Monday, January 30, 2023

*Top Ten Tuesday* Freebie/Historical Fiction Request Roulette (Jan 31)

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Joood - Hooligan of Platypire reviews bossed me into doing this, so I guess this is a thing I do now. 

This week’s theme is freebie, and I'm horrible at coming up with my own ideas so I ALWAYS default to Netgalley Request Roulette for these topics. Since I just played a game of YA Request Roulette three weeks ago, I'm going to have to pick a different genre, and I've never played in another genre before, so this will be interesting. I'm also building this post two weeks in advance because I'm going to be traveling next weekend when I would normally build my post for TTT, so I expect to have more results from my requests at the time the post goes live. 

I have elected to play this round of request roulette in the historical fiction category on Netgalley. It's a genre that's been hitting the spot for me lately. Let's go. 

Title: In Feast or Famine
Author: Mesu Andrews
Publisher: Waterbrook & Multnomah
Release date: May 9, 2023
Setting: B.C. Egypt
Request: Approved


Thrust into an arranged marriage, the daughter of ancient Egypt’s high priest plays a pivotal role in Joseph’s biblical narrative in this powerful novel from the award-winning author of Potiphar’s Wife.

After four-year-old Asenath’s mother is murdered by Egypt’s foreign rulers, the child is raised to be a priestess by her overprotective father—high priest of Egypt’s sun god. For fifteen years, Asenath is sequestered in the upper levels of Ra’s temple, convinced it is her destiny to heal the land by becoming queen to the next Egyptian
pharaoh. But when Egypt’s foreign king instead gives her as a bride to the newly appointed vizier—a Hebrew named Joseph—her entire world is shaken. 

Beyond the walls of her tower, Asenath discovers treachery, deceit, and conspiracy that force her to redefine her destiny and weigh where her true loyalties lie. Can she still trust the gods of Egypt? Or is Elohim, the foreign God of her husband, the one who will heal her nation during the feast and famine to come?

Title: The Air Raid Book Club
Author: Annie Lyons
Publisher: William Morrow
Release date: July 11, 2023
Setting: WWII England
Request: Approved


From the USA Today bestselling author of The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett comes a heartwarming story of found family, love, and making connections through books set against the bombing of London during WWII.

London, 1938: The bookstore just doesn’t feel the same to Gertie Bingham ever since the death of her beloved husband Harry. Bingham Books was a dream they shared together, and without Harry, Gertie wonders if it’s time to take her faithful old lab, Hemingway, and retire to the seaside. But fate has other plans for Gertie.

In Germany, Hitler is on the rise, and Jewish families are making the heart-wrenching decision to send their children away from the growing turmoil. After a nudge from her dear friend Charles, Gertie decides to take in one of these refugees, a headstrong teenage girl named Hedy. Willful and fearless, Hedy reminds Gertie of herself at the same age, and shows her that she can’t give up just yet. With the terrible threat of war on the horizon, the world needs people like Gertie Bingham and her bookshop.

When the Blitz begins and bombs whistle overhead, Gertie and Hedy come up with the idea to start an air raid book club. Together with neighbors and bookstore customers, they hold lively discussions of everything from Winnie the Pooh to Wuthering Heights. After all, a good book can do wonders to bolster people’s spirits, even in the most trying times.

But even the best book can only provide a temporary escape, and as the tragic reality of the war hits home, the book club faces unimaginable losses. They will need all the strength of their stories and the bonds they’ve formed to see them through to brighter days.

