MY MOST ANTICIPATED HISTORICAL FICTION, ROMANCE, AND WOMEN’S FICTION BOOKS OF 2021

Hello and Happy New Year 2021, everyone!

I know I’m kind of a little bit late to post this one. I’m in a lot of stress in the past two days trying to fit in everything before 2021 starts, but then I realize it doesn’t matter whether I post this at the end of 2020 or the beginning of the new year, as long as I post it then it’s fine.

This post will focus more on the Historical Fiction, Romance, and Women’s Fiction books that I’m looking forward to read in this new year. I also love reading books from these three genres for many reasons: HF have a nice settings especially when the stories are set in either Regency or Victorian era, Romance have many sub-genres that I enjoyed reading especially the highly erotic ones because I’m all in for those sexy steamy scenes, and WF stories are focusing more on the heroine’s relationship with not just her partner but also her friends, family, and the women around her.

I haven’t read much HF and WF books lately, so I want to read more books in these two genres this year. As for Romance, I’m going to read less books from it since I had been reading too much of it in 2019 and 2020.

Without wasting any time, let’s just get straight to the list of these books I’m excited for…

THE GATES OF ATHENS BY CONN IGGULDEN

Series: Athenian #1
Publication Date: January 5, 2021

Evoking two of the most famous battles of the Ancient World—the Battle of Marathon and the Last Stand at Thermopylae—The Gates of Athens is a bravura piece of storytelling by a well acclaimed master of the historical adventure novel.

In ancient Greece, an army of slaves gathers on the plains of Marathon…

Under Darius the Great, King of Kings, the mighty Persian army—swollen by 10,000 warriors known as The Immortals—have come to subjugate the Greeks. In their path, vastly outnumbered, stands an army of freeborn Athenians. Among them is a clever, fearsome, and cunning soldier-statesman, Xanthippus. Against all odds, the Athenians emerge victorious.

Yet people soon forget that freedom is bought with blood.

Ten years later, Xanthippus watches helplessly as Athens succumbs to the bitter politics of factionalism. Traitors and exiles abound. Trust is at a low ebb when the Persians cross the Hellespont in ever greater numbers in their second attempt to raze Athens to the ground.

Facing overwhelming forces by land and sea, the Athenians call on their Spartan allies for assistance—to delay the Persians at the treacherous pass of Thermopylae.

GOODREADS

THE PARIS LIBRARY BY JANET SKESLIEN CHARLES

Publication Date: February 2, 2021

Based on the true World War II story of the heroic librarians at the American Library in Paris, this is an unforgettable story of romance, friendship, family, and the power of literature to bring us together.

Paris, 1939: Young and ambitious Odile Souchet has it all: her handsome police officer beau and a dream job at the American Library in Paris. When the Nazis march into Paris, Odile stands to lose everything she holds dear, including her beloved library. Together with her fellow librarians, Odile joins the Resistance with the best weapons she has: books. But when the war finally ends, instead of freedom, Odile tastes the bitter sting of unspeakable betrayal.

Montana, 1983: Lily is a lonely teenager looking for adventure in small-town Montana. Her interest is piqued by her solitary, elderly neighbor. As Lily uncovers more about her neighbor’s mysterious past, she finds that they share a love language, the same longings, and the same intense jealousy, never suspecting that a dark secret from the past connects them.

A powerful novel that explores the consequences of our choices and the relationships that make us who we are—family, friends, and favorite authors—The Paris Library shows that extraordinary heroism can sometimes be found in the quietest of places.

GOODREADS

THE GIRL IN THE PAINTING BY TEA COOPER

Publication Date: February 10, 2021

A young prodigy in need of family. A painting that shatters a woman’s peace. And a decades-old mystery demanding to be solved.

Australia, 1906

Orphan Jane Piper is nine years old when philanthropist siblings Michael and Elizabeth Quinn take her into their home to further her schooling. The Quinns are no strangers to hardship—having arrived in Australia as penniless immigrants, they now care for others as lost as they once were.

