Past Tense

Royal Historical Fiction Fit For a Queen

Hi historical fiction fans!

We finally got some weather in the low seventies this past weekend and you better believe I took advantage of that to spend time reading outside and soaking up some vitamin D. I’m so ready for pretty fall days where I can listen to audiobooks while I walk my dog and spend afternoons in the backyard. I love summer, but with as sweltering as it’s been this year I am more than ready for a reprieve.

Bookish Goods

Jane Austen Bookmark from Royalty Now on Etsy:

Jane Austen Bookmark

I’m so in love with the work Royalty Now does in creating modern interpretations of historical figures like this Jane Austen bookmark. $5

New Releases

Lessons Book Cover

Lessons by Ian McEwan (September 13, 2022)

The author of the best-selling Atonement is back with the story of one man’s life across decades of historic moments and cultural upheaval from the Cuban Missile Crisis to the Covid-19 Pandemic. It’s a story about weathering events beyond our control and how even when we come through the other side, we are shaped by them.

Palmares Book Cover

Palmares by Gayl Jones (September 13, 2022)

Jones’s first book in more than 20 years follows an enslaved Black girl on a Portuguese plantation who escapes to a fugitive settlement for former slaves called Palmares. But when the settlement is destroyed, Almeyda sets off on a sweeping journey across Brazil to find her lost husband, encountering the strange, wonderful, and terrible along the way.

For a more comprehensive list, check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

I still vividly remember reading The Royal Diaries books and being fascinated by the lives of historic princesses and queens as a young reader. Books about Elizabeth I and Anastasia sparked my imagination. These three historical fiction books about royals explore courtly intrigue and palace life in China, Russia, and Iran.

The Moon in the Palace Book Cover

The Moon in the Palace by Weina Dai Randel

How does a palace concubine become Empress of China? Mei knows nothing of the courtly arts the other concubines use to gain the attention of an Emperor, but her curiosity and intellect set her apart. Soon, Mei is in a unique position to seduce the most powerful man in China, but as divided loyalties split the palace in two, she will first have to survive the coming battle before taking up her rightful place as along the Emperor’s side.

The Last Grand Duchess Book Cover

The Last Grand Duchess by Bryn Turnbull

The eldest Romanov sister, Olga, will be the last Grand Duchess of Russia — but she doesn’t know that yet. As she comes of age during a time of shifting cultural mores and unrest, she finds hope and love outside the palace walls. But when war breaks out across Europe and protests turn to revolution, she will watch 300 years of Romanov rule come to a terrible end.

Equal of the Sun Book Cover

Equal of the Sun by Anita Amirrezvani

In 16th century Iran, the court is thrown into turmoil when the Shah dies before naming an heir. The Shah’s daughter and protégée, Princess Pari, knows more about politics than almost anyone around her, but her attempts to instill order after her father’s death are met with resentment. Equal of the Sun is the story of an incredible woman and a political player at the heart of a power struggle of epic proportions.

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 Hamra and the Jungle of Memories by Hanna Alkaf. What about you?