Title: The Big Sugar
Author: Mary Logue
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
Release date: May 23, 2023
Setting: 1880s American West
Request: Approved


A grisly death near her new homestead draws Brigid Reardon into a complicated mystery soon after her arrival in Cheyenne, Wyoming, in 1881

After the harrowing events that entangled her in Deadwood, Brigid Reardon just wants to move west and get on with her new life in America. But shortly after traveling to Cheyenne to join her brother Seamus, she finds herself caught up in another deadly mystery—beginning with her discovery of a neighbor’s body on the plains near their homes. Was Ella murdered? Are either of the two men in Ella’s life responsible? With Seamus away on a cattle drive, her friend Padraic possibly succumbing to a local’s charms, and the sheriff seemingly satisfied with Ella’s fate, it falls to Brigid to investigate what really happened, which puts her in the crosshairs of one of Cheyenne’s cattle barons, called “big sugars” in these parts. All she really wants is something better than a crumbling, soddy homestead on the desolate plains of Wyoming—and maybe, just maybe, she wants Padraic—but life, it seems, has other plans: this young immigrant from Ireland is going to be a detective on the western frontier of 1880s America, even if it kills her.

Loosely based on the true story of Ellen Watson in Cheyenne in 1889, The Big Sugar continues the adventure begun in Mary Logue’s celebrated mystery The Streel, which introduced a “gritty, charming, clever protagonist” (Kirkus Reviews). With a faultless sense of history, a keen eye for suspense, and a poet’s way with prose, Mary Logue all but guarantees that readers, like Brigid, will find the mystery at the heart of The Big Sugar downright irresistible.

Title: The Lady of the Loch
Author: Elena Collins
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Release date: February 23, 2023
Setting: 1300s & present day Scotland
Request: Denied


Although I believe I will die here in this castle, my spirit will never be silent.’

Ravenscraig Castle, Scotland. 1307

When the castle she works in is sacked by the army of Prince Edward of England, kitchen maid Agnes Fitzgerald manages to escape north of Inverness to throw herself at the mercy of the Lord and Lady at Ravenscraig Castle. Although safe for now, the people of Scotland are fighting hard for their independence, and the threat of the English hangs heavy over the land.  But when Agnes spies Cam Buchanan swimming in the loch, her mind turns away from war and towards love.  Agnes even dares to dream of a happy future, until she learns that Cam must go and fight alongside Robert de Brus.

Present day

Twins Leah and Zoe need a change, so caretaking at Ravenscraig Castle is the perfect opportunity to get away from it all. Surrounded by rugged Highland countryside, and bordered by a loch, the picturesque setting is everything they dreamed of. But the locals are reluctant to visit Ravenscraig, and there are whispers of ghosts and lost souls. The sisters quickly dismiss such superstition, but soon the overwhelming sadness they feel coming from the tower grows too hard to ignore.

Can the sisters finally right the wrongs of seven hundred years of heartbreak, seven hundred years of betrayal…

Title: Alchemy of a Blackbird
Author: Claire McMillan
Publisher: Atria Books
Release date: July 11, 2023
Setting: WWII France
Request: Pending


For fans of The Age of Light and Z, a mystical, historical novel based on the true story of the 20th-century painters and occultists Remedios Varo and Leonora Carrington, each beginning as the muse of a famous lover and then breaking away to become an icon in her own right through a powerful friendship that springs from their connection to the tarot.

Desperate to escape the Nazis, painter Remedios Varo and her lover, poet Benjamin Peret, flee Paris for Villa Air Bel, a safe house for artists on the Riviera. Along with Max Ernst, Peggy Guggenheim, and others, the two anxiously wait for exit papers. As the months pass, Remedios begins to sense that the others don’t see her as a fellow artist; they have cast her in the stifling role of a surrealist ideal: the beautiful innocent. She finds refuge in a mysterious bookshop, where she stumbles into a world of occult learning and intensifies an esoteric practice in the tarot that helps her light the bright fire of her creative genius.

When travel documents come through, Remedios and Benjamin flee to Mexico where she is reunited with friend and fellow painter Leonora Carrington. Together, the women tap into their creativity, stake their independence, and each find their true loves. But it is the tarot that enables them to access the transcendent that lies on the other side of consciousness, to become the truest Surrealists of all.

