Top 75 Best Historical Fiction Books Of All Time: Top Pick

Best Historical Fiction Books Of All Time
  • MatthewDusQues

Ancient fiction presents a narrative set before, frequently during a substantial time. In ancient fiction, the time frame is a significant part of the narrative’s setting and frequency. Suppose you feel overwhelmed with the amount of the best historical fiction books ever published. In that case, it is possible to even choose our 1-minute quiz below to narrow it down fast and receive a personalized dream show recommendation as well as living through the chaos of World War II.

Best Historical Fiction Novels of All Time

Historical Fiction Novels

SaleBestseller No. 1
The Rose Code: A Novel
  • Quinn, Kate (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 656 Pages - 03/09/2021...
SaleBestseller No. 2
The Lincoln Highway: A Novel
  • Hardcover Book
  • Towles, Amor (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 592 Pages - 10/05/2021...
SaleBestseller No. 3
The Personal Librarian
10,388 Reviews
The Personal Librarian
  • Hardcover Book
  • Benedict, Marie (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 352 Pages - 06/29/2021...
Bestseller No. 4
Cloud Cuckoo Land: A Novel
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Doerr, Anthony (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 637 Pages - 09/28/2021...
SaleBestseller No. 5
The Girls in the Stilt House
3,970 Reviews
The Girls in the Stilt House
  • Mustian, Kelly (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 384 Pages - 04/06/2021...
Bestseller No. 6
The Four Winds: A Novel
  • Adult sex toys Adult sexual...
  • Adult sex toys Adult sexual...
  • Adult sex toys Adult sexual...
  • Adult sex toys Adult sexual...
  • Adult sex toys Adult sexual...

The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason

The War Office has asked Edgar Drake, a piano tuner, to travel to Burma to fix a rare grand piano that belonged to an obscure army surgeon. He will travel across Europe, the Red Sea, India, and beyond with an unidentified woman. Edgar starts to question his motives and wonders if he will ever return home to his wife, who is waiting for him.

The Piano Tuner
  • Paperback
  • First Vintage Edition
  • Mason, Daniel (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 336 Pages - 08/19/2003...

As Meat Loves Salt By Maria Mccann

Time and Place: 1600s, England

Never was the English Revolution so seductive. As Meat Loves Salt sees Jacob Cullen, a hot-tempered man, join Christopher Ferris, his friend in the army, to escape a troubled marriage and face a possible murder charge. There’s more to them than just comradely affection. And 17th-century England doesn’t make for the best place for two-man in love.

This historical romance is rich in historical details and as sensual as it is. It also depicts the horrors of war. Jacob is not the most lovable protagonist due to his violent past and turbulent rages. This book is firmly in the grimdark territory due to Jacob’s anti-heroic, brooding nature. This is a novel by a most original new voice in fiction.

Alias Grace By Margaret Atwood

Period and Placing: 1800s, Canada Description

Description: It is 1843, and Grace Marks has been convicted for her involvement in the vicious murders of her employer and his housekeeper and mistress. Some believe Grace is innocent; others think her evil or insane. Currently serving a life sentence, Grace claims to have no memory of their murders.

An up-and-coming specialist in the burgeoning field of mental illness is engaged by a group of reformers and spiritualists who seek a pardon for Grace. He listens to her story while bringing her closer and closer to the day she can’t recall. What will he find in trying to unlock her memories? Captivating and upsetting, Alias Grace showcases bestselling Booker Prize-winning writer Margaret Atwood at the peak of her abilities.

Nefertiti By Michelle Moran

Time Phase and Setting: Ancient Egypt Description

Description: Nefertiti and her younger sister, Mutnodjmet, have been raised in a strong family that has provided girlfriends into Egypt’s rulers for centuries. Ambitious, charismatic, and lovely, Nefertiti is destined to wed Amunhotep, an unstable young pharPharaoh

It’s estimated that her powerful character will temper the youthful ruler’s heretical urge to forsake Egypt’s early gods.

By the moment of her birth in Thebes, Nefertiti is treasured by the people but neglects to observe powerful priests are plotting against her husband’s rule. The only man brave enough to frighten the queen would be her younger sister, Mutnodjmet.

Observant and contemplative, Mutnodjmet hasn’t shared her sister’s appetite for power. She yearns for a silent presence away from family obligation and the intrigues of the court. But staying faithful to Nefertiti will induce Mutnodjmet to a dangerous political game, one which may cost her everything she holds dear.

Teeming with betrayal, love, political unrest, plague, and spiritual battle, Nefertiti brings ancient Egypt to life in rich detail.

Nefertiti: A Novel
  • 5-Book Collection by Michelle...
  • Hardcover
  • Duskjackets in Mylar covers
  • Hardcover Book
  • Moran, Michelle (Author)

The King Must Die By Mary Renault

Time and Placing: Ancient Greece Description

Description: During this ambitious, inventive story, celebrated ancient novelist Mary Renault takes legendary hero Theseus and twists his fantasy into a fast-paced and fascinating narrative.

Renault begins with Theseus’s early decades, revealing how the puzzle of his father’s individuality and diminutive stature strain the insecurities that spur his young hijinx. Since he moves to Eleusis, Athens, and Crete, his playfulness and fondness for pranks evolve to the guts to try singular epic feats, the gallantry and direction he had been famous for on the battle, along with the bold-hearted creativity he reveals at navigating the labyrinth and slaying the Minotaur.

In what is possibly the most ingenious of her historical fiction books of Ancient Greece, Renault casts Theseus as an astonishingly original present; she churns the faulty human from this bronze hero pulls the plausible from this fantastic.

Lavinia By Ursula K. Le Guin

Time and Placing: Ancient Italy Description

Description: From The Aeneid, Vergil’s hero struggles to assert the king’s daughter, Lavinia, with whom he’s destined to found an empire. Lavinia, her sheer, speaks a note. Ursula K. Le Guin provides Lavinia a voice in a book that takes us into the half-wild universe of early Italy when Rome was a muddy village near seven hills.

