Top Ten Historical Fiction Books
Favorites in Historical Fiction
I find historical fiction to be fascinating. I love the way the books take you to other times and places. Give me a good book of historical fiction, and I could curl up in a chair and read all day.
I also love to travel and reading historical fiction that takes place in countries I have visited is always fascinating.
On this page I will tell you a bit about ten of my favorite historical fiction books that I have read in recent years. I hope you will find some books that you would enjoy reading.
photograph taken in Bruge, Belgium
photographs by Mary Beth Granger
Girl with a Pearl Earring - Tracy Chevalier
This delightful tale is a fictional story based on a painting by Vermeer. It takes places in 17th century Delft, Holland. I visited Delft several years ago and the book brought back memories of this historic town.
setting for Girl with a Pearl Earring
I had visited Delft, Holland shortly before I read the book Girl with the Pearl Earring. As I read the book I could picture the canals and the village of Delft. The book was great but for me being able to picture the place made it even more interesting.
Sarah's Key - Tatiana de Rosnay
Sarah's Key takes place in Paris both in the present time period and in the 1940's. It is a fictional story based on the persecution of the Jews in France during the occupation. It was a very moving story, one of the best I've read in a long time.
Memories of Paris
city of lights
The book Sarah's Key took place in Paris and as I read it I could picture the scenes at the places I had visited during my travels.
Daughters - historical family saga
This compelling historical novel of three generations of Palestinian Christian women details the lives of the women and the struggles they faced. It starts out in a tiny village of one room dwellings just outside Jerusalem and takes you through to the elegant home in Georgetown in the US. I enjoyed following the lives of these three generations of women and again enjoyed reading about places that I have visited.
Pillars of the Earth - Ken Follet
This epic novel by Ken Follet is set in 12th century England. It follows a family through the building of a cathedral in the fictional town of Kingsbridge, England. It is a very long book because it took a long time to build a catheral in the middle ages. I really enjoyed reading the book. It had great character development and at times you almost felt as if you were living in England in the Middle Ages. I found myself getting very involved in the lives of the main characters and when I got too tired to read anymore I was always anxious to pick up the book and read some more.
Elizabeth Street - Italy and America
I really enjoyed this story written by Laurie Fabiano. It is the true story of her grandparents struggles as they immigrated from Italy to the United States. It follows their lives as they establish their lives in New York city.
Yukon Quest - trilogy by Tracie Peterson
This book was recommended to me by fellow lensmaster Sylvestermouse. There are three books in the trilogy and I have now read all three. It takes place in Alaska during the gold rush era and is a very exciting read as you follow a families trials and victories during this period of history. It is very enjoyable light reading.
Alaska Wilderness - Gold Rush Territory
This is a photo I took from a train ride up the mountain in Skagway, Alaska. The tour guide told stories of the gold rush days and how the prospectors would face troubles trying to forge their way through the wild Alaska territory. While I was reading the Yukon Quest trilogy, these images kept popping into my mind.
Winter Garden - Kristin Hannah
This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. Although probably not technically a historical fiction novel, it does take place both in Russia over 65 years ago and in the Alaska wilderness. It is a touching love story and explores the bond between mothers and daughters. A really great page turner that I had a hard time putting down.
The Help - America's south in the 60's
This excellent book by Kathryn Stockett takes place in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960's. It follows the lives of Afrrican-American maids working in white households. The book was made into a movie and has been up for many awards.
I read the book first and then saw the movie. I enjoyed both even though they were a bit different. I do think the book brought out more details that made it have more depth than the movie. I highly recommend this book.
The Guernsey Literary and Potatoe Peel Pie Society - World War II Historical Fiction
This delightful tale talks of the people of Guernsey and their remarkable resilience during the German occupation of their island during World War II. We read this book for my book club and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it.. There was lots of discussion on the various characters and how they each handled being in a difficult situation.