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Best Historical Fiction Books

Recommendations from 23 articles, Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Alicia Keys and 42 others.
100 books on the list
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All the Light We Cannot See
A Novel
Anthony Doerr - Apr 04, 2017 (first published in 2014)
Goodreads Rating
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, a New York Times Book Review Top Ten Book, National Book Award finalist, more than two and a half years on the New York Times bestseller listFrom the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the stunningly beautiful instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths ...
The Pillars of the Earth
Ken Follett - May 03, 2016 (first published in 1989)
Goodreads Rating
If you liked the Century Trilogy, you’ll love the “extraordinary...monumental masterpiece” (Booklist) that changed the course of Ken Follett’s already phenomenal career.“Follett risks all and comes out a clear winner,” extolled Publishers Weekly on the release of The Pillars of the Earth. A departure for the bestselling thriller writer, the histori...
The Book Thief
Markus Zusak - Sep 11, 2007 (first published in 2005)
Goodreads Rating
It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.By her brother's graveside, Liesel's life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger's Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins ...
Homegoing
Yaa Gyasi - May 02, 2017
Goodreads Rating
A novel of breathtaking sweep and emotional power that traces three hundred years in Ghana and along the way also becomes a truly great American novel. Extraordinary for its exquisite language, its implacable sorrow, its soaring beauty, and for its monumental portrait of the forces that shape families and nations, Homegoing heralds the arrival of a...
A Gentleman in Moscow
A Novel
Amor Towles - Mar 26, 2019 (first published in 2016)
Goodreads Rating
The mega-bestseller with more than 1.5 million readers that is soon to be a major television series He can't leave his hotel. You won't want to.From the New York Times bestselling author of Rules of Civility--a transporting novel about a man who is ordered to spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel.In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed...
The Giver of Stars
A Novel
Jojo Moyes - Oct 08, 2019
Goodreads Rating
From the author of Me Before You, set in Depression-era America, a breathtaking story of five extraordinary women and their remarkable journey through the mountains of Kentucky and beyond.Alice Wright marries handsome American Bennett Van Cleve hoping to escape her stifling life in England. But small-town Kentucky quickly proves equally claustropho...
Recommended by
Reese Witherspoon
Kristin Lavransdatter
The Bridal Wreath; The Mistress of Husaby; The Cross
Sigrid Undset - Jun 27, 1951 (first published in 1920)
Goodreads Rating
"The finest historical novel our 20th century has yet produced; indeed it dwarfs most of the fiction of any kind that Europe has produced in the last twenty years."-- Contemporary Movements in European Literature, edited by William Rose and J. Isaacs"As a novel it must be ranked with the greatest the world knows today." -- Montreal Star"Sigrid Unds...
Recommended by
Emily VanDerWerff
The Nightingale
A Novel
Kristin Hannah - Apr 25, 2017
Goodreads Rating
In love we find out who we want to be.In war we find out who we are.FRANCE, 1939In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France…but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that f...
The War That Saved My Life
Kimberly Brubaker Bradley - May 31, 2016
Goodreads Rating
An exceptionally moving story of triumph against all odds set during World War 2, from the acclaimed author of Jefferson’s Sons and for fans of Number the Stars.   Ten-year-old Ada has never left her one-room apartment. Her mother is too humiliated by Ada’s twisted foot to let her outside. So when her little brother Jamie is shipped out of London t...
The Mirror & the Light
Hilary Mantel - Mar 10, 2020
Goodreads Rating
“If you cannot speak truth at a beheading, when can you speak it?”England, May 1536. Anne Boleyn is dead, decapitated in the space of a heartbeat by a hired French executioner. As her remains are bundled into oblivion, Thomas Cromwell breakfasts with the victors. The blacksmith’s son from Putney emerges from the spring’s bloodbath to continue his c...
Recommended by
Jess Brammar
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel
The Mountains Sing by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai
Broken Angels by Gemma Liviero
The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne
Cilka's Journey by Heather Morris
Voyager by Diana Gabaldon
We Were the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter
The Book of Night Women by Marlon James
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
These is my Words by Nancy Turner
The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A Soldier of the Great War by Mark Helprin
The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin
Deacon King Kong by James McBride
She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton
Lust for Life by Irving Stone
Return to Robinswood by Jean Grainger
I Survived the Attacks of September 11th, 2001 by Lauren Tarshis
Pastel Orphans by Gemma Liviero
The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich
The Long Ships by Frans G. Bengtsson
The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett
Here by Richard McGuire
Dragonfly by Leila Meacham
Mark of the Lion Series Gift Collection by Francine Rivers
An Echo in the Darkness by Francine Rivers
A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers
Written in My Own Heart's Blood by Diana Gabaldon
Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa
The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer
The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden
The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
A Lineage of Grace by Francine Rivers
Refugee by Alan Gratz
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
Where the Lost Wander by Amy Harmon
Henry's Freedom Box by Ellen Levine
Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz
Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield
Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill
An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon
A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon
Roots by Alex Haley
Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan
As Sure as the Dawn by Francine Rivers
Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman
White Bird by R. J. Palacio
Shogun by James Clavell
The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger
Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon
Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell
Her Daughter's Dream by Francine Rivers
Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
When Nietzsche Wept by Irvin D. Yalom
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon
Heartstone by C. J. Sansom
Gods and Kings by Lynn Austin
Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon
Revelation by C. J. Sansom
Winter of the World by Ken Follett
The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
The Little House by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Candle in the Darkness by Lynn Austin
Fire by Night by Lynn Austin
The System of the World by Neal Stephenson
A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Almost Heaven by Judith McNaught
Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Kane and Abel by JEFFREY ARCHER
Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
Truce by R.L. Mathewson
The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
Troy by David Gemmell