Lavinia grows up knowing only peace and liberty until suitors come. Her mom wants her to marry handsome, ambitious Turnus. However, omens and prophecies spoken with the sacred springs state she has to marry a foreigner, which she will be the source of bitter warfare, and that her husband won’t live long.

After a fleet of Trojan ships booted up the Tiber, Lavinia decides to take her fate into her own hands. And so she informs us precisely what Vergil didn’t: the story of her own life, and also of the love of her life.

The God Of Small Things By Arundhati Roy

Time Period and Setting: 1960s, India Description

Description: contrasted favorably to the works of Faulkner and Dickens, Arundhati Roy time period contemporary classic is equal portions intense family saga, forbidden love story, and piercing political play. The seven-year-old twins and Rahel find their world shaken irrevocably from the birth of the lovely young cousin, Sophie.

It’s an occasion that will cause an illegal liaison and tragedies deliberate and accidental, exposing”large things [which ] lurk unsaid” at a nation drifting dangerously toward unrest.

Lush, lyrical, and unnerving, The God of Small Things is an award-winning landmark that began because of its writer and prestigious career of fiction and political opinion that proceeds unabated.

The God of Small Things: A Novel
  • Random House Trade
  • Roy, Arundhati (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 333 Pages - 12/16/2008...

The Game Of Kings By Dorothy Dunnett

Time and Placing: 1500s, Scotland

Description: In this first book in the legendary Lymond Chronicles, Francis Crawford of Lymond, traitor, murderer, nobleman, returns to Scotland to redeem his reputation and rescue his property.

It’s 1547, and Scotland has been humiliated by an English invasion which can be jeopardized by machinations elsewhere outside its boundaries, but it’s still free. Ironically, her liberty may rely upon a guy who stands accused of treason.

He’s Francis Crawford of Lymond, a scapegrace leman of jagged felicities and murderous abilities, prepossessed scholar’s erudition, and a tongue as bad as a dagger. At The Sport of Kings, this extraordinary antihero contributes to the nation, which has petitioned him to redeem his reputation in the danger of his own life.

Doc By Mary Doria Russell

Time and Placing: Late 1800s, U.S.

Description: Produced into the lifetime of a Southern gentleman, Dr. John Henry Holliday arrives on the Texas frontier trusting that the dry air and sun of the West will restore him to health. Shortly, with few job prospects, Doc Holliday is gaming professionally with his spouse, Mária Katarina Harmony, a high-strung, classically educated Hungarian whore.

In search of high-stakes poker, the few strikes of Dodge City. And that’s the point where the improbable friendship of Doc Holliday and a fearless lawman called Wyatt Earp begins until the gunfight in the O.K. Corral joins their titles forever in American frontier mythology if neither guy wanted fame or deserved notoriety.

The Book Of Night Women By Marlon James

Time and Place: Late 1700s, Jamaica

Description: A genuine victory of storytelling and voice, The Book of Night Women rings with profound authenticity along with distinctly modern energy. It’s the story of Lilith, born into slavery on a Jamaican sugar plantation at the end of the eighteenth century. At her arrival, the servant girls around her realize a dark power that they will come to equally revere and fear.

The Night Women, as they call themselves, have been plotting a slave revolt. As Lilith comes old, they view her as the secret to their aims. However, if she begins to know her own emotions, wants, and individuality, Lilith begins to push the borders of what is imaginable for a servant woman’s life span and risks getting the conspiracy’s weak connection.

But the actual revelation of this book-the secret into the heavenly vision and persistent prose-is Marlon James himself, a young writer at breathtakingly daring and entirely accountable for his craft.

The Book of Night Women
  • Hardcover Book
  • James, Marlon (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 417 Pages - 02/19/2009...

A Rising Man By Abir Mukherjee

Time and Placing: 1900s, India

Description: Calcutta, 1919. Captain Sam Wyndham, former Scotland Yard detective, is a newcomer to Calcutta. Desperately looking for a new start after his adventures during the Great War, Wyndham was recruited to head a new place at the police force.

He’s instantly overwhelmed by the heady vibrancy of this tropical town. However, with hardly a minute to take care of the ghosts that still bother him, Wyndham is caught up in a murder investigation that threatens to destabilize a town teetering on the edge of political insurgency.

A senior officer’s entire body was discovered in a foul sewer, and a note left in his mouth warns the British to quit India or else. Under enormous pressure to resolve the situation until it erupts into improved violence on the roads, Wyndham and his two coworkers, arrogant Inspector Digby and Sergeant Banerjee, one of the few Indians to be recruited to the new CID, embark on an investigation that will take them out of the extravagant mansions of wealthy British dealers into the seedy opium dens of town.

The Gods Of Tango By Carolina De Robertis

Time and Placing: Early 1900s, Argentina Description

Description: Produced in Buenos Aires in 1913, with just a bag and her dad’s cherished violin into her title, seventeen-year-old Leda is shocked to see that the husband she’s traveled across a sea to achieve is dead. Not able to come home alone and on the edge of poverty, she finds herself mesmerized by the tango, the dance that underscores every life element in her new town.

Knowing she can never perform in public as a girl, Leda disguises herself as a young man to join a troupe of musicians. From the illegal, scandalous world of brothels and cabarets, the line between Leda and her disguise begins to blur, and prohibited longings she has kept suppressed are recognized for the very first time.

Powerfully lusty, Tango’s Gods is an erotically charged story of songs, enthusiasm, and the quest for a real-life against the odds.

A Gentleman In Moscow By Amor Towles

Period and Placing: 192os, Russia Description

Description: In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is recognized as an unrepentant aristocrat with a Bolshevik tribunal and can be sentenced to house arrest at the Metropol, a grand hotel throughout the road Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and humor, hasn’t worked a day in his entire life and has to currently reside in a loft room while a few of their most tumultuous decades in history have been unfolding away from the hotel’s doors. Suddenly, his reduced conditions provide him entry into a much bigger universe of psychological discovery.

Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, plus a superbly rendered scene after another, this magnificent book throws a charm because it relates to the count’s job to obtain a deeper comprehension of what it means to become a man of intent.

A Gentleman in Moscow: A Novel
38,302 Reviews
A Gentleman in Moscow: A Novel
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Towles, Amor (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 465 Pages - 09/06/2016...

The Book Thief By Markus Zusak

Time and Placing: 1930s, Germany

The nation is holding its breath. Death hasn’t been busier and will become busier still.

Liesel Meminger is a nurturing woman living outside Munich who scrapes out a meager existence for himself by stealing if she experiences something that she can not resist in novels. With the support of her accordion-playing boost dad, she learns to see and shares her stolen novels with her neighbors through bombing raids in addition to with the Jewish man hidden inside her basement.

The Bourbon Thief By Tiffany Reisz

Time and Placing: 1900s, U.S.

Description: If Cooper McQueen wakes up from a night with a gorgeous stranger, it is to discover he has been robbed. The only thing stolen is a million-dollar bottle of bourbon. The burglar, a mysterious girl, called Paris, asserts that the jar is rightfully hers.

After all, the tag itself states it is property of their Maddox family who owned and managed Red Thread Bourbon distillery because the final times of the Civil War before the company went out of business for reasons nobody understands… nobody except Paris.

In the wee hours of a Louisville morning, Paris unspools the lurid tale of Tamara Maddox, heiress to the distillery which turned into an empire. However, the family tree is rooted in tainted soil, and it has borne fruit. Theirs is a legacy of power and wealth and lies, secrets, and sins of omission.

The Maddoxes have bourbon in their bloodstream and bloodstream within their bourbon. Why Paris desires the jar of Red Thread stays a secret before the fact of her identity is revealed, and also the century-old vengeance Tamara pledged contrary to her family can finally be finished.

Beloved By Toni Morrison

Best historical fiction books set in the 19th century USA

Description: Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding historical fiction novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby.

Sethe, its protagonist, was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen decades later, she’s still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the gorgeous farm where so many hideous things happened. And Sethe’s new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died namelessly and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. Filled with bad poetry and suspense as taut as a rope, Beloved is a towering success.

Read more: Best Toni Morrison Quotes

  • Vintage
  • Toni Morrison (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 321 Pages - 06/08/2004...

Human Acts By Han Kang

Time and Placing: 1980s, South Korea

Description: In the middle of a violent student uprising in South Korea, a young boy called Dong-ho is shockingly murdered.

The unforgettable tale of the tragic episode culminated in a sequence of interrelated chapters because the victims and the bereaved encounter jealousy, jealousy, and the echoing anguish of this massacre.

By Dong-ho’s best buddy who members own fateful ending; into an editor fighting against censorship; into a captive and a mill worker, every suffering from traumatic memories; and also to Dong-ho’s very own grief-stricken mommy; and via their collective heartbreak and acts of trust is the narrative of a brutalized individuals seeking a voice.

An award-winning, controversial best works of historical fiction, Individual Acts is a classic, pointillist portrait of an early occasion with reverberations still being felt now, by turns tracing the unpleasant fact of oppression and the contested, outstanding poetry of humankind.

Read more

The Fair Fight By Anna Freeman

Time and Placing: 1800s, England

Description: Produced at a brothel, Ruth does not anticipate much for herself outside misuse. While her sister’s beauty affords a certain level of relaxation, Ruth’s unpleasant looks place her on a course of struggle. This is until she meets pugilist patron George Dryer and discovers her true calling, battling bare-knuckles from Bristol’s decoration bands.

Manor-born Charlotte has a different path to endure. She was scarred by smallpox, stifled with her social and amorous alternatives, and trapped in twisted power games with her wastrel brother. She’s desperate for a getaway.

Following a devastating, life-changing fight sidelines Ruth, the two women meet, and it changes the views of both of these. When Charlotte gives Ruth an outstanding proposition, Ruth pushes yummy Charlotte to put in the ring and find her power.

The Dovekeepers By Alice Hoffman

Time and Placing: Ancient Israel

Description: Almost two thousand decades back, nine hundred Jews were held out for months against Romans’ armies on Masada, a hill in the Judean desert. According to the ancient historian Josephus, two girls and five children survived.

According to this dreadful and iconic event, Hoffman’s book is a spellbinding novel of four incredibly daring, resourceful, and sensual ladies. Each of them has come to Masada with a different course. Yael’s mother died in childbirth, and her father, a professional assassin, never forgave her for that departure.

Revka, a village baker’s wife, watched the murder of her daughter by Roman soldiers; she attracts to Masada her young grandsons, left mute by what they’ve seen.

Aziza is a warrior’s daughter, raised as a boyfriend, a daring rider, and an expert marksman that finds passion using a fellow soldier. Shirah, born in Alexandria, is wise in many ways of ancient magic and medicine, a girl with uncanny insight and strength.

The lives of those four complicated and fiercely independent girls lie in the days of the siege. All are doorkeepers and keep secrets about who they are, where they come out, who fathered them, and whom they adore.

The Dovekeepers: A Novel
  • Scribner Book Company
  • Hoffman, Alice (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 528 Pages - 04/03/2012...

The Buddha In The Attic By Julie Otsuka

Time and Placing: Early 1900s, U.S.

Description: A stunning story by the celebrated author of When the Emperor Was Divine tells the story of many young women brought from Japan to San Francisco as”picture brides” almost a century past.

In eight unforgettable segments, The Buddha in the Attic traces the extraordinary lives of those girls, by their arduous journeys by ship, to their arrival at San Francisco and their tremulous early nights as fresh wives; by their adventures raising children who’d later deny their culture and tradition, into the deracinating coming of warfare.

Yet more, Julie Otsuka has beautifully written a spellbinding historical fiction novel about identity and devotion and precisely what it means to become an American at uncertain times.

