Great Historical Fiction Novels

Great Historical Fiction Novels

Whether you are a fan of historical fiction, or you want to broaden your horizons and start reading historical fiction, here is a list of the top historical fiction novels set in a different era! Get ready to add these books to your Amazon wish list!

 The Uncharted Flight Of Olivia West by Sara Ackerman

In late 2023 I was delighted to do a Q&A with USA Today Bestselling Author Sara Ackerman and in early February of this year, I did a Behind The Book discussing her latest release The Uncharted Flight Of Olivia West. The book has a dual timeline going from 1927 with Olivia West’s story as a female aviator who dreams of becoming a pilot & decades later in 1987 with Wren uncovering Olivia’s story. I like that this historical fiction novel gives the message that if you want something bad enough, you will not let anything deter you.  For a little more information about this book without delving too much into spoilers here is the link to my Behind The Book with Sara Ackerman

 A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles

While A Gentleman In Moscow came out in 2016, I didn’t read it till 2021. So many books so little time it seems. In the few years after the overthrow of the Romanov Royal family, after returning to Russia, Count Alexander Rostov is immediately arrested. His crime? Being born in the noble class. The Bolsheviks sentence him to spend his life sentence in the real life Metropol Hotel but they warn him, once he steps outside that hotel he will be executed. The book transports you to a different time and you see the Count make friendships from all walks of life and he falls in love and doesn’t let his present circumstances get to him. Amor Towles is a master at his craft and knows how to create great characters and to make history come to life. My favorite quote is something I will always remember and apply to my own life If a man does not master his circumstances, then he is bound to be mastered by them. The quote reminds us that while life knocks us down, we can either stay down or we can get back up.

The Roaring Days Of Zora Lily by Noelle Salazar

The Roaring Days Of Zora Lily starts off in 2023 where costume conservator Sylvia finds a dress worn by Greta Garbo and behind the tag of a popular designer a tag that has the name Zora Lily is on it. Who is Zora Lily? Most of the novel takes us back to the roaring twenties and Zora Lily wants more than to just be a seamstress working besides her mother. Zora wants to design her own clothes and own a boutique. I like the fact that this book gives the important lesson about not letting any challenges stop your dreams. Here is the Q&A I did with Noelle last year.

 The Romanov Empress by C.W. Gortner

The Romanov Empress by C.W. Gortner I read in 2020 during the covid outbreak. The novel is about Princess Dagmar (nicknamed Minnie) who is also known as Empress Marie Feodorovna of Russia. Empress Marie was the mother of Czar Nicholas of Russia and the grandmother of The Grand Duchess Anastasia. We read about her childhood in Denmark, her life in Russia as Empress and how she wasn’t an out of touch royal and she helped the peasant class and worked for the Red Cross. I like that it’s from her point of view. When it touched on how Marie & Alexandra, Nicholas’s wife did not get along, I liked the fact that it portrayed Alexandra as not being innocent in their feud either. I’m not saying Minnie didn’t have her faults, but nonfiction and historical fiction books always portray Alexandra as the victim of her rude mother-in-law when it wasn’t the case. If you know history, then you know this is going to be a sad ending and not the fairytale ending we saw in the 1997 cartoon. For all of us who grew up watching Anastasia in 1997, yes, she & her grandmother were real people.  

 Captive Queen by Alison Weir

Captive Queen by Alison Weir is about Eleanor of Aquitaine who was duchess of Aquitaine, first Queen of France & then after annulling her marriage from Louis, Queen of England after marrying Henry II. Eleanor was the mother of two famous kings, King Richard the Lionheart, & King John who was forced to sign the Magna Carta. The book starts when Eleanor was thirty. She is ready for her marriage to Louis to be over its past the point of no return. The two were married young as often royal marriages are with little to no say at all. Louis was more suited to the role of a monk or a priest while Eleanor was more worldly and dreamt of having a gallant masculine knight for her husband, something Louis was not.  I like that we read the book from her and Henry II’s point of view. Alison Weir does excellent research for her historical fiction and nonfiction. I chose to cover this book because its not the umpteenth novel about the Tudors and I wanted to discuss a Queen not many people would know about. Here is a Q&A I did with Alison last year

 Picture In The Sand by Peter Blauner

Picture In The Sand by Peter Blauner is a dual time line historical fiction novel. Alex Hassan has been accepted in an Ivy League University and his Egyptian American family couldn’t have been prouder. That happiness and pride diminish when Alex tells his family he is off to join a Holy War. Ali Hassan, Alex’s grandfather, tells Alex if Alex keeps emailing him and keeping him in touch, Ali will tell Alex his manuscript with his life story that he’s never shared with anyone until now. Ali’s story begins in 1950s post-revolutionary Egypt and Ali gets the chance of a lifetime to work with Cecil B. DeMille who directed the movie The Ten Commandments. Unfortunately, Ali gets tied up into politics, espionage, & real-life events that change history. Can Ali convince his grandson Alex not to make the same mistakes he did so many years ago? Peter Blauner is great at making a story come to life and I can see myself in Egypt of that time. Ali Hassan is a character you route for and you see him mature as a man and as a grandfather he never gives up on his grandson. Here is a Q&A I did with Peter and I can’t wait to post the Behind The Book on this

Can’t We Be Friends by Denny S Bryce & Eliza Knight

Can’t We Be Friends by Denny S Bryce & Eliza Knight is about the friendship between Ella Fitzgerald & Marilyn Monroe. On the surface many would wonder what they’d have in common? Quite a bit actually! Both were underestimated by the men in their lives, whether they were husbands, managers, & hanger on’s and were determined to gain professional and personal independence. I like that Ella’s point of view is in the first person and she’s telling you the story from her point of view. I liked reading Marilyn’s point of view even though its sad. You, like Ella wanted to help Marilyn but we as the reader know we can’t because of what happened. If you are into books about old Hollywood you will enjoy this one. Here is the Behind the Book I did with them

Lady Tan’s Circle Of Women by Lisa See

Lady Tan’s Circle Of Women by Lisa See is a historical fiction novel about one of the very few female Chinese doctors Tan Yunxian. Yunxian’s grandmother, also a doctor taught Yunxian everything she knows about the pillars of Chinese medicine & The Four Examinations Looking, Listening, Touching & Asking. Unfortunately, when Yunxian marries, her mother-in-law forbids her from seeing her friend Meiling since she’s from a different class & from practicing her medicine. For Yunxian it is difficult for her to balance being a proper Chinese wife and being a doctor. Keep in mind, there are descriptions of foot binding and there’s a gory scene while Meiling & Yunxian were helping the Empress deliver her baby. Keep that in mind before picking up the book but understand this is history that cannot be changed no matter how much we dislike it. Here is the Q&A I did with Lisa discussing this book and other topics