Despite Jane’s mysterious past, her remarkable aptitude for mathematics takes her far over the next seven years, and her relationship with Elizabeth and Michael flourishes as she plays an increasingly prominent part in their business.

But when Elizabeth reacts in terror to an exhibition at the local gallery, Jane realizes no one knows Elizabeth after all—not even Elizabeth herself. As the past and the present converge and Elizabeth’s grasp on reality loosens, Jane sets out to unravel Elizabeth’s story before it is too late.

From the gritty reality of the Australian goldfields to the grand institutions of Sydney, this compelling novel takes us on a mystery across continents and decades as both women finally discover a place to call home.

GOODREADS

THE LOST MANUSCRIPT BY CATHY BONIDAN

Publication Date: February 12, 2021

The Lost Manuscript is a charming epistolary novel about the love of books and magical ability they have to bring people together.

Sometimes a book has the power to change your life…

When Anne-Lise Briard books a room at the Beau Rivage Hotel for her vacation on the Brittany coast, she has no idea this trip will start her on the path to unearthing a mystery. In search of something to read, she opens up her bedside table drawer in her hotel room, and inside she finds an abandoned manuscript. Halfway through the pages, an address is written. She sends pages to the address, in hopes of potentially hearing a response from the unknown author. But not before she reads the story and falls in love with it. The response, which she receives a few days later, astonishes her…

Not only does the author write back, but he confesses that he lost the manuscript 30 years prior on a flight to Montreal. And then he reveals something even more shocking—that he was not the author of the second half of the book.

Anne-Lise can’t rest until she discovers who this second mystery author is, and in doing so tracks down every person who has held this manuscript in their hands. Through the letters exchanged by the people whose lives the manuscript has touched, she discovers long-lost love stories and intimate secrets. Romances blossom and new friends are made. Everyone’s lives are made better by this book—and isn’t that the point of reading? And finally, with a plot twist you don’t see coming, she uncovers the astonishing identity of the author who finished the story.

GOODREADS

RHAPSODY BY MITCHELL JAMES KAPLAN

Publication Date: March 2, 2021

Set in Jazz Age New York City, this stunning work of fiction explores the timeless bond between two brilliant, strong-willed artists, Kay Swift and George Gershwin.

One evening in 1924, Katharine “Kay” Swift—the restless but loyal society wife of a wealthy banker and a serious pianist who longs for recognition—attends a concert. The piece: Rhapsody in Blue. The composer: a brilliant, elusive young musical genius named George Gershwin.

Kay is transfixed, helpless to resist the magnetic pull of George’s talent, charm, and swagger. Their ten-year love affair, complicated by her conflicted loyalty to her husband and the twists and turns of her own musical career, ends only with George’s death from a brain tumor at the age of thirty-eight.

George Gershwin left behind not just a body of work unmatched in popular musical history, but a woman who loved him with all her heart, knowing all the while that he belonged not to her, but to the world.

GOODREADS

THE LAST BOOKSHOP IN LONDON BY MADELINE MARTIN

Publication Date: April 6, 2021

The Last Bookshop in London is a timeless story of wartime loss, love, and the enduring power of literature.

August 1939: London is dismal under the weight of impending war with Germany as Hitler’s forces continue to sweep across Europe. Into this uncertain maelstrom steps Grace Bennett, young and ready for a fresh start in the bustling city streets she’s always dreamed of—and miles away from her troubled past in the countryside.

With aspirations of working at a department store, Grace never imagined she’d wind up employed at Primrose Hill, an offbeat bookshop nestled in the heart of the city—after all, she’s never been much of a reader. Overwhelmed with organizing the cluttered store, she doesn’t have time to read the books she sells. But when one is gifted to her, what starts as an obligation becomes a passion that draws her into the incredible world of literature.

