You don’t have to read historical textbooks to keep your inner history geek purring. There are lots of amazing historical fiction books on the market that will have you hooked from page 1. Here are 15 top historical reads:
1. The Book Thief
Set in WWII, this novel follows foster child Liesel Meminger who live in Munich. Liesel can’t resist stealing books. After being taught to read by her foster father, she shares her stolen books with neighbours and the Jewish man hidden in her basement.
2. Memoirs of a Geisha
Appearance is everything – that’s what you’ll discover in this novel. An exceptional insight into the illusion of love. Woman are trained to charm men and auctioned for the most money. Get lost into the history of Japan and look at the world through the eyes of a Geisha.
You can’t beat a little time travel mixed with history. Set, firstly, in 1945 where a nurse is reunited with her husband after the war. It is on their second honeymoon that Claire Randall finds herself sent back in time to rural Scotland where she meets a Scottish warrior who makes her question her marriage.
4. I, Claudius
Written as the autobiography of Roman Emperor Claudius, this novel details the lives of the Roman Emperors from the eyes of Cladius as he watched from the sidelines.
5. Gone With the Wind
We all know the name Scarlett O’Hara, now read her story and the lives of the rest of the characters in this beautiful novel. Set in civil war America, expect lots of love and loss.
6. The Name of the Rose
If you can handle a wordy novel, then this historic Italian murder mystery is well worth the time. Beautifully written, think The Da Vinci Code but much higher brow.
7. The Three Musketeers
History AND action? You can’t go wrong with that! Set in 17th century France, this is a novel you must read at some point in your life.
8. Alias Grace
Wildly captivating, this novel follows Dr Simon Jordan who tries to build a psychological profile of Grace Marks who has been imprisoned for her involvement in the murder of her employer and his mistress.
9. The Lumanaries
Set in the 1800s during the New Zealand gold rush, this novel is part romance and part mystery. It stays very true to historical fact and continuously keeps you guessing.
10. August 1914
Writing about the events leading up to the Russian revolution, this novel follows the Russian army as it invades East Prussia at the start of World War 1.
11. The Garden of Evening Mists
Set in Malaysia, this follows a woman coping with the death of her sister at the hands of the Japanese. She meets a man who was once gardener for the Emperor and becomes his apprentice.
12. The Seventh Gate
Set in pre-war Berlin, this murder mystery follows Sophie Riedesel as she investigates the deaths of two friends who were in an anti-Nazi group called The Ring.
13. The Twelve Rooms of the Nile
Exploring a fictional relationship between Florence Nightingale and Gustave Flaubert in 1850 Egypt, this novel is both sweet and thought-provoking.
14. Midnight’s Children
Supernatural mixed with history, Midnight’s Children documents the children born at midnight when India became independent from Britain. These children are all telepathically linked.
15. Just One Damned Thing After Another
Book number one in a series of time travelling books where historians go back in time to chronicle if history has been recorded truthfully. Funny and full of action, this has everything any history could ask for. And lots of tea!