The Best Historical Fiction Books For Summer

Debut novelist Crystal Smith Paul joins the podcast to discuss her historical fiction book, Did You Hear About Kitty Karr?, and her top book recommendations.

The Best Historical Fiction Books for Summer with Crystal Smith Paul

Historical fiction lovers, you do not want to miss this fascinating discussion around some of your favorite books and some details on upcoming 2023 historical fiction book releases. 

Today’s interview with Crystal Smith Paul offers a peek behind the curtains at the creation of the riveting debut novel,Did You Hear About Kitty Karr?”, soon to hit store shelves on May 2nd from Henry Holt & Company. 

The novel explores impactful themes such as colorism and the generational trauma of racism in the U.S. In today’s Book Gang interview, Crystal discusses her research on these themes and what message she hopes readers take away from Kitty’s fictional story. The true story that inspired many of these fictional characters should not be missed today.

Learn about Paul’s rich background that lent itself well to Kitty’s Hollywood backstory, how she approached this dual-timeline narrative, and the most significant challenges she faced with writing and publishing. 

Did You Hear About Kitty Karr? y Crystal Smith Paul

Did You Hear About Kitty Karr? Summary

Craving an old Hollywood historical fiction escape? If you loved The Vanishing Half, you will appreciate this powerful debut novel that examines race and privilege.

Eighty-one-year-old Kitty Karr Tate has died, and her death has dominated the week’s news. She was an American icon, an Academy Award winner, a writer, a television star, and a philanthropist. But, along with praise for her career, there are also wild theories about her mysterious life and the circumstances of her demise.  

In one final mysterious plot twist, Kitty has bequeathed her entire fortune- approximately six million dollars to the Black daughters of her co-star in a sitcom aired almost fifty years ago. 

As these women are thrust further into the spotlight, they are left to grapple with why they received these funds. After all, they are daughters who had been multimillionaires by birth. So why do they receive this unexpected windfall? 

We get to solve this mystery along with the St. Johns family in this dual-timeline story, beginning in the 1930s and shifting to 2017.

This sweeping multigenerational saga is worthy of a miniseries, and I can’t wait to hear more about the inspiration for Kitty’s story. 

Paul’s examination of our fractured world acknowledges the grim realities of racial disparities while offering the reader reprieves through fantastical Hollywood escapes. Don’t miss this debut, hitting store shelves on May 2nd or this fascinating conversation.

Editor’s Note: Since recording this interview, Crystal Smith Paul was selected as the May Reese’s Book Club Pick and a May BOTM selection.

Don’t miss Crystal’s favorite books in today’s bonus book list with the best historical fiction books for your summer that include some of the most anticipated books of the summer season!

I round out our discussion with some intriguing trivia about these incredible selections featured today. 

Crystal Smith Paul author of Did You Hear About Kitty Karr?

Meet Crystal Smith Paul

Crystal Smith Paul attended Spelman College and UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television and received her master’s in journalism from NYU. Her nonfiction writing has appeared in Salon, Jezebel, and HuffPost. She currently works in digital marketing for wellness and beauty brands. Did You Hear About Kitty Karr? is her first novel.

The Best Historical Fiction Books For Summer

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Published April 28, 2023 by:

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