From an author with “an enchanting, intoxicating voice” (Cristina Alger, author of 
The Darlings), Alchemy of a Blackbird is about a dynamic female friendship that became a historic artistic collaboration between two giants of the art world.

Title: Lady Tan's Circle of Women
Author: Lisa See
Publisher: Scribner
Release date: June 6, 2023
Setting: 1400s China
Request: Approved


The latest historical novel from New York Times bestselling author Lisa See, inspired by the true story of a woman physician from 15th-century China—perfect for fans of See’s classic Snowflower and the Secret Fan and The Island of Sea Women.

According to Confucius, “an educated woman is a worthless woman,” but Tan Yunxian—born into an elite family, yet haunted by death, separations, and loneliness—is being raised by her grandparents to be of use. Her grandmother is one of only a handful of female doctors in China, and she teaches Yunxian the pillars of Chinese medicine, the Four Examinations—looking, listening, touching, and asking—something a man can never do with a female patient.

From a young age, Yunxian learns about women’s illnesses, many of which relate to childbearing, alongside a young midwife-in-training, Meiling. The two girls find fast friendship and a mutual purpose—despite the prohibition that a doctor should never touch blood while a midwife comes in frequent contact with it—and they vow to be forever friends, sharing in each other’s joys and struggles. 
No mud, no lotus, they tell themselves: from adversity beauty can bloom.

But when Yunxian is sent into an arranged marriage, her mother-in-law forbids her from seeing Meiling and from helping the women and girls in the household. Yunxian is to act like a proper wife—embroider bound-foot slippers, pluck instruments, recite poetry, give birth to sons, and stay forever within the walls of the family compound, the Garden of Fragrant Delights.

How might a woman like Yunxian break free of these traditions, go on to treat women and girls from every level of society, and lead a life of such importance that many of her remedies are still used five centuries later? How might the power of friendship support or complicate these efforts? 
Lady Tan’s Circle of Women is a captivating story of women helping other women. It is also a triumphant reimagining of the life of a woman who was remarkable in the Ming dynasty and would be considered remarkable today.

Title: The Stolen Twins
Author: Shari J. Ryan
Publisher: Bookouture
Release date: February 14, 2023
Setting: WWII Poland
Request: Approved


Auschwitz, 1944: “You can’t leave me,” I whisper, my hand trembling as I reach for her cheek. “You can’t. We’re in this life together, always, just you and me.” This utterly heartbreaking yet beautifully hopeful World War Two page-turner tells the story of identical twin sisters in Auschwitz. Born minutes apart, Arina and Nora have never left each other’s side—until now…

The cattle car is dark, except for the light filtering through the boarded windows. There are too many of us to count, crushed up against each other. The air is stuffy, carrying the scent of our terror—none of us know what awaits us when this train stops. I cling onto Mama’s hand and Nora, my twin sister, clutches Papa’s.

After what feels like forever, the train stops. We spill out of the carriage, the sun blinding us after being imprisoned in darkness for so long. There are people everywhere, soldiers separating children from their parents, husbands from wives.

We’re in some sort of queue, and a man in a dark-green SS uniform walks by, glancing at everyone he passes. “Twins, twins,” he shouts. My heart falls into the pit of my stomach.

“Right here,” says Mama, hesitation in her voice. “My daughters are twins.” My eyes widen, and Nora trembles. Papa tries to tell Mama to be quiet, but it’s too late.

The Nazi catches sight of us. “Twins,” he says again, pausing to inspect Nora and me. “Yes, you are, aren’t you? You two are going to come along with me.”

Title: The House of Lincoln
Author: Nancy Horan
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Release date: June 6, 2023
Setting: Mid-1800s America
Request: Approved


An unprecedented view of Lincoln's Springfield from the acclaimed and bestselling author of Loving Frank.

Nancy Horan, author of the million-copy New York Times bestseller Loving Frank, returns with a sweeping historical novel, which tells the story of Abraham Lincoln's ascendance from rumpled lawyer to U.S. president to the Great Emancipator through the eyes of a young asylum-seeker who arrives in Lincoln's home of Springfield from Madeira, Portugal.

Showing intelligence beyond society's expectations, fourteen-year-old Ana Ferreira lands a job in the Lincoln household assisting Mary Lincoln with their boys and with the hostess duties borne by the wife of a rising political star. Ana bears witness to the evolution of Lincoln's views on equality and the Union and observes in full complexity the psyche and pain of his bold, polarizing wife, Mary.

Along with her African American friend Cal, Ana encounters the presence of the underground railroad in town and experiences personally how slavery is tearing apart her adopted country. Culminating in an eyewitness account of the little-known Springfield race riot of 1908, The House of Lincoln takes readers on a journey through the historic changes that reshaped America and that continue to reverberate today.


Title: The Castle Keepers
Author: Aimie K. Runyan, J'Nell Ciesielski, and Rachel McMillan
Publisher: Harper Muse
Release date: May 2, 2023
Setting: 1870, 1917, and 1945 England
Request: Denied


Leedswick Castle has housed the Alnwick family in the English countryside for generations, despite a family curse determined to destroy their legacy and erase them from history.

1870. After a disastrous dinner at the Astor mansion forces her to flee New York in disgrace, socialite Beatrice Holbrook knows her performance in London must be a triumph. When she catches the eye of Charles Alnwick, one of the town’s most enviably-titled bachelors, she prepares to attempt a social coup and become the future Marchioness of Northridge. When tragedy and scandal strike the Alnwick family, Beatrice must assume the role of a lifetime: that of her true, brave self.

1917. Artist Elena Hamilton arrives in Northumberland determined to transform a soldier’s wounds into something beautiful. Tobias Alnwick’s parents have commissioned a lifelike mask to help their son return to his former self after battle wounds partially destroyed his face. But Elena doesn’t see a man who needs fixing—she sees a man who needn’t hide. Yet secrets from their past threaten to chase away the peace they’ve found in each other and destroy the future they’re creating.

1945. Alec Alnwick returns home from the war haunted but determined to leave death and destruction behind. With the help of Brigitta Mayr, the brilliant young psychoanalyst whose correspondence was a lifeline during his time on the Western Front, he reconstructs his family’s large estate into a rehabilitation center for similarly wounded soldiers. Now Alec’s efforts may be the only chance to redeem his family legacy—and break the curse on the Alnwick name—once and for all.


Title: Stone Blind
Author: Natalie Haynes
Publisher: Harper
Release date: February 7, 2023
Setting: Ancient Greece
Request: Pending


The national bestselling author of A Thousand Ships and Pandora's Jar returns with a fresh and stunningly perceptive take on the story of Medusa, the original monstered woman.

They will fear you and flee you and call you a monster. 

The only mortal in a family of gods, Medusa is the youngest of the Gorgon sisters. Unlike her siblings, Medusa grows older, experiences change, feels weakness. Her mortal lifespan gives her an urgency that her family will never know.

When the sea god Poseidon assaults Medusa in Athene’s temple, the goddess is enraged. Furious by the violation of her sacred space, Athene takes revenge—on the young woman. Punished for Poseidon’s actions, Medusa is forever transformed. Writhing snakes replace her hair and her gaze will turn any living creature to stone. Cursed with the power to destroy all she loves with one look, Medusa condemns herself to a life of solitude.

Until Perseus embarks upon a fateful quest to fetch the head of a Gorgon . . .

In Stone Blind, classicist and comedian Natalie Haynes turns our understanding of this legendary myth on its head, bringing empathy and nuance to one of the earliest stories in which a woman—injured by a powerful man—is blamed, punished, and monstered for the assault. Delving into the origins of this mythic tale, Haynes revitalizes and reconstructs Medusa’s story with her passion and fierce wit, offering a timely retelling of this classic myth that speaks to us today.


There we have it. Ten books in the historical fiction category that I hope to get approved for on Netgalley. You may have noticed that three of the books are set exclusively around WWII, and I absolutely could've filled this entire list with WWII fiction book requests. I wanted to try to feature other eras though in spite of WWII Europe being my favorite historical fiction era to read about. So now we just wait to see how successful I am with all these requests. 

Do you enjoy reading historical fiction? What's your favorite historical fiction book you've read recently if so? If you're stopping by from the linkup, please be sure to drop a link to your freebie post below so I can see what you choose this week for a topic (so that maybe next time we have a freebie I can avoid playing another game of Netgalley Request Roulette!) - Katie 


  1. Great list! I would love to read so many of these since I love historical fiction. The House of Lincoln would be my first choice. Thanks for sharing. Hope you enjoy these.

    1. It was definitely a fun game of roulette for me, and I'm both happy and sad at how many of the books I've already been approved for (because my Netgalley hole is so freakin' deep). Thanks for stopping by. - Katie

  2. It looks like you've found some interesting reads on NetGalley. I may have to add a couple of these to my TBR.
    Pam @ Read! Bake! Create!

    1. There is no shortage of books on Netgalley that look interesting to me, which is why my feedback percentage is at 30. Thanks for stopping by. - Katie

  3. Good luck with your request Roulette!

    I have trouble with freebie topics, too.

    My post:

    1. This round has been very lucky so far...I'm guaranteed to get 60% of the books I've requested at minimum. Thanks for stopping by. - Katie

  4. Some great titles! Thanks for sharing. I've added a few to my TBR wishlist to keep an eye on in the future.

  5. I hope that you get all of these! I think it would be fun to use these freebie days to Tell Me What to Read Next.

    My post, if you’d like to take a look:

    1. Well I've already been denied two of them, but that's okay because I've got a massive Netgalley hole as it is. Thanks for stopping by. - Katie

  6. Seems like you've found some interesting books, I hope you enjoy them. I've added The Air Raid Book Club and Stone Blind to my TBR!
    My TTT:

    1. I'm still anxiously awaiting word on whether I'm approved for Stone Blind, really hoping I get it. Thanks for stopping by. - Katie

  7. You're really brave to play this game on NG! Maybe I feel like that because I limit my requests to books I already want to read and authors I already love. Every once in a while I sneak in a wild card, but not like you've done with this.

    1. I do genuinely want to read these books, and I have a very wide range of interests in books, so enjoying the books I'm requesting isn't a major concern for me. Thanks for stopping by. - Katie

  8. Wow, I love this topic/post! I have no pending requests on Net Galley and am taking a small break (until my self-control wanes) to try and read other books already on my shelves and TBR lists!

    1. I should take a break to read other books that are on my shelves and TBR lists, but I have no idea what self-control is. LOL. Thanks for stopping by. - Katie

  9. So fun! I also got approved for THE AIR RAID BOOK CLUB and the Lisa See book. Good luck with your other requests!

    Happy TTT!

    1. I don't know what they were thinking approving me for a Lisa See book (I was sure I was getting denied for that one with my 31% feedback on Netgalley). Thanks for stopping by. - Katie

  10. I love this idea! I love Lisa See and am so excited for her new book, I'm so happy it was approved! Very excited for Stone Blind as well. I hope you get even more approvals soon :)

    1. I don't think I've actually ever read anything by Lisa See (although I'm pretty sure I have a few of her books on my shelves that I picked up at the thrift store in the past). I'm excited to dive into it, but they don't want reviews posted too early, so I'm holding off on reading it for a bit. - Katie

  11. Replies
    1. Thanks. It's actually a horrible idea because it makes my Netgalley hole even deeper because some of these publishers have very low standards, like my husband. LOL. Although I will say that so far this year I've been doing a phenomenal job of keeping up with my Netgalley ARCs for once. - Katie