Fingersmith By Sarah Waters

Time and Placing: 19th century England

Description: Sue Trinder is an orphan, abandoned as a baby in the care of Mrs. Sucksby, a “baby farmer,” who raised her with unusual tenderness as if Sue were her own. Mrs. Sucksby’s household, with its fussy babies calmed with doses of gin, also hosts a transient family of petty thieves’ finger smith for whom this house in the heart of a mean London slum is home.

One afternoon, the most beloved thief of all arrives Gentleman, an elegant con man, that carries with him an enticing proposition for Sue: When she wins a position as the maid to Maud Lilly, a naïve gentlewoman, and assists Gentleman in her seduction, then they’ll all share in Maud’s enormous inheritance.

When the inheritance is secured, Maud will be disposed of as human-made, forced to stand outside the remainder of her days in a lunatic asylum.

With dreams of repaying the kindness of her adopted family, Sue agrees to this program. Once in, however, Sue begins to shame her helpless mark and care for Maud Lilly in unexpected ways…But nobody and nothing is as it sounds in this Dickensian novel of excitement and reversals.

Read also: Best Seduction Books of All Time Review 2022

The Golem And The Jinni By Helene Wecker

Time and Placing: Early 1900s, U.S.

Description: Chava is a golem, a creature made from clay, brought to life with a disgraced rabbi that dabbles in shadowy Kabbalistic magic and expires in the sea on Poland’s voyage. Chava has been unmoored and adrift since the boat arrived in New York harbor in 1899.

Ahmad is a jinni, a being of passion born from the early Civil War, trapped in a classic aluminum flask, and published in NYC, although still not completely free.

Ahmad and Chava become unlikely friends and soul mates using a mysterious connection. Marvelous and compulsively readable, Helene Wecker’s debut novel The Golem and the Jinni weave and of Yiddish and Middle Eastern literature, historical fiction, and magical fable to some wondrously creative and unforgettable narrative.

The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel
  • Harper
  • Hardcover Book
  • Wecker, Helene (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 496 Pages - 04/23/2013...

Fruit Of The Drunken Tree By Ingrid Rojas Contreras

Time and Placing: 1980s, Colombia

Description: Seven-year-old Chula, along with her older sister Cassandra love carefree lives thanks to their gated neighborhood in Bogotá, however the danger of kidnappings, car bombs, and assassinations hover just beyond the local walls, in which the godlike drug lord Pablo Escobar continues to elude police and catch the interest of the country.

If their mom hires Petrona, a live-in-maid in the town’s guerrilla-occupied slum, Chula makes it her mission to comprehend Petronas cryptic ways. However, Petronas’s unusual behavior totaled shyness. She’s a young woman crumbling under a load of providing for her household because the riptide of early love attracts her in the contrary direction.

As both women’s families scramble to keep equilibrium amidst the quickly escalating battle, Petrona and Chula find themselves entangled in a web of secrecy that will force them to select between betrayal and sacrifice.

Homegoing By Yaa Gyasi

Time and Placing: Mid-1700s, Ghana

Description: Ghana, eighteenth century: two sisters have been born into different villages, each unaware of the other. An individual will marry an Englishman and lead a lifetime of relaxation in the Cape Coast castle’s palatial areas. Another will be recorded in a raid on her village, imprisoned at the same castle, and sold to captivity.

Homegoing follows the two-half sisters and their descendants’ parallel routes throughout eight generations: from the Gold Coast into the plantations of Mississippi, by the American Civil War to Jazz Age Harlem.

Yaa Gyasi’s extraordinary novel illuminates captivity’s troubled heritage both for people who had been shot and people who remained and revealed how the memory of captivity was inscribed on the spirit of the country.

The House Of The Spirits By Isabel Allende

Time and Placing: 1900s, Chile Description

The House of the Spirits is Isabel Allende’s unforgettable first novel. It tells the story of the struggles and triumphs of three generations of the Trueba family. Esteban, the patriarch, is a proud, volatile man whose voracious pursuit of political power is offset only by his devotion to delicate wife Clara Clara who has a mysterious connection with the spirit world. Blanca, daughter Blanca embarks on a forbidden love affair against her father. The result is an unexpected gift for Esteban: Alba, his beloved granddaughter, will be a solid and capable leader for her family and country.

The House of the Spirits, one of the greatest historical fiction novels of the twentieth century, is an epic tale that spans decades and lives. It weaves the personal and the political into a universal story of magic, love, and fate.

The House of the Spirits: A Novel
2,900 Reviews
The House of the Spirits: A Novel
  • Atria Books
  • Allende, Isabel (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 496 Pages - 12/15/2015...

March, by Geraldine Brooks

Where was Mr. March? The father of the famous Little Women? Geraldine Brooks novel reveals that Mr. March was on the Civil War battlefield in 1862 but kept secret from his family. These secrets were never evealed to them in the letters he sent.

The Light Between Oceans By M.L. Stedman

Period and Placing: 1900s, Australia

Description: Following four catastrophic years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne yields to Australia and takes employment as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Stone, almost half a day’s trip from the shore. For this remote island, where the supply boat comes after a year, Tom attracts a young, daring, and adoring wife, Isabel.

Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel finds a baby’s cries at the end. A ship has washed up onshore carrying out a dead person and a living infant.

Tom, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a dreadful war, needs to report the guy and baby instantly. However, Isabel insists that the baby is a “gift from God,” Contrary to Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy.

When she’s just two, Tom and Isabel come back to the mainland and are reminded that there are different members of the world. Their decision has devastated these.

If You Leave Me By Crystal Hana Kim

Time and Placing: 1950s, Korea

Description: A emotionally riveting debut novel about war, loved ones, and forbidden love, the unforgettable saga of 2 ill-fated fans in Korea, along with the terrible choices they are made to create in the decades surrounding the civil war, which still haunts us now.

After the communist-backed army in the northwest of her house, sixteen-year-old Haemi Lee, together with her mother and ailing brother, is forced to flee to a refugee camp across the shore. For a couple of hours every night, she escapes her family’s makeshift residence and tragic situation with her childhood friend, Kyunghwan.

Determined by completing school, Kyunghwan does not recognize his older and wealthier cousin, Jisoo, has his sights set on the lovely and lively Haemi and is determined to wed her before joining the struggle.

However, since Haemi becomes a spouse, then a mother, her choice to forsake the boy she adored for the safety of her family sets off a stunning story that will have profound consequences for generations to come.

Moloka’i By Alan Brennert

Time and Placing: 1900s, Hawai’i

Description: This richly imagined novel, set in Hawai’i over a century past, is an extraordinary historical epic of a little-known time period and place along with a profoundly moving testament to the resiliency of the human soul.

Rachel Kalama, a lively seven-year-old Hawaiian woman, dreams of seeing far-off lands such as her father, a merchant seaman.

Then one afternoon, a rose-colored mark looks on her skin, and these dreams are stolen out of her. Taken from her home and family, Rachel has been delivered to Kalaupapa, the quarantined leprosy settlement on the island of Moloka’i. Here her lifestyle is supposed to finish, but rather, she discovers it’s only just beginning.

Having a lively cast of vividly realized characters, Moloka’i is your true-to-life chronicle of a people who embraced life in the face of death.

  • St Martin s Griffin
  • Alan Brennert (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 400 Pages - 10/04/2004...

RELATED: Best Fiction Books Of All Time

Wolf Hall By Hilary Mantel/

Maybe it is because we develop kings and castles’ tales, but historical fiction will be exciting when it features Tudor England. This work will take us through the very scandalous years of this dynasty, the reign of Henry VIII, the English king that broke away from the Catholic Church to marry a new wife (the earliest one of many.

Thomas Cromwell was the guy who left this unorthodox movement potential, and that rose to power for this. This story follows his ascension to the top.

The Wreath By Sigrid Undset

As Nobel laureates in literature proceed, Sigrid Undset has marginally less name recognition than Bob Dylan. After all, nobody can reflexively sing out traces out of Kristin Lavransdatter, the historical fiction trilogy that uttered her the publication world’s most significant life achievement award.

However, this masterful exploration of existence in 14th-century Norway deserves a place on your bookshelf. Although the initial installation, The Wreath, was released in 1920, it makes a fascinating read today. Sexy yet exhaustively researched, it is guaranteed to change your perspective of the Middle Ages.

The Sympathizer By Viet Thanh Nguyen

Viet Thanh Nguyen’s Pulitzer prize-winning Book, ” The Sympathizer, is Due to an undercover agent’s confession of espionage during the war between North and South Vietnam. The unnamed protagonist retells his rise up the control string in Saigon and his eventual trip into the US while reporting on his comrades in North Vietnam.

And his story is not the straightforward narrative of a loyal literary agent; he forges real friendships with all the Southern generals and representatives. They were with him during life-and-death scenarios.

The communist double agent is a “man with two minds,” a French-Vietnamese captain and half-French who plans to arrive in America after the Fall. While building a new life in Los Angeles, he secretly reports back to his communist superiors from Vietnam. The Sympathizer is an explosive exploration of identity and America. It’s also a riveting espionage novel and a powerful story about love and friendship.

The Sympathizer: A Novel (Pulitzer Prize for...
  • multi-award winning novel of a...
  • Nguyen, Viet Thanh (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 384 Pages - 04/12/2016...

A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende

A young, pregnant widow and an Army physician are left after the Spanish Civil War. They flee on the SS Winnipeg to escape the dangers and emigrate from Chile to start their lives on a new continent, just as World War II is about to break out.

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

Wolf Hall allows you to view the scandalous marital lives of King Henry VIII through his trusted lawyer. The Other Boleyn Girl lets you see the story of Anne Boleyn’s sister, Mary. Henry VIII marries Anne after his marriage to Catherine, although there are rumors that he had previously been interested in Mary.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Best World War II Books

Even on this list, there are plenty of World War II novels. Anthony Doerr’s stylish, stunning epic stands out in this sea of historical fiction. He uses wartime strife in All the Light We Could Not See to enrich and deepen a story that ultimately comes down to two memorable characters.

Marie-Laure, the daughter of a museum locksmith, flees Nazi-occupied Paris along with her father. They take precious jewels from their collections with them. The brilliant German orphan Werner Pfennig, a genius in Germany, is forced to join Hitler Youth. He then goes out to find enemy radio signals.

All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel
  • Doerr, Anthony (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 544 Pages - 04/04/2017...

A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes

The Trojan War is both legend and history. Natalie Haynes’s historical novel is a powerful and moving account of history that gives new life to the story of two ancient civilizations at war. She explores the lives of women who were affected by these horrendous events, as well as the stories of heroes and kings.

Natalie Haynes’ retelling places female voices front and center, from slave women to queens and even a few goddesses. A Thousand Ships was longlisted for The Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020 and selected as one of The Guardian’s “Best Books of 2019”. If you’re looking for historical fiction, this book is a must-read.

The Emperor’s Babe by Bernadine Evaristo

Best Historical fiction books set in Ancient Rome

Bernadine Evaristo, Booker Prize winner 2019, has a vast back catalog. This historical novel is a must for all history buffs. The Emperor’s Babe takes you to 2nd century Londinium, where you will meet Zuleika, a Nubian woman trying to survive in a Roman world. She is familiar with the city and its inhabitants, including slave girls, drag queens, villas, and slums. And she knows how to keep one step ahead. She attracts the attention of the Roman Emperor, who is the most powerful man on Earth, until that point.

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Set in the 19th century

This The Water Dancer historical novel is what Oprah Winfrey referred to as “One of my favorite books in my life.” Hiram Walker was born into slavery at a Virginia plantation. But one fateful choice will lead him out of his plantation family into the heart and soul of the underground war against slavery. Hiram Walker is a man who has a secret and a mysterious gift that he was born with.

The Water Dancer (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel
  • Hardcover Book
  • Coates, Ta-Nehisi (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 416 Pages - 09/24/2019...

