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Best Historical Fiction Books To Read

Historical Fiction is enjoying a resurgence in popularity.

From the stacked bookshelves to authors that discuss history, it is easy to find historical fiction books. There is alot of choice! So much, that it is overwhelming.

In this blog post, I will discuss historical fiction books you should read. Some of them are classics, whilst others are lesser known. Either way, I’m sure you will find a book to read!

Note: this post contains affiliate links.

Possession by A.S Byatt

Both a literary detective novel and a heartfelt love story, Possession is a wonder of historical fiction. Byatt’s often-celebrated novel is drenched with meaning and rich characterisation. As the two young scholars investigate a pair of Victorian poets, they discover new information about themselves.

Byatt is an imaginative writer who transports the reader into a seductive world. Her attention to detail is spellbinding, and her use of the English language is immaculate.

Read it. It’s a long book, but Possession is worth the time investment.

Buy Possession

The Narrow Road To The Deep North by Richard Flanagan

An Australian literary heavyweight like no other, Richard Flanagan portrays the horrors of history in a mature way.

This historical drama, which won the Man Booker Prize, tells the story of Dorrigo Evans. A surgeon who is haunted by war and a past relationship, Flanagan contrasts love and war.

It’s a brutal and unforgiving novel, but also a highlight of modern historical fiction.

Buy The Narrow Road to the Deep North

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

Taking place in the dusty pages of history, The Alice Network tells the story of two women from different times. Whether we are in 1915 or 1937, The Alice Network is a read that manages to both heartbreaking and funny.

Kate Quinn is well known in the historical fiction genre, and chances are, you have seen one of her books at a local store. I suggest checking her out, and discovering for yourself why her books sell so well!

Buy The Alice Network

Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

A work of historical fiction like no other, Cold Mountain won the U.S National Book Award For Fiction. And for a good reason- Frazier captivates the reader with his lucid prose and gorgeous imagery.

Like Possession, Cold Mountain can seem overlong and daunting in its scope. However, that shouldn’t put you off. Cold Mountain is a delight that reminds us of the causes we fight for.

Buy Cold Mountain

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

Set in the middle of the 12th century, The Pillars of the Earth is the first in Follett’s ‘Kingsbridge‘ Series. As we journey through medieval castles and historical cathedrals, Follett’s enthusiasm for his subject matter gives his story life.

With gripping characters and some historical inaccuracies, The Pillars of the Earth shows us the treasures of the past and the present.

Buy The Pillars of the Earth

The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littel

Notorious and controversial, The Kindly Ones goes into territory that other novels would not. Narrated by the fictional Maximilien Aue, a former SS officer, The Kindly Ones blends history with horror.

What also makes The Kindly Ones interesting is that it features real historical figures. For one, Heinrich Himmler is in it, as are other high ranking Nazis such as Adolf Hitler and Reinhard Heydrich.

After all, Littel spent well over five years researching this novel. It’s not an easy read, but it is fascinating and offers insight into a distorted mind.

Buy The Kindly Ones

That brings the list to a close! What historical fiction books do you recommend? Comment below!

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