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Updated by Stephen Cunningham on Sep 27, 2023
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Best Historical Fiction Books to Read

Here is our recommendations for the best Historical Fiction books to read. Add your favorites to the list and vote for the ones you like

Source: https://quizlit.org/15-best-historical-fiction-books

9

My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk

My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk

Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk’s My Name Is Red, set amid the artistic splendor and religious intrigue of sixteenth-century Istanbul, is a fantastical story of love and murder propelled by the philosophical puzzle at its core.
https://quizlit.org/15-best-historical-fiction-books#my-name-is-red-by-orhan-pamuk

1

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

The Poisonwood Bible is narrated by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959. They carry with them all they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it―from garden seeds to Scripture―is calamitously transformed on African soil.
https://quizlit.org/15-best-historical-fiction-books#the-poisonwood-bible-by-barbara-kingsolver

5

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Half of a Yellow Sun recreates a seminal moment in modern African history: Biafra’s impassioned struggle to establish an independent republic in Nigeria and the chilling violence that followed.
https://quizlit.org/15-best-historical-fiction-books#half-of-a-yellow-sun-by-chimamanda-ngozi-adichie

7

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

Atwood based Alias Grace on a true story. The celebrated murderess, young Grace Marks, was a real person in Canada in 1843. She was arrested, along with a man named James McDermott, accused of murdering their employer, Thomas Kinnear, and his pregnant housekeeper-mistress Nancy Montgomery.
https://quizlit.org/15-best-historical-fiction-books#alias-grace-by-margaret-atwood

10

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Ghana, eighteenth century: two half sisters are born into different villages, each unaware of the other. One will marry an Englishman and lead a life of comfort in the palatial rooms of the Cape Coast Castle. The other will be captured in a raid on her village, imprisoned in the very same castle, and sold into slavery.
https://quizlit.org/15-best-historical-fiction-books#homegoing-by-yaa-gyasi

15 Best Historical Fiction Books - Quizlit

Historical Fiction is a story that takes readers to a time and place in the past. Enjoy our reading list for the 15 Best Historical Fiction Books

3

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

By her brother’s graveside, nine year old Liesel’s life is changed forever when she picks up a single object, abandoned in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, and this is her first act of book thievery.
In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.
https://quizlit.org/15-best-historical-fiction-books#the-book-thief-by-markus-zusak

4

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Pachinko follows one Korean family through the generations, beginning in early 1900s Korea with Sunja, the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them all. Deserted by her lover, Sunja is saved when a young tubercular minister offers to marry and bring her to Japan.
https://quizlit.org/15-best-historical-fiction-books#pachinko-by-min-jin-lee

6

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

When Elwood Curtis, a black boy growing up in 1960s Tallahassee, is unfairly sentenced to a juvenile reformatory called the Nickel Academy, he finds himself trapped in a grotesque chamber of horrors. Elwood’s only salvation is his friendship with Turner, which deepens despite Turner’s conviction that Elwood is hopelessly naive, that the world is crooked, and that the only way to survive is to scheme and avoid trouble.
https://quizlit.org/15-best-historical-fiction-books#the-nickel-boys-by-colson-whitehead

8

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje

Michael Ondaatje’s novel traces the intersection of four damaged lives in an Italian villa at the end of World War II.
The English Patient

11

The View from Castle Rock by Alice Munro

The View from Castle Rock by Alice Munro

Alice Munro has created stories based on her own past as well as by elaborating on the traces—letters, records, tombstones—left behind by her ancestors from Scotland who sailed for Canada in 1818.
https://quizlit.org/15-best-historical-fiction-books#the-view-from-castle-rock-by-alice-munro

12

Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities is a historical fiction novel that follows Manette, a French doctor imprisoned for 18 long years in Paris’s Bastille. Following his release, he goes to live in London with his daughter Lucie, who had never met him and believed him to be dead.
https://quizlit.org/15-best-historical-fiction-books#tale-of-two-cities-by-charles-dickens

13

Thebes at War by Naguib Mahfouz

Thebes at War by Naguib Mahfouz

After 200 years of occupation, the Hyksos leader in his capital in northern Egypt tells Pharaoh in the south that the roaring of the sacred hippopotami at Thebes is keeping him awake at night and demands that they be killed, galvanizing Egypt into hurling its armies into a struggle to drive the barbarians from its sacred soil forever.
https://quizlit.org/15-best-historical-fiction-books#thebes-at-war-by-naguib-mahfouz

14

Atonement by Ian McEwan

Atonement by Ian McEwan

On the hottest day of the summer of 1935, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis sees her sister Cecilia strip off her clothes and plunge into the fountain in the garden of their country house.
Watching her too is Robbie Turner who has recently come down from Cambridge. By the end of that day, the lives of all three will have been changed for ever, as Briony commits a crime for which she will spend the rest of her life trying to atone.
https://quizlit.org/15-best-historical-fiction-books#atonement-by-ian-mcewan

15

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

England in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster. If the king dies without a male heir, the country could be destroyed by civil war. Henry VIII wants to annul his marriage of twenty years and marry Anne Boleyn. The pope and most of Europe opposes him. Into this impasse steps Thomas Cromwell.
https://quizlit.org/15-best-historical-fiction-books#wolf-hall-by-hilary-mantel