The Most Precious of Cargoes by Jean-Claude Grumberg

This historical novel is told with fairytale lyricism and contrasts the horrors of the Holocaust. A poor woodcutter and his widow lived in a forest once upon a time. Despite poverty and war, their wife prays for a blessing with a child.

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

Elwood Curtis, a socially conscious and law-abiding teenager from 1960s Tallahassee, gets in the wrong vehicle on his first day at elective community college classes. He is then arrested for auto theft. He is sentenced to Nickel Academy enrollment, despite its solid reputation for cruelty, racism, and corruption. Curtis learns that even his best intentions and good behavior won’t suffice to keep him safe. His worldview changes, and survival becomes more of an option.

“Unlike many historical fiction novels or novels based on true events, Whitehead doesn’t spend hundreds of pages building up his setting or dumping information on the reader. He goes straight into the horrific depths of the story, constructing a novel that shows incredible restraint and nuance. It is the ending that elevated this book from being great to being absolutely stellar and incredibly poignant! I was truly surprised by the revelations in the end, which totally clarified how brilliant and important the non-linear structure is for the story.” —RodKelly

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert’s City of Girls transports the reader to 1940s New York City through Vivian Morris, a 93-year-old woman who reminisces about her time at the theater. The story features many memorable characters, including the eccentric aunt who moves in and owns her theater, the showgirl chorus, and the charming leading man. All of these elements come to an end when Vivian is swept up in a sexual scandal.

“I INHALED this book! It’s an absolutely gorgeous novel about a woman figuring her life out before, during, and after WW2. It manages to be a fun, fast read, while also grappling with big messy issues like shame, grief, and how we live with our choices and mistakes. Read it!” —Amy

City of Girls: A Novel
  • Gilbert, Elizabeth (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 496 Pages - 04/07/2020...

Conjure Women by Afia Atakora

Conjure Women begins at the Civil War’s beginning and jumps back and forth between periods to span multiple generations, telling the stories of three women: Miss May Belle, a healer, and midwife. Rue, her precocious and enslaved daughter, and Varina, the daughter of a plantation owner. It also explores the connections and secrets that unite them.

“Afia Atakora’s depiction of slavery and freedom in the era of the American Civil War is heartbreaking and incredibly raw. An immense amount of research has gone into writing earnestly about this painful period in history, and yet she is able to weave in a beautiful story of a mother-daughter relationship, womanhood, enslaved life on a plantation, the harrowing awakening that women have always been up for sale by even those who claim to love and protect them regardless of their proximity to wealth and status, and the bitter realization that came with abolition — that freedom did not equate to equality and respect.” —Biblio Bushra

The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd

In the first century, Ana, a curious and ambitious young woman from first-century Galilee, is raised by a wealthy family, but she defies all expectations. They eventually get married after Ana meets Jesus, an 18-year old boy. The story follows their lives together through the trials.

“I was completely blindsided by the elegance of this book — a story rich with courageous women who persevered through a time deeply rooted in masculinity. Amidst discrimination and subjugation, the protagonist battles a myriad of obstacles including love, personal expression, family, and loyalties. Again and again her displays of steadfastness and persistence are on full display. I would strongly suggest listening to this book if possible. The narrator’s voice is made for this story — strong but soothing at the same time.” —Aaron S.

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

Best Historical fiction books set in medieval England

Welcome to medieval England. A civil war has ravaged the country, and a monk is on a critical mission. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett is the story of Philip, a dedicated monk who teams up with Tom, a skilled builder, to embark on the most ambitious project they have ever attempted. Their journey in a turbulent world will not be easy.

The Pillars of the Earth (Kingsbridge)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Follett, Ken (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 992 Pages - 05/03/2016...

The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

The women left behind by the men of Vardo are almost all destroyed in a terrible storm. They must fend for their survival. As the women become more independent, rivalries and suspicions grow. This is when Absalom Cornet, the Scottish commissioner, arrives. The Mercies is based upon the true story of a terrible storm that struck Vardo, in 17th century Norway. It also includes the witch trials of 1621.

Name Of The Rose By Umberto Eco

Period and Placing: 1300s, Italy

Description: The year is 1327. Franciscans in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate. After seven bizarre deaths suddenly overshadow his delicate mission, Brother William turns soldier.

His instruments are the logic of Aristotle, the theology of Aquinas, the philosophical insights of Roger Bacon sharpened to a glistening border by wry comedy and a fierce fascination. He collects evidence, deciphers key symbols and coded manuscripts, and digs into the eerie labyrinth of this abbey, where “the fascinating things occur at night.”

Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders

This summer, the best historical novel by George Saunders’ highly acclaimed audiobook, narrated by 166 actors. Lincoln in the Bardo is a retelling about one of Lincoln’s lesser-known moments in history. This sweeping epic, inspired by Lincoln’s true story, tells the story of Lincoln’s father’s death.

Lincoln in the Bardo: A Novel
  • Saunders, George (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 368 Pages - 02/06/2018...

The Moor’s Account By Laila Lalami

Period and Placing: 1500s, Americas Description

Description: In these pages, Laila Lalami brings us the imagined memoirs of this initial black explorer of America: Mustafa al-Zamori, known as Estebanico. The servant of a Spanish conquistador, Estebanico, sails to the Americas, and his master, Dorantes, also as a member of a danger-laden trip to Florida. Within a calendar year, Estebanico is among just four team members to live.

As he travels across America and his Spanish companions, the Old World functions of servant and master fall off, and Estebanico remakes himself as an equivalent, a healer, and a remarkable storyteller. His narrative illuminates how our narratives could transmigrate into the background and how storytelling may provide a chance at salvation and survival.

Pope Joan, by Donna Woolfolk Cross

Another novel that reveals a secret about history. It is based on a woman who disguised herself as a man, rose to the top, and became Pope. Dramatically, the dark ages are brought to life. The hidden story of a woman who assumes her brother’s identity and ascends to the highest throne is also told.