As the Blitz rains down bombs on the city night after night, a devastating attack leaves the libraries and shops of London’s literary center in ruins. Miraculously, Grace’s bookshop survives the firestorm. Through blackouts and air raids, Grace continues running the shop, discovering a newfound comfort in the power of words and storytelling that unites her community in ways she never imagined—a force that triumphs over even the darkest nights of war-torn London.

GOODREADS

THE WIDOW QUEEN BY ELŻBIETA CHEREZIŃSKA

Series: The Bold #1
Publication Date: April 6, 2021

The Widow Queen is the epic story of a Polish queen whose life and name were all but forgotten until now.

Swietoslawa is the youngest daughter of the great Duke Mieszko of Poland; “the bold one,” the court calls her. Too bold, they whisper.

To her family, Swietoslawa represents a chance; a marriage on which to build an empire. While Swietoslawa dreams of ruling without the yoke of a husband, her father looks toward the Northern kingdoms, where unrest provides opportunity.

The Prince of Denmark, ambitious and hungry, plots his father’s death.
The King of Sweden, mighty and beloved, has no heir to give his crown.
The exiled Norwegian prince, seeking vengeance for his father’s murder and his throne.

Each needs a wife, a queen.

Swietoslawa will be that wife. But when her husband dies and she finds herself queen of a foreign land, she must reconcile her dreams with the harsh realities of an unforgiving world.

GOODREADS

THE DICTIONARY OF LOST WORDS BY PIP WILLIAMS

Publication Date: April 6, 2021

As a team of male scholars compiles the first Oxford English Dictionary, one of their daughters decides to collect the “objectionable” words they omit.

Esme is born into a world of words. Motherless and irrepressibly curious, she spends her childhood in the “Scriptorium,” a garden shed in Oxford where her father and a team of dedicated lexicographers are collecting words for the very first Oxford English Dictionary. Young Esme’s place is beneath the sorting table, unseen and unheard. One day a slip of paper containing the word “bondmaid” flutters to the floor. She rescues the slip, and when she learns that the word means slave-girl, she withholds it from the OED and begins to collect words that show women in a more positive light.

As she grows up, Esme realizes that words and meanings relating to women’s and common folks’ experiences often go unrecorded. And so she begins in earnest to search out words for her own dictionary: The Dictionary of Lost Words. To do so she must leave the sheltered world of the university and venture out to meet the people whose words will fill those pages.

Set during the height of women’s suffrage movement with the Great War looming, The Dictionary of Lost Words reveals a lost narrative, hidden between the lines of a history written by men. Based on actual events and combed from author Pip Williams’ experience delving into the archives of the Oxford English Dictionary, this highly original novel is a delightful, lyrical, and deeply thought-provoking celebration of words and the power of language to shape the world.

GOODREADS

THE SMUGGLER’S DAUGHTER BY KERRY BARRETT

Publication Date: April 6, 2021

Only she knows the truth. Only she can save them.

1799
Emily Moon lives with her mother in an inn on a clifftop in the darkest reaches of Cornwall. After her father mysteriously disappears, her mother finds solace at the bottom of a bottle, and the only way to keep afloat is to turn a blind eye to the smugglers who send signals from the clifftops. But Emily knows that the smugglers killed her father to ensure his silence, and she will not let his murder go unpunished…

Present Day
After a case ends in tragedy, police officer Phoebe Bellingham flees to Cornwall for a summer of respite. But rather than the sunny Cornwall of her dreams, she finds herself on storm-beaten cliffs, surrounded by stories of ghosts and smugglers—and the mysterious Emily Moon, who vanished without a trace over two centuries ago. As rain lashes down around her, Phoebe determines to find the truth behind the rumours—but what she uncovers will put herself in danger too.

GOODREADS

THE DROWNING KIND BY JENNIFER MCMAHON

Publication Date: April 6, 2021

Be careful what you wish for.

