Page Turners: 11 Historical Fiction Books You Won’t Want to Put Down
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I’m continuing my series on page-turner books you can’t put down with another category I first covered in my list of 27 Books that Will Turn You Into a Reader: historical fiction.
These lists are a bit different from the bucket list book series I put together last year. There is some overlap, but the purpose is different.
The reading bucket list is more fitting for people who are already reading a lot. In fact, a lifetime reading list–carefully curated–is a good idea for avid readers who feel overwhelmed by how much they want to read.
These page-turner books, though, are geared for all types of readers. Both avid readers looking for their next great book and lapsed readers looking for a book to get them back into reading again will find great suggestions here.
Finding books that keep you turning the pages is key to making reading a hobby, and something you want to continue.
There’s nothing like finding a book that you can’t wait to dive back into, that takes you into the world of the characters and makes them seem real.
That’s one of the reasons I love historical fiction. The best historical fiction takes you to another time and place, and often into lives that are different from your own simply because of the time in which the story is set.
Whether the characters are real, fictional, or a mix of both, historical fiction does for me what reading straight history often fails to do: it adds the drama, emotion, and motivation to the lives of the people who lived during those times.
When it’s done well, it helps me learn the history, while enjoying a riveting story.
If you also love historical fiction, here are eleven page turners you may want to try.
11 Unputdownable Historical Fiction Books
- Books set in dreamy locales
- Connections to Hollywood royalty
- Stories told over decades.
- Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
- My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
The Red Tent
- Biblical history
- Women’s relationships
- Empowered females in male-dominated cultures.
- A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
- The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman
Code Name Verity
- Twists and spy games
- Badass women in history
- Unexpected humor in grim stories.
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
- Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
- Female friendships
- Strong female characters
- Chinese history.
- The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See
- A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
We Were the Lucky Ones: A Novel
- World War II stories
- Fictionalized stories about real people and events
- Stories about siblings and large families.
- The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heater Morris
- My Flag Grew Stars by Kitty Gogins
The Only Woman in the Room: A Novel
- Old Hollywood
- Stories about strong, brilliant women
- New perspectives on famous people.
- Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
- The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins-Reid
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
- Books about old Hollywood
- Scandal and secrets
- Fictional characters based on real people.
- Love and Ruin by Paula McClain
- Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
The Way the Crow Flies
*Note: I don’t often give trigger warnings, but this one warrants it. This book covers topics that may be difficult for some readers.
- Cold War-era stories
- Long books that start slowly and build momentum
- History told from a child’s perspective
- Complicated, intertwining storylines.
- The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
- Tallgrass by Sandra Dallas
- Medical history
- Stories set in Hawaii
- Little-known stories of persecution or forced isolation.
- Hawaii by James Michener
- Daughter of Moloka’i by Alan Brennert (the sequel, new in 2019)
- Books that follow multiple generations
- Books about slavery
- Stories told across multiple countries.
- Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie
- Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
A Column of Fire
- Long, immersive books
- Soapy historical fiction
- Fictionalized encounters and situations with real historical figures.
- The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett (the first in the series)
- World Without End by Ken Follett (the second in the series)
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