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Best Historical Fiction Books

Recommendations from 34 articles, Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey and 75 others.
91 books on the list
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Wolf Hall book cover
Wolf Hall
A Novel
Hilary Mantel - 2009-10-13
Goodreads Rating
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. The quest for the king's freedom destroys his adviser, the brilliant Cardinal Wolsey, and leaves...
All the Light We Cannot See book cover
All the Light We Cannot See
A Novel
Anthony Doerr - 2017-04-04 (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 ...
Alias Grace book cover
Alias Grace
A Novel
Margaret Atwood - 1997-10-13 (first published in 1996)
Goodreads Rating
It's 1843, and Grace Marks has been convicted for her involvement in the vicious murders of her employer and his housekeeper and mistress. Some believe Grace is innocent; others think her evil or insane. Now serving a life sentence, Grace claims to have no memory of the murders.An up-and-coming expert in the burgeoning field of mental illness is en...
Homegoing book cover
Yaa Gyasi - 2017-05-02
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 book cover
A Gentleman in Moscow
A Novel
Amor Towles - 2019-03-26 (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 Book Thief book cover
The Book Thief
Markus Zusak - 2007-09-11 (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 ...
The Pillars of the Earth book cover
The Pillars of the Earth
Ken Follett - 2016-05-03 (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...
Recommended by
Joe Hill
The Book of Longings book cover
The Book of Longings
A Novel
Sue Monk Kidd - 2020-04-21
Goodreads Rating
“I am Ana. I was the wife of Jesus.” Raised in a wealthy family in Sepphoris with ties to the ruler of Galilee, Ana is rebellious and ambitious, a relentless seeker with a brilliant, curious mind and a daring spirit. She yearns for a pursuit worthy of her life, but finds no outlet for her considerable talents. Defying the expectations placed on wom...
Recommended by
Bethanne Patrick
Pachinko book cover
Min Jin Lee - 2017-11-14
Goodreads Rating
In the early 1900s, teenaged Sunja, the adored daughter of a crippled fisherman, falls for a wealthy stranger at the seashore near her home in Korea. He promises her the world, but when she discovers she is pregnant--and that her lover is married--she refuses to be bought. Instead, she accepts an offer of marriage from a gentle, sickly minister pas...
The Underground Railroad book cover
The Underground Railroad
A Novel
Colson Whitehead - 2016-01-30
Goodreads Rating
Winner of the Pulitzer PrizeWinner of the National Book AwardWinner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in FictionLonglisted for the Man Booker PrizeWinner of the Arthur C. Clarke AwardFinalist for the Dayton Literary Peace PrizeLonglisted for the Prix Medicis One of the Best books of the Year: The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, ...
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
The Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset
Fall of Giants by Ken Follett
The Mountains Sing by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman
How Much of These Hills Is Gold by C Pam Zhang
The Mirror & the Light by Hilary Mantel
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
11/22/63 by Stephen King
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate
A Column of Fire by Ken Follett
The Orphan Collector by Ellen Marie Wiseman
I, Claudius by Robert Graves
Human Acts by Han Kang
Sophie's Choice by William Styron
Moloka'i by Alan Brennert
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
The Inquisitor's Tale by Adam Gidwitz
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
God's Hammer by Eric Schumacher
The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis
A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende
As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner
The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel
City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sundaresan
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman
Perfume by Patrick Sskind
The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel
Conjure Women by Afia Atakora
Little by Edward Carey
The Magnolia Palace by Fiona Davis
Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan
Summer of '69 by Elin Hilderbrand
Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras
A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
Park Avenue Summer by Renée Rosen
We Came Here to Shine by Susie Orman Schnall
As Meat Loves Salt by Maria McCann
The Tobacco Wives by Adele Myers
The Master by Colm Toibin
The Great Trouble by Deborah Hopkinson
Lavinia by Ursula K. le Guin
The Flight Portfolio by Julie Orringer
Human Voices by Penelope Fitzgerald