This is one of the genres that I really want to read more of honestly. I’ve read a decent amount now, but I still have yet to barely scratch the surface when it comes to Historical Fiction. The list below consists of my favorites, the time periods a little all over the place, but nonetheless all great reads. The main rule with this list was that time travel could not be a part of the plot. With that said, here are my top 5 Historical Fiction reads!
Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
This series blew me away as we follow Audrey Rose who is secretly studying forensic medicine under her Uncle when Jack the Ripper’s killings begin. This book gives us a unique angle on the case and the time period with Audrey Rose as the protagonist, her fight not just against the murderer roaming the streets, but society as well. I loved the main character in this book, the setting, and the fast paced excitement of trying to solve one of London’s darkest serial killings. Honestly, need I say more? I just got lost in the excitement of this plot, and began inhaling the entire series. Each book by the way gives a new murder, setting, and historical figure.
His Fair Assassins by Robin LaFevers
Going way back in time from our first book on the list, this series take place in medieval Europe, specifically Brittany as a young duchess takes power during a male dominated era. The first book follows Ismae, a young assassin under the convent of Saint Mortain, assigned to find the traitors in the duchess’ court. I loved the medieval time period, politics, women as spies, and the protagonists we get in this fast paced and dark series. There are three books in this trilogy, each one with a new protagonist. My favorite I would say was Ismae’s, titled Grave Mercy.
The White Queen by Phillippa Gregory
This one I broke a cardinal reader rule on; I watched the tv show first. In this case watching actually steered me to pick up the book, and also look into more of Phillippa Gregory’s writing. While it is part of a series, you don’t necessarily need to read the other books to know what is happening. The White Queen occurs during the famous War of the Roses period as Edward IV, a York, takes the throne, and soon after marries Elizabeth Woodville, a Lancastrian. The couple, while a love match, set off making many enemies amongst both Yorks and Lancasters as they work to set up their reign and protect their family from the violence that put Edward himself on the throne. Amongst the books on this list, this is one of the only Adult Historical Fiction picks, and as such happens to also be slower paced. The pace though is filled with great description, strong and determined females, and so much court intrigue. This book, and the show made Edward IV one of my favorite Kings in history.
Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman
Ah, the only American Historical Fiction I have on the list. I kind of feel a little bad, but I’ve always been fascinated with medieval and early nineteenth century Britain, so oh well. This book came up after I got hooked on Red Dead Redemption and needed some Western vibes. This book fulfilled that and then some. Vengeance Road is about Kate Thompson who returns to her homestead to find her father not just dead, but hanged, and her home in ashes. Craving vengeance, she hunts down the group responsible, and learns of a hidden gold that only her father had known of. Filled with all the adventures of the Wild West, so much danger, and Kate who dives head first into a plan of stone cold vengeance this book and its sequel were so easy to inhale.
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
My Lady Jane returns to Britain, but two monarchs after the events of the White Queen as Henry VII’s one son falls ill, and a war of succession begins between his two sisters, Mary and Elizabeth. Unfortunately for both though, a lesser known heir is brought forward, her name Jane Grey. Jane, and her husband Dudley are quickly thrown into one of the most dangerous ascensions to the throne as multiple factions work against them, and any failure ends in death. This story, while having a much more Young Adult writing style to it, definitely brought a different story forward for me. Before this book, all I had known for this event was that Mary had locked her own sister Elizabeth up to ensure she wasn’t working against her. Considering how many wives their father had had, the two weren’t particularly close, and I can see how they wouldn’t be close with their brother given that information. Going from the moment Jane learns of her being his heir, and what that entails to preparing herself for the throne this book leaves no question to how dangerous this whole time period is for her, and Dudley.
Are any of these your favorite Historical Fiction reads? Let me know your favorites, and your thoughts in the comments below! I definitely need to read more in this genre, and maybe we’ll see if this list can get even more amazing books added to it!