My Brilliant Friend By Elena Ferrante

Period and Placing: 1950s, Italy

Description: Beginning in the 1950s in a week but lively neighborhood on the outskirts of Naples, Ferrante’s four-volume narrative spans nearly forty decades because its protagonists, the fiery and memorable Lila, along with the bookish narrator, Elena, become girls, wives, moms, along with leaders, all of them while keeping up a complicated and occasionally conflictual friendship.

Book one in the show follows Lila and Elena in their first fateful meeting as ten-year-olds during their college years and adolescence.

Throughout both of these girls’ lives, Ferrante tells the story of a neighborhood, a town, and a nation because it is changed in a sense that, subsequently, also changes the association between her protagonists.

My Brilliant Friend: A Novel (Neapolitan Novels,...
7,370 Reviews
My Brilliant Friend: A Novel (Neapolitan Novels,...
  • Europa Editions
  • Ferrante, Elena (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 331 Pages - 09/25/2012...

Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon

Would you stop the most horrific human history? Claire is forced to ask herself this question when she finds herself transported back in time from World War II to the 17th century in Scotland description. This was just before the Jacobite Rebellion, which failed and led to the devastation of Highland culture. Claire survived one war that she couldn’t change. When she falls in love with Jamie Fraser, she realizes that she is willing to do whatever it takes–even risk her past and the man she loved–to make the world better.

Things Fall Apart By Chinua Achebe

Time Period and Setting: 19th century, Nigeria

Things Fall Apart is a permanent memorial to the African experience, with more than 20,000,000 copies sold. It has been translated into fifty-seven languages. Achebe captures life in a pre-colonial African village, and he also conveys the tragedy of this loss while expanding our understanding of contemporary reality. Things Fall Apart tells the story of Okonkwo, an Igbo wrestler. It explores the pre-colonial Nigerian experience and the harsh first effects of British rule.

The Mountains Sing by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai

Trần Diệu Lan, her six-year-old daughter, is forced to leave her family farm with her six children in Vietnam as the communist government rises. Her granddaughter, now living in Hanoi, is forced to watch her uncles and parents leave for a conflict threatening her family’s life.

“When I read this book, I was right away transported to the dense highlands and the lush tropical lowlands of Vietnam. Nguyễn’s writing enveloped me into the lives of characters who have experienced harrowing struggles — as well as survived triumphantly against all odds. This is an engrossing story told in the eyes of two generations of a family who have lived through horrific cruelty and hate brought upon by war. Inspired by real-life events, Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai told a very engaging narrative in her debut novel that I more than highly recommend.” —Nursebookie

The Mountains Sing
  • Hardcover Book
  • Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai...
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 352 Pages - 03/17/2020...

Yours Cheerfully by AJ Pearce

Emmy is delighted to ask the Ministry of Information to recruit women workers for the war effort. Emmy is faced with a dilemma when she and Bunty meet a young woman who reveals the real struggles of women war workers. Emmy must choose between her duty and her friendship.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

The Underground Railroad might be called the book that changed 2016. It was a cerebral, sardonic alternate historical with an emphasis on “history” and won the entire slate of literary prizes, including the National Book Award and the Pulitzer. Colson Whitehead, a celebrated Black author, is known for his irony-laced prose. He tackles slavery using his trademark ingenuity, humor, and wit. It is a profoundly moving but unsentimental view of a brutal and far-reaching institution.

The Red Tent By Anita Diamant

Anita Diamant tells Dinah’s story in Dinah’s voice. She imagines the turmoils and traditions of ancient womanhood, the world of the red tent. It starts with the story about the four wives of Jacob-Leah (Zilpah), Rachel, and Bilhah. They love Dinah, giving her gifts that will sustain her through childhood, a call to midwifery, and a new place in a foreign land. The story of Dinah is rooted in a fascinating period of early days, and it creates an intimate connection to the past.

The Red Tent is deeply affecting and combines rich storytelling with significant achievement in modern fiction: A new view on biblical women’s lives.

The Red Tent
5,870 Reviews
The Red Tent
  • Picador USA
  • Diamant, Anita (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 352 Pages - 08/21/2007...

I, Claudius by Robert Graves

Most people think of Nero or Augustus when they hear about Roman emperors. Few remember Claudius. If you’re familiar with Roman history, Claudius is a weak and stuttering historian who would be a good candidate for the post of Emperor. In the novel I, Claudius argues that his subdued existence was the driving force behind his ascension.

This fictionalized autobiography, Claudius’s first work of historical fiction, offers Claudius’s account of his family and the political intrigues that occur within it. Claudius, the disdainful scholar, takes you inside his mind to see the heart of elite life in Rome through detailed observations that are recited in a highly orderly manner.

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities, Dickens’s literary periodical published chapters by chapter, was set during the French Revolution. It tells Lucie Manette’s life story, including her revolutionary father, Charles Darnay (her exiled aristocratic suitor), and Sydney Carton (a brilliant but failing English lawyer).

The Twelve Rooms of the Nile by Enid Shomer

She created a new discipline in medicine that has changed the face of medicine. One of the greatest novels in history was written by him. The Fates have brought them together at the same time. Although it sounds like a romantic, kooky love story between two fictional characters, this describes two historical icons: Florence Nightingale (the mother of modern nursing) and Gustave Flaubert (the author of Madame Bovary). Both were sailing up the Nile for a time in 1850.

The Twelve Rooms of the Nile
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Shomer, Enid (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 480 Pages - 08/20/2013...

City of Vengeance by D. V. Bishop

Cesare Aldo is an officer of the criminal court assigned to solve the murder of a prominent Jewish moneylender who is found dead. Aldo discovers that Alessandro de Medici, the instability ruler of Florence, is being plotted against him during his investigation. Aldo is in a race against the clock to solve the murder and stop the conspiracy while keeping his secrets safe. D. V. Bishop’s historical crime thriller is an impressive debut.

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

Delia Owens, author and Where the Crawdads Sing, described this historical fiction novel by Kristin Hannah as ‘powerful, compelling, and compelling.’ Elsa Martinelli finally has what she hoped for: a family, a home, and a livelihood on a farm in the Great Plains. Elsa must decide whether to stay to defend the land and her community or move to California to find a better life.

