Must Read Historical Fiction Books – Who Said History Has To Be Boring?
Let me put this out there, some people think that historical fiction books are boring, but that just isn’t the case. Ultimately, historical fiction serves as a dynamic and impactful genre that seamlessly melds the educational with the entertaining, leaving a lasting impression on readers. So, next time you come across a historical fiction book, do not dismiss it as mere drudgery. Instead, allow yourself to be transported to a different era, where the past comes alive, and history becomes a gateway to both knowledge and enjoyment.
There are plenty of historical fiction books out there that are captivating, entertaining, and full of heart wrenching emotion. A good historical fiction book should transport the reader back in time, having an accurate depiction of the period it represents. Feel the fear, joy, sadness, and ah yes, even the tingles when the characters fall in love. So, take the journey back to another era by grabbing one these must-read historical fiction books. Live another life, in another place, in another time, and maybe learn something new in the process.
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In love we find out who we want to be. In war we find out who we are.
In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says good-bye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France…but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne’s home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.
Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gaëtan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can…completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.
She was the most magnificent ship ever built, yet on the eve of 14th April the Titanic sank in the North Atlantic, leaving the lucky ones floating in wooden rowing boats, and the rest struggling for their lives in the icy water.
The sinking of the Titanic not only steals lives but blows apart the futures of those who survive: Reg, a handsome young steward who works in the first class dining room: Annie, a gifted Irishwoman who is travelling to America with her four children: Juliette, a titled English lady who is pregnant and unmarried: American millionaire George Grayling and his wife Margaret who are trapped in a poisoned marriage; and a mystery passenger who never shows her face in public.
As each of them tries to come to terms with the aftershock of the fateful might, they must begin to rebuild their lives. But how can life ever be the same again when you’ve heard thousands of people dying in the water around you?
A young Puritan woman–faithful, resourceful, but afraid of the demons that dog her soul–plots her escape from a violent marriage.
Boston, 1662. Mary Deerfield is twenty-four years old. Her skin is porcelain, her eyes delft blue, and in England she might have had many suitors. But here in the New World, amid this community of saints, Mary is the second wife of Thomas Deerfield, a man as cruel as he is powerful.
When Thomas, prone to drunken rage, drives a three-tined fork into the back of Mary’s hand, she resolves that she must divorce him to save her life. But in a world where every neighbor is watching for signs of the devil, a woman like Mary, who harbors secret desires and finds it difficult to tolerate the brazen hypocrisy of so many men in the colony–soon finds herself the object of suspicion and rumor. When tainted objects are discovered buried in Mary’s garden, when a boy she has treated with herbs and simples dies, and when their servant girl runs screaming in fright from her home, Mary must fight to not only escape her marriage, but also the gallows.
A twisting, tightly plotted thriller from one of our greatest storytellers, Hour of the Witch is a timely and terrifying novel of socially sanctioned brutality and the original American witch hunt.
It is 1960. When Jennifer Stirling wakes up in the hospital, she can remember nothing-not the tragic car accident that put her there, not her husband, not even who she is. She feels like a stranger in her own life until she stumbles upon an impassioned letter, signed simply “B”, asking her to leave her husband.
Years later, in 2003, a journalist named Ellie discovers the same enigmatic letter in a forgotten file in her newspaper’s archives. She becomes obsessed by the story and hopeful that it can resurrect her faltering career. Perhaps if these lovers had a happy ending she will find one to her own complicated love life, too. Ellie’s search will rewrite history and help her see the truth about her own modern romance.
A story of three young women on a journey in search of family amidst the destruction of the post-Civil War South, and of a modern-day teacher who rediscovers their story and its connection to her own students’ lives.
Louisiana, 1875 In the tumultuous aftermath of Reconstruction, three young women set off as unwilling companions on a perilous quest: Lavinia, the pampered heir to a now-destitute plantation; Juneau Jane, her illegitimate free-born Creole half-sister; and Hannie, Lavinia’s former slave. Each carries private wounds and powerful secrets as they head for Texas, following dangerous roads rife with ruthless vigilantes and soldiers still fighting a war lost a decade before. For Lavinia and Juneau Jane, the journey is one of inheritance and financial desperation, but for Hannie, torn from her mother and eight siblings before slavery’s end, the pilgrimage westward reignites an agonizing question: Could her long-lost family still be out there? Beyond the swamps lie the seemingly limitless frontiers of Texas and, improbably, hope.
Louisiana, 1987 For first-year teacher Benedetta Silva, a subsidized job at a poor rural school seems like the ticket to canceling her hefty student debt–until she lands in a tiny, out-of-step Mississippi River town. Augustine, Louisiana, seems suspicious of new ideas and new people, and Benny can scarcely comprehend the lives of her poverty-stricken students. But amid the gnarled oaks and run-down plantation homes lies the century-old history of three young women, a long-ago journey, and a hidden book that could change everything.
In 1925, Miss Nan O’Dea infiltrated the wealthy, rarefied world of author Agatha Christie and her husband, Archie. In every way, she became a part of their life––first, both Christies. Then, just Archie. Soon, Nan became Archie’s mistress, luring him away from his devoted wife, desperate to marry him. Nan’s plot didn’t begin the day she met Archie and Agatha.
