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Historical fiction

These books take you to bygone eras.

Historical fiction overview

A historical novel is set more than fifty years in the past, and based on research rather than personal experience (so an autobiographical novel set during the author's childhood isn't considered historical fiction). These novels usually draw heavily on historical detail; plot and characterization emphasize and reflect the time period, and famous historical figures often appear as well.

Staff picks

Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
How Much of These Hills is Golds by C. Pam Zhang
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
Curiosity by Joan Thomas
The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates
The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel
Hild by Nicola Griffith

The gilded age

The English Wife by Lauren Willig
Our Kind of People by Carol Wallace
The Gilded Years by Karin Tanabe
The American heiress by Daisy Goodwin
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
The Social Graces by Renée Rosen

Books to movies/tv

The Duke and I by Julia Quinn
The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt
The Dig by John Preston
Silence by Shusaku Endo
News of the World by Paulette Jiles
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Schindler's List by Thomas Kenneally
The Book of Negroes by Lawrence HIll
Sharpe's Eagle by Bernard Cornwell

War fiction

The Daughters of Mars by Thomas Keneally
The Absolutist by John Boyne
The Tubman Command by Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman
The Regeneration Trilogy by Pat Barker
Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
The Water Beetles by Michael Kaan
Andersonville by MacKinlay Kantor
At Night All Blood is Black by David Diop

The ancient world

Ariadne by Jennifer Saint
Daughter of Black Lake by Cathy Buchanan
Under the Eagle by Simon Scarrow
A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes
Roma by Steven Saylor
Daughters of Sparta by Claire Heywood
Electra by Kerry Greenwood
The King Must Die by Mary Renault
The Virgin's Tale by Sherri Smith

New to historical fiction? Try one of these books: