Meet Me in Monaco: A Novel of Grace Kelly's Royal Wedding by Hazel Gaynor and Heather WebbWhat it's about: American actress Grace Kelly's romance with and marriage to Prince Rainer III of Monaco.
As seen through the eyes of: Provençal parfumeur Sophie Duval, who becomes Kelly's confidante, and British press photographer James Henderson, with whom Sophie falls in love.
For fans of: royal weddings, old Hollywood glamour, atmospheric settings, and bittersweet love stories.
Delayed Rays of a Star by Amanda Lee KoeWhat it's about: In 1928, the lives of Hollywood icon Marlene Dietrich, Chinese American actress Anna May Wong, and German filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl briefly intersect when Alfred Eisenstaedt photographs them together at a party.
Why you might like it: This debut traces the ripple effects of this chance encounter over a span of decades, following these ambitious women as well as several well-drawn supporting characters.
You might also like: Francine Prose's Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932, another character-driven historical novel inspired by a vintage photograph.
Costalegre by Courtney MaumWhat it is: 15-year-old Lara's recounting of her heiress mother's scheme to smuggle a group of Surrealist artists out of Nazi Germany and install them at Mexico's posh Costalegre resort.
Inspired by: the complicated mother-daughter relationship of American socialite Peggy and painter Pegeen Guggenheim.
Why you might like it: Structured as a series of diary entries, this novel juxtaposes keen observations of Costalegre's bohemian guests with a lonely girl's quest to become an artist in her own right.
The Ventriloquists: A Novel by E.R. RamzipoorBelgium, 1943: Ordered to produce pro-Nazi propaganda, a group of journalists and resistance fighters instead publish a parody newspaper mocking the Fuhrer, knowing full well it will be the last thing they ever do.
Why you might like it: Inspired by true events, this well-researched novel boasts a briskly paced storyline, a balanced blend of humor and suspense, and an LBGTQIA-diverse cast that takes turns narrating.
For fans of: Paul Goldberg's The Yid, which similarly unspools a madcap scheme to thwart fascists by a group of marginalized intellectuals.
The Women of the Copper Country: A Novel by Mary Doria RussellStarring: Labor activist Annie Clements, who in 1913 led a strike against a Montana copper-mining company.
Is it for you? Closer in tone to Doc than The Sparrow, this well-researched historical novel unfolds from multiple perspectives, all rendered in lyrical prose.
Want a taste? "Running lengthwise down the peninsula's center, like the blood gutter of a bayonet, are the richest copper desposits on earth."
The Daring Ladies of Lowell by Kate AlcottWhat it's about: In 1832, Alice Barrow leaves her family's New Hampshire farm to find work at a textile mill in Lowell, Massachusetts.
Complications ensue: While Alice finds camaraderie with her fellow "mill girls," she's troubled by the dangerous working conditions and conflicted by her feelings for Samuel Fiske, the mill owner's son.
Reviewers say: a "spirited story of young working women making hard choices" (Kirkus Reviews).
The Last Ballad by Wiley CashWhy you might like it: Set in 1929 North Carolina, this novel follows millworker and single mother Ella May Wiggins as she risks everything to join a union.
About the author: CWA Gold Dagger Award-winning author Wiley Cash is best known for his rural noir, including A Land More Kind Than Home and This Dark Road to Mercy.
For fans of: Ron Rash, Daniel Woodrell, or Doug Marlette.
Work Song by Ivan DoigWhat happens: First introduced in The Whistling Season, itinerant scapegrace Morrie Morgan arrives in Butte, Montana, where he becomes the town's librarian and gets caught up in a labor dispute between the Anaconda Copper Company and its workers.
For fans of: warmhearted tales of the American West featuring compelling characters and a strong sense of place.
Want a taste? "I happily stepped into that role of librarian as bartender of information. Presiding over shelves of intoxicating items, dispensing whatever brand of knowledge was ordered up, I am sure I poured generously."
The Widows by Jess MontgomeryThe setting: 1924, Kinship, Ohio, a hardscrabble coal-mining town in the throes of worker unrest.
Starring: Lily Ross, the new acting sheriff of Bronwyn County, and Marvena Whitcomb, a miner's widow turned union organizer.
What happens: After Lily's husband, the sheriff, is murdered and Marvena's daughter goes missing, the two women team up to discover what happened -- and unearth layer upon layer of secrets and lies.
Swimming in the Moon by Pamela SchoenewaldtIntroducing: Lucia Esposito and her mother Teresa, Italian immigrants who arrive in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1904.
What happens: Amid the hardships of their new life, Teresa's untreated mental illness undermines her vaudeville career, while Lucia becomes a labor activist and participates in a garment workers' strike.
About the author: Pamela Schoenewaldt's previous novel, When We Were Strangers, also examined the American immigrant experience.
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