Upcoming Titles in Penguin Random House’s Very Specific Historical Fiction  

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The Shopkeeper’s Daughter

An angry haberdashery owner in 19th-century London attempts to strengthen his relationship with his daughter by bonding over their shared respect for fine men’s accessories.  They succeed, but it takes a long time. In fact, it takes the exact amount of time that the shopkeeper needs to hand-stitch a cumberbun for his most loyal customer and (spoiler-alert) future son-in-law.  The city of London’s infrastructure is growing, and train tracks are being built. This is an extended metaphor for something.

The Fisherman’s Widow

A widow from coastal Maine communicates with her dead fisherman husband through a series of letters he left behind for her.  She learns to love again and she also learns how to fish properly. Inspired by her husband, the nameless widow sets sail on the open sea, only to be lost, only to be found by a new, alive fisherman who reminds her of her late husband because of his distinct smell and straggly beard hairs.  She always keeps the letters.

The Quiltmaker’s Mother

In post-Revolutionary War America, a quiltmaker and his mother fight over where a particular square should be placed within a quilt pattern.  The mother is maybe Betsy Ross.

The Watch Repairman’s Next Door Neighbor

We begin in France, 1789. The Tennis Court Oath has just transpired because it is a chic event to name-drop.  Meanwhile, a watch repairman must do the impossible: repair a watch which seems so broken that it would be much easier to just purchase a new watch.  He recognizes the customer because she is his neighbor. She recognizes the watch repairman because he is also her neighbor. This is how neighborhoods work, even in 18th-century France.  Their revolutionary love resonates with us today because of the similarities we can draw between them and us and the ticking of the watches.

The Man with the Interesting Job’s Female with Whom He Has a Relationship

A man works, but he also loves.  He works hard, and he loves hard.  He’s complicated, but she’s determined to figure him out.  Because she’s his sister, or alternatively his lover. In some cases, both.  They are a product of their time, and their time is a product of them. The craftsmanship required of his occupation mirrors the historical context and also reflects it. A war blazes on.

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