How Much of These Hills Is Gold by C Pam Zhang

When their father passes away in the middle of the night, the Gold Rush-era American West sees siblings Lucy and Sam, the children of Chinese immigrants, become orphaned. They realize there is no one to protect them in the dangerous mining town, so they set out to find a suitable burial site.

How Much of These Hills Is Gold: A Novel
  • Hardcover Book
  • Zhang, C Pam (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 288 Pages - 04/07/2020...

The Muse by Jessie Burton

The Muse by Jessie Burton takes readers through 1967 London and 1936 Spain. This painting tells a story about the connection between these two periods. To understand Odelle’s 1960s present, she must look back at the masterpiece and the family that owned it for thirty years.

The Twentieth Wife By Indu Sundaresan

This debut novel is an enchanting historical epic full of passion and adventure. It tells the story of one of India’s most controversial empresses, a woman whose brilliance, determination, and love overcame many obstacles and shaped the course and history of the Mughal Empire.

The Twentieth Wife seamlessly blends the textures of historical reality and the rich and sensual imaginations of a timeless fairytale. It takes readers on a journey through Mehrunnisa’s love affair with Prince Salim and the unique destiny of a woman who was a legend in her time and is now lost in history.

The Twentieth Wife: A Novel
  • Washington Square Press
  • Sundaresan, Indu (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 416 Pages - 02/18/2003...

Sophie’s Choice by William Styron

William Styron’s witty thought-provoking novel “Sophie’s Choice” is now a household name. It denotes an impossible decision in which every outcome can be disastrous. Sophie’s Choice tells the story of Sophie, a Polish-Catholic concentration camp survivor who was forced to choose which of her children she wanted to keep from the gas chambers.

Snow Flower And The Secret Fan By Lisa See

Nineteenth-century China was a time when daughters and wives were kept in complete isolation and foot-bound. In this remote Hunan county, women created their secret code of communication, nu shu (“women’s writing”). In emotional matches that lasted their entire lives, some girls were paired with “old ones,” or laotongs. They wrote letters on fans and embroidered messages on handkerchiefs.

Their friendship is sealed when a silk fan arrives, on which Snow Flower has written a poem in nu shu for Lily. Through famine, rebellion and years, they look back at their arranged marriages, the loneliness, and the joys as well as the tragedies of motherhood. They find comfort in each other and form a bond that keeps them both alive. A misunderstanding threatens their lifelong friendship.

The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate

A first-year teacher in small-town Louisiana in 1987 finds she is unable to engage her students. She finds one book that tells the story of three young women, Hannie, Lavinia, and Juneau Jane, a Creole half-sister. They are trying to find their families after the Civil War 100 years ago.

“Slow to start, this book packed a powerful punch. Wingate did a great job building her plot and joining the two-story lines. I found this book to be captivating, thought-provoking and emotionally moving. I love books that not only teach me something but affect me emotionally as well.” —Debra

The Book of Lost Friends: A Novel
  • Wingate, Lisa (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 416 Pages - 06/29/2021...

Arthur and George by Julian Barnes

Arthur, the titular Arthur, is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes. George, however, is George Edalji. He is a half-Indian lawyer who was falsely imprisoned in a case he didn’t commit. They were close friends as children, but they lost touch as adults. George now faces carceral injustice. Arthur is there to help him in his hour of need. A skilled detective storyteller, Arthur tries to locate the real culprit and get his friend out of jail.

The White Queen, by Philippa Gregory

Elizabeth of York marries Edward of Lancaster. This ends a family battle. But it also starts another as the Tudors plot to take her husband off the throne. This is a beautiful romance with well-researched history, although it may be slightly embellished.

Sacred Wilderness By Susan Power

Sacred Wilderness is a story about four women from different eras and backgrounds who work together to rebuild the foundation for a mixed-up woman of mixed blood. This woman had lived the American dream and was left feeling empty.

Sacred Wilderness
  • Power, Susan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 268 Pages - 02/01/2014...

Leviathan, by Scott Westerfeld

Steampunk historical steampunk novel about the eve World War I, where the German Clankers fight against the English Darwinists. There is one big season between them: The Leviathan whaleship. The world’s course is changed when two fighters on the opposite side of the war meet on the Leviathan.

The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich

Louise Erdrich, a Chippewa novelist, based The Night Watchman upon the story of her grandfather. He fought against the US government’s attempts to seize Native land during the 1950s. Erdrich’s imagination transforms this real-life activist into Thomas Wazhashk (a Chippewa Council member), who works as a night watchman in a factory near North Dakota’s Turtle Mountain Reservation.

Atonement by Ian McEwan

You may already be familiar with the story of Atonement. It stars Briony Tallis as a budding writer who misunderstands her sister Cecilia and Robbie’s relationship with their housekeeper. Robbie was the victim of her innocent mistake, and she made unfounded accusations. The sisters ended up being estranged. Robbie is sent to France in World War II, and Briony is left with her guilt. She’s now matured and has learned to accept the consequences of her actions. There’s no way for her to make amends.

Abundance by Sena Jeter Naslund

Let’s be clear: She probably didn’t tell the revolutionaries to eat cake. Marie Antoinette is infamous for her lousy reputation since 1793 when she was subject to revolutionaries and sentenced to death at the guillotine. With her wigs that skimmed the chandeliers and her panniers that stretched from wall to wall, the silly queen was considered the worst of the ancien régime.

Abundance: A Novel of Marie Antoinette
  • FICTION Historical
  • Abundance: A Novel of Marie...
  • Marie Antoinette
  • Ahab's Wife
  • Louis XVI, King of France

Other historical fiction books considered:

  • Alex and Eliza, by Melissa De la Cruz
  • Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  • Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
  • The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

Watch more about Why Reading Fiction Is Way Better Than Non-Fiction?

Read more:

Last update on 2022-01-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *