More Books We Like

Need a New Author?

Get printable versions of these lists by clicking on the list name.

Books We Like: Historical Fiction

Published 8/18/2020 by Lara Luck

Books We Like: Historical Fiction

Historical fiction is a great genre for finding action, intrigue, or romance and learning something about history at the same time. However, if you don’t find the right historical fiction book, you might not find it too appealing. So, I want to share a few tips on finding the right historical novel for you. Historical fiction can cover a wide range of time, places, and cultures. Pick something that you want to find out more about. If you don’t find the topic intriguing, reading the book will probably be more of a chore than a pleasurable experience. Also, how accurate and well-researched do you want it to be? Some authors do extensive research while others will write a more speculative historical novel (hint: usually the authors who do in-depth research will let you know their sources in the book). What other genres do you like to read? You can find historical fiction in such sub-genres as mysteries, fantasies, action suspense. Personally, I like well-researched novels with strong character development and lots of drama, so here are a few recommendations along those lines.

“The Lost Queen” by Signe Pike was impossible for me to put down. In fact I made my mom read it after I was through. (She got a bit mad at me, but only because it is the first book of a trilogy.) This book tells the story of Languoreth, twin sister of Lailoken, the man many scholars believe inspired the legend of Merlin. Languoreth is destined to be the wife of chieftain and heir to her father’s lands while her twin brother is destined to be a druid warrior. They are both fated to protect their people and beliefs from the new religion, Christianity, which seeks to wipe out the Old Ways. Think “Mists of Avalon” with a bit more realism, add in a splash of magic, and lots of research on sixth-century Scotland that brings the story beautifully to life.

Do you like intertwined tales brimming with lush detail and a truly unique culture with one foot in the modern world and one in the superstitious traditions of the past? Then “The Night Tiger” by Yangsze Choo is probably the book for you. Set in 1930s Malaysia, Choo’s imagery is so vivid you feel like you are in the story, and her complex characters make you want to stay in their world forever. Orphan Ren is trying to fulfill his master’s dying wish to reunite his body with his lost finger so his master’s soul will rest in peace. Ji Lin, an apprentice dressmaker who longs to be more, is just trying to pay off her mother’s gambling debts working as a dance hall girl when she finds a severed finger left behind by one of her dance partners. Convinced that bad luck will follow her unless the finger is returned, she sets off on a quest to find the finger’s owner. Ren and Ji Lin’s journeys bring them closer to finding each other, but also closer to the tiger who prowls in the night.

In “The Tattooist of Auschwitz,” Heather Morris brings to life the story of Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov, a Jewish prisoner who was forced to tattoo the other prisoners coming into the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp with their identification number. This position afforded him some privileges and protection, but he risked it all to help his fellow prisoners and the woman he loves. Morris used his and other survivors’ actual accounts to tell this heart-rending tale of love and survival.

Unfortunately, I don’t have room to list all the great historical fiction I would like to recommend, but here are a few other great titles you might want to try - “The Nickel Boys” by Colson Whitehead, “A Long Petal of the Sea” by Isabel Allende, and “The Book of Lost Friends” by Lisa Wingate. Happy reading!