The King's Witch by Tracy BormanIntroducing: Lady Frances Gorges -- herbalist, lady-in-waiting, and suspected witch.
Why you might like it: This novel blends an intricate plot involving courtly intrigue and conspiracy with well-researched period detail in a manner that may appeal to fans of Phillippa Gregory.
Series alert: The King's Witch is the first book in a projected series by historian Tracy Borman.
The Verdun Affair: A Novel by Nick DybekWhat it is: a haunting novel whose parallel narratives unfold in post-WWI France and 1950s Los Angeles.
Read it for: the complicated ties that bind ambulance driver Tom Combs; probable widow Sarah Hagen; and Austrian veteran-turned-journalist Paul Weyerhauser.
For fans of: Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms.
The Romanov Empress: A Novel of Tsarina Maria Feodorovna by C.W. GortnerWhat it's about: Following her marriage to Tsarevich Alexander, Princess Dagmar of Denmark becomes Maria Feodorovna of Russia. As Tsarina, she's ideally placed to observe the opulent splendor of court life -- not to mention the downfall of the Romanov dynasty.
You might also like: Robert Alexander's The Romanov Bride, about another princess who marries into the ill-fated Romanov family.
Never Anyone But You by Rupert ThomsonWhat happens: It's love at first sight when Suzanne Malherbe meets Lucie Schwob. Adopting new names -- Marcel and Claude -- the pair heads to 1920s Paris, where they hobnob with artists. But their bohemian existence comes to an abrupt end as fascism sweeps across Europe.
Look for: cameos by Salvador Dalí, André Breton, Guillaume Apollinaire, and Sylvia Beach, among others.
You might also like: Francine Prose's Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932; Avery Ellis' The Last Nude.
The Summer Wives by Beatriz WilliamsWhat it's about: When 18-year-old Miranda Schuyler summers on Winthrop Island in 1951, she meets and falls for Joseph Vargas, the son of a local lobster fisherman. Her affluent family disapproves, of course -- especially once Joseph confesses to a murder.
Read it for: a star-crossed romance across the class divide, a shocking crime, and the gradual revelation of long-buried family secrets.
About the author: Bestselling author Beatriz Williams' mid-century melodramas about scandal-prone high society families have won her numerous fans.
Lucky Us: A Novel by Amy BloomStarring: Eva Logan, who's been abandoned by her mother, and Iris Acton, the half-sister she's just met.
What happens: Iris, who dreams of becoming a movie star, heads for Hollywood with Eva in tow. Together, they embark on a series of adventures that take them across the United States (and back again) during the Great Depression, World War II, and beyond.
Reviewers say: In a starred review, Kirkus Reviews calls this a "hard-luck coming-of-age story with heart."
Blood & Beauty: The Borgias by Sarah DunantWhat it's about: When Spanish cardinal Rodrigo Borgia becomes Pope Alexander VI in 1492, he immediately puts into play his most promising pawns -- his illegitimate children, Cesare and Lucrezia.
Why you might like it: Blood and Beauty (and its sequel, In the Name of the Family) traces the meteoric rise of a Renaissance-era dynasty.
Who it's for: readers who enjoyed Hilary Mantel's depiction of Thomas Cromwell in Wolf Hall.
Homegoing: A Novel by Yaa GyasiIntroducing: half-sisters Effia and Esi, born in the 18th-century Asante Empire (now Ghana).
Why you might like it: This debut chronicles, in haunting vignettes, seven generations as Effia becomes the mistress of a British slave-trader and Esi survives the Middle Passage only to live out her days in bondage on an American plantation.
For Fans of: African-American family sagas such as Alex Haley's Roots or Lalita Tademy's Cane River.
Bittersweet by Colleen McCulloughWhat it is: a sweeping family saga set in early-20th-century Australia.
Featuring: the Latimer sisters, two sets of twins from Corunda, New South Wales. Edda and Grace, Heather and Katherine all enroll in a nurse training program, although their motives for doing so differ.
Try this next: Thomas Keneally's The Daughters of Mars, another richly detailed novel about Australian sisters whose decision to pursue nursing careers takes them far from their rural hometowns.
Vanessa and Her Sister: A Novel by Priya ParmarWhat it is: a character-driven novel about the loving but complicated relationship between sisters Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell, told from Vanessa's point of view.
Read it for: a vibrant and richly detailed depiction of the Bloomsbury group, their larger-than-life personalities and their interpersonal dramas.
You might also like: Susan Sellers' Vanessa and Virginia, which covers similar ground.
Contact your librarian for more great books!