It began decades before, in Ireland, when Nan was a young girl. She and the man she loved were a star-crossed couple who were destined to be together––until the Great War, a pandemic, and shameful secrets tore them apart. Then acts of unspeakable cruelty kept them separated.
What drives someone to murder? What will someone do in the name of love? What kind of crime can someone never forgive? Nina de Gramont’s brilliant, unforgettable novel explores these questions and more.
Sixteen-year-old Kitty Gentry and her family came toFort Boonesborough to farm the rich land. But when fierce Shawnee attacked the white settlers, the horrified young Kitty was forced to seek refuge within the walls of the fort. There her real life as a founding mother of Kentucky began — a life in which she would survive tragedy and hearth-wrenching grief and find the all-encompassing passion of great love as the burgeoning territory became a state . . .
In Fall 1804, a shipwreck shatters the plans of newlyweds Georgina and Jeffrey Chadwick and deposits them on the shores of Cape Breton with a dead body.
Georgina and Jeffrey Chadwick, head to Boston to start a new life. But travel in 1804 is perilous and the ship on which the Chadwicks are travelling is veered off course in a fierce storm that deposits them on Cape Breton. Among the flotsam left on the beach by the storm, are several dead bodies, one full of knife wounds.
Chadwick had not envisioned spending his first winter with his bride sharing a one room cabin with a box bed, an open fireplace and an outdoor privy. Nor had he imagined himself leading an investigation into a murder. As a former military officer once tasked with spying on Napoleon, he has some investigative skills. But are they enough to find the murderer before he strikes again?
Cape Breton in the fall of 1804, is a colonial frontier lashed by brutal winters. Before Dublin society turned on her, Georgina’s skills included how to dress fashionably and supervise a political dinner for twenty of her father’s cronies, neither of which can help her now. Can she learn enough basic survival skills to help her husband survive the winter, when all she really wants to do is help with the investigation?
Georgina and Jeffrey’s plans have taken a hard left into chaos. Instead of the city they expected, they are in the wilderness of Nova Scotia, instead of preparing for the winter, they are charged with a murder investigation and then there are the orphans. Surely the winter can’t be that long!
This is the story of the making of England in the 9th and 10th centuries, the years in which King Alfred the Great, his son and grandson defeated the Danish Vikings who had invaded and occupied three of England’s four kingdoms.
The story is seen through the eyes of Uhtred, a dispossessed nobleman, who is captured as a child by the Danes and then raised by them so that, by the time the Northmen begin their assault on Wessex (Alfred’s kingdom and the last territory in English hands) Uhtred almost thinks of himself as a Dane. He certainly has no love for Alfred, whom he considers a pious weakling and no match for Viking savagery, yet when Alfred unexpectedly defeats the Danes and the Danes themselves turn on Uhtred, he is finally forced to choose sides. By now he is a young man, in love, trained to fight and ready to take his place in the dreaded shield wall. Above all, though, he wishes to recover his father’s land, the enchanting fort of Bebbanburg by the wild northern sea.
This thrilling adventure—based on existing records of Bernard Cornwell’s ancestors—depicts a time when law and order were ripped violently apart by a pagan assault on Christian England, an assault that came very close to destroying England.
When a white servant girl violates the order of plantation society, she unleashes a tragedy that exposes the worst and best in the people she has come to call her family. Orphaned while onboard ship from Ireland, seven-year-old Lavinia arrives on the steps of a tobacco plantation where she is to live and work with the slaves of the kitchen house. Under the care of Belle, the master’s illegitimate daughter, Lavinia becomes deeply bonded to her adopted family, though she is set apart from them by her white skin.
Eventually, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, where the master is absent and the mistress battles opium addiction. Lavinia finds herself perilously straddling two very different worlds. When she is forced to make a choice, loyalties are brought into question, dangerous truths are laid bare, and lives are put at risk.
Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.
Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.
As the stories build to a riveting climax, Handful will endure loss and sorrow, finding courage and a sense of self in the process. Sarah will experience crushed hopes, betrayal, unrequited love, and ostracism before leaving Charleston to find her place alongside her fearless younger sister, Angelina, as one of the early pioneers in the abolition and women’s rights movements.
Inspired by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke, Kidd goes beyond the record to flesh out the rich interior lives of all of her characters, both real and invented, including Handful’s cunning mother, Charlotte, who courts danger in her search for something better.
“Anyone will tell you the born of this world are marked from the get-out, win or lose.”
Set in the mountains of southern Appalachia. This is the story of a boy born to a teenaged single mother in a single-wide trailer, with no assets beyond his dead father’s good looks and copper-colored hair, a caustic wit, and a fierce talent for survival. In a plot that never pauses for breath, relayed in his own unsparing voice, he braves the modern perils of foster care, child labor, derelict schools, athletic success, addiction, disastrous loves, and crushing losses. Through all of it, he reckons with his own invisibility in a popular culture. Where even the superheroes have abandoned rural people in favor of cities.
Demon Copperheadspeaks for a new generation of lost boys, and all those born into beautiful, cursed places they can’t imagine leaving behind.