When social worker Jax receives nine missed calls from her older sister, Lexie, she assumes that it’s just another one of her sister’s episodes. Manic and increasingly out of touch with reality, Lexie has pushed Jax away for over a year. But the next day, Lexie is dead: drowned in the pool at their grandmother’s estate. When Jax arrives at the house to go through her sister’s things, she learns that Lexie was researching the history of their family and the property. And as she dives deeper into the research herself, she discovers that the land holds a far darker past than she could have ever imagined.

In 1929, thirty-seven-year-old newlywed Ethel Monroe hopes desperately for a baby. In an effort to distract her, her husband whisks her away on a trip to Vermont, where a natural spring is showcased by the newest and most modern hotel in the Northeast. Once there, Ethel learns that the water is rumored to grant wishes, never suspecting that the spring takes in equal measure to what it gives.

The Drowning Kind is a modern-day ghost story that illuminates how the past, though sometimes forgotten, is never really far behind us.

GOODREADS

ISABELLE AND ALEXANDER BY REBECCA ANDERSON

Publication Date: May 4, 2021

London, 1850

Isabelle Rackham knows she will not marry for love. Though arranged marriages have fallen out of fashion, hers has been settled for some time to combine the upper-middle-class wealth of her father’s coal mines with Alexander Osgood’s prospering Northern country textile mills. Though not a man prone to romantic gestures, Alexander is well-known as an eligible bachelor. His good looks have turned more than one head, so Isabelle is content to think of herself as Alexander’s wife.

However, her marriage is not what she expected. Northern England is nothing like her home father west in the lake country. Cold, dreary, and dark, the soot from the textile mills creates a gray hue that seems to cling to everything in the city of Manchester. Alexander is distant and aloof, preferring to spend his time at the mill rather than with her at home. Their few conversations are brief, polite, and lacking any emotion, leaving Isabelle lonely and desperately homesick.

Sensing his wife’s unhappiness, Alexander suggests a trip to his country estate. Isabelle hopes this will be an opportunity to get to know her new husband without the distractions of his business. But the change of scenery doesn’t bring them any closer. While riding together on horses, Alexander is thrown from his and becomes paralyzed. Tragedy or destiny? The help and care that Alexander now needs is Isabelle’s opportunity to forge a connection and create a deep and romantic love where nothing else could.

GOODREADS


*I already have an ARC of this book and I’m so excited to read it soon*

THE LAST GOODBYE BY FIONA LUCAS

Publication Date: June 8, 2021

Poignant, hopeful, and full of emotional power, an unforgettable story about two people learning to love again after a great loss.

How can you move on if you can’t let go?

Spencer was the love of Anna’s life: her husband, her best friend, her rock. She thought their love would last forever.

But three years ago, Spencer was tragically killed in an accident and Anna’s world was shattered. How can she ever move on, when she’s lost her soulmate?

On New Year’s Eve Anna calls Spencer’s phone number, just to hear his old voicemail greeting. But to her shock, someone answers…

Brody has inherited Spencer’s old number and is the first person who truly understands what Anna’s going through. As her and Brody’s phone calls become lengthier and more frequent, they begin to opening up to each other—and slowly rediscover how to smile, how to laugh, even how to hope.

But Brody hasn’t been entirely honest with Anna. Will his secret threaten everything, just as it seems she might find the courage to love again?

GOODREADS

THE ICE SWAN BY J’NELL CIESIELSKI

Publication Date: June 9, 2021

Amid the violent last days of the glittering Russian court, a Russian princess on the run finds her heart where she least expects it.

1917, Petrograd. Fleeing the murderous flames of the Russian Revolution, princess Svetlana Dalsky hopes to find safety in Paris with her mother and sister. But the city is buckling under the weight of the Great War, and the Bolsheviks will not rest until they have erased every Russian aristocrat from memory.

