Historical fiction is one of my favourite genres and I’m so happy that this week’s Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) topic is past or future. I’m not a huge reader of sci-fi, so I thought I’d feature 10 of my favourite historical fiction novels this week. I haven’t included any historical fantasy novels. These are all purely historical fiction, though some do have some magical realism elements. And in case you couldn’t tell, I love WWII historical fiction!!!
1. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
This one is a no-brainer. It’s my favourite book of all time so it has to appear on this list. This book is set in France and Germany during WWII.
2. Max by Sarah Cohen-Scali
This book is another WWII historical fiction novel but is one that is written from a very unique perspective. This book follows Max from his time as an unborn foetus inside his pregnant mother, until the war ends when he’s 10. Max is a Hitler youth whose conception and upbringing was heavily monitored in order to produce the perfect little soldier.
3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Another one of my favourite WWII historical fiction novels – I’m sure you all know what this one’s about. This was the first required reading that I actually enjoyed and it sparked my love for WWII and historical fiction. This book is set in Germany.
4. The Lake House by Kate Morton
I thought I’d give you a break from the WWII fiction… The Lake House is a mystery novel about a child who disappeared in Cornwall in the 1930s. A detective from the present day hears about this mysterious disappearance and decides to uncover what really happened.
5. Goodnight, Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian
This is a children’s book that I read when I was 12 and absolutely loved. I don’t remember too much of what happened but I was deeply affected by it and I remember begging my parents to buy me a copy of it. It still has a proud place on my shelves and I hope to reread it sometime this year. This book is set in Britain during WWII and is about a boy called Willie who is evacuated from London to the country. He is cared for by an elderly man, Mister Tom, and the bond between them grows.
6. The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
This novel is set in Amsterdam in the 17th century. The descriptions in this book are so vivid and I really felt like I was there in 17th century Amsterdam. I’ve only read a handful of books set in the Netherlands and this one was truly unique.
7. The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan
Another WWII historical fiction novel… The Narrow Road to the Deep North is the 2014 Man Booker Prize Winner. It’s a heartwrenching story about Australian soldiers in Japanese prisoner of war camps.
8. A Year of Marvellous Ways by Sarah Winman
This novel is set in Cornwall during WWI and is about a friendship between a 90 year old woman and a young soldier who floats ashore near her home. This was beautifully written and made me realise that I love WWI fiction almost as much as I love WWII.
9. Madame Tussaud’s Apprentice by Kathleen Benner Duble
As you can probably tell from the title, this book is set in France during the French Revolution. While there were some aspects of the book that kept me from giving it more than 3.5 stars, I thoroughly enjoyed the setting of the novel and it was a time period that I’ve read very little about.
10. Rurouni Kenshin by Nobuhiro Watsuki
I couldn’t talk about historical fiction without mentioning my favourite manga, Rurouni Kenshin. This one is set in the Meiji era in Japan, which is a time period and setting that I love to read about. It’s definitely my favourite period of Japanese history, with Taisho as a close second. I love all mangas, animes, novels that are set during Meiji and Taisho.
Let me know what some of your historical fiction novels are. I’m always on the look out for more WWII fiction and other historical fiction in general! And if non-fantasy historical fiction isn’t your thing, let me know what historical fantasy novels you love! My favourite is probably The Infernal Devices ❤