that he’s run off to the Middle East to join a holy war instead. When he refuses to communicate with everyone else, his loving grandfather Ali emails him one last plea. If Alex will stay in touch, his grandfather will share with Alex – and only Alex – a manuscript containing the secret story of his own life that he’s kept hidden from his family, until now.

It’s the tale of his romantic and heartbreaking past rooted in Hollywood and the post-revolutionary Egypt of the 1950s, when young Ali was a movie fanatic who attained a dream job working for the legendary director Cecil B. DeMille on the set of his epic film, The Ten Commandments. But Ali’s vision of a golden future as an American movie mogul gets upended when he is unwittingly caught up in a web of politics, espionage, and real-life events that change the course of history.

It’s a narrative he’s told no one for more than a half-century. But now he’s forced to unearth the past to save a young man who’s about to make the same tragic mistakes he made so long ago.


Jan.:  Mann, Peter. The Torqued Man

Feb: Davis, Fiona. The Magnolia Palace

March: Quinn, Kate. The Diamond Eye

April. Gelernter, JH. Captain Grey’s Gambit

May: Maz, William. The Bucharest Dossier

June: Morrison, Boyd/Beth. The Lawless Land

July:  Martin, William. December ‘41

Aug: Pryor, Mark. Die Around Sundown

Sept: King, Laurie R. Back to the Garden

Oct  MacNeal, Susan Elia. Mother, Daughter, Traitor, Spy

Nov: Fredericks, Mariah. The Lindbergh Nanny

December: Hulme, Katie. The Thirty-One Doors (Constable, $30.00).


Jan.:  Graves, Stephanie. Olive Bright, Pigeoneer

Feb.:  Epstein, Allison. A Tip for the Hangman

March: Penner, Sarah. The Lost Apothecary

April: Scottoline, Lisa. Eternal

May: Hunter, Stephen. Basil’s War

June: Tapper, Jake. The Devil May Dance

July: MacNeal, Susan Elia. The Hollywood Spy

Aug. Hirahara, Naomi. Clark and Division

Sept: Schaffert, Timothy. The Perfume Thief

Oct: Robb, Candace. The Riverwoman’s Dragon

Nov.: Cambridge, Colleen. Murder at Mallowan Hall


Jan.:  Montgomery, Jess. The Hollows

Feb.: Hornby, Gill. Miss Austen

March: Watson, Sterling. The Committee

April. Pattison, Eliot. The King’s Beast

May: Quick, Amanda. Close Up

June: Edwards, Martin. Mortmain Hall

July: Wade, James. All Things Left Wild

Aug: Hart, Elsa. The Cabinets of Barnaby Mayne

Sept: Clarke, Susanna. Piranesi

Oct. Spotswood, Stephen. Fortune Favors the Dead

Nov: March, Nev. Murder in Old Bombay

Dec.: Goodwin, SW. Absence of Mercy