Born the second son of a duke, the only title Wynn MacCallan cares for is that of surgeon. Putting  his talents with a scalpel to good use in the hospitals in Paris, Wynn pushes the boundaries of medical science to give his patients the best care possible. While treating Svetlana for a minor injury, he is pulled into a world of decaying imperial glitter and underground Russian clubs where drink, culture, and questionable dealings collide on bubbles of vodka.

Out of money and options, Svetlana is forced into a marriage of convenience with Wynn, who will protect her and pay off her debts. It’s the right thing for a good man to do, but Wynn can’t help hoping the marriage will turn into one of true affection. As the Bolsheviks chase them to different corners of the earth, Wynn and Svetlana begin to see they will never be able to outrun the love they have for one another.

GOODREADS

HEARTBREAK FOR HIRE BY SONIA HARTL

Publication Date: July 27, 2021

Brinkley Saunders has a secret.

To everyone in the academic world she left behind, she lost it all when she dropped out of grad school. Once a rising star following her mother’s footsteps, she’s now an administrative assistant at an insurance agency—or so they think.

In reality, Brinkley works at Heartbreak for Hire, a secret service that specializes in revenge for jilted lovers, frenemies, and long-suffering coworkers with a little cash to spare and a man who needs to be taken down a notch. It might not be as prestigious as academia, but it helps Brinkley save for her dream of opening an art gallery and lets her exorcise a few demons, all while helping to empower women.

But when her boss announces she’s hiring male heartbreakers for the first time, Brinkley’s no longer so sure she’s doing the right thing—especially when her new coworker turns out to be a target she was paid to take down. Though Mark spends his days struggling up the academic ladder, he seems to be the opposite of a backstabbing adjunct: a nerd at heart in criminally sexy sweater vests who’s attentive both in and out of the bedroom. But as Brinkley finds it increasingly more difficult to focus on anything but Mark, she soon realizes that like herself, people aren’t always who they appear to be.

GOODREADS

THE SPANISH LOVE DECEPTION BY ELENA ARMAS

Publication Date: February 2021

A wedding. Spain. And three days of pretending.

Catalina Martin, finally, not single. Her family is happy to announce that she will bring her American boyfriend to her sister’s wedding. Everyone is invited to come and witness the most magical event of the year.

That would certainly be tomorrow’s headline in the local newspaper of the small Spanish town I came from. Or the epitaph on my tombstone, seeing the turn my life had taken in the span of a phone call.

Four weeks wasn’t a lot of time to find someone willing to cross the Atlantic—from NYC and all the way to Spain—for a wedding. Let alone, someone eager to play along my charade. But that didn’t mean I was desperate enough to bring the 6’4 blue eyed pain in my ass standing before me.

Aaron Blackford. The man whose main occupation was making my blood boil had just offered himself to be my date. Right after inserting his nose in my business, calling me delusional, and calling himself my best option. See? Outrageous. Aggravating. Blood boiling. And much to my total despair, also right. Which left me with a surly and extra large dilemma in my hands. Was it worth the suffering to bring my colleague and bane of my existence as my fake boyfriend to my sister’s wedding? Or was I better off coming clean and facing the consequences of my panic induced lie?

Like my abuela would say, que dios nos pille confesados.

GOODREADS


*I’m so excited for this one the most because this is written by one of the most legendary bookstagrammers Elena from @thebibliotheque. I can’t wait to read her debut novel. Lastly, the cover reveal is coming soon*

That’s all I have for this post. I hope y’all enjoy reading it.

Did you see any books you like in this post or the ones that are already on your TBR? Let me know in the comment!

6 thoughts on “MY MOST ANTICIPATED HISTORICAL FICTION, ROMANCE, AND WOMEN’S FICTION BOOKS OF 2021

  1. Alana from Dream Come Review says:

    This looks like a fabulous list of books! The cover and blurb of The Gates of Athens reminds me of the Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield. I’ll have to add this one to my TBR!

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