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Historical Fiction Historical Fiction Books

Rich and immersive, transporting and informative, good historical fiction is a sumptuous treat. Sign up for our free emails and stay up-to-date with past.

This Month's Featured Books

Reader Reviewed Daughter of the House
Rosie Thomas
August 2015 Book of the Month. A heartfelt, lovely, interesting story set between 1910 and 1931, where a family with a difference, face everyday and extraordinary difficulties and conflicts. Daughter of the...
Format: Paperback - Released: 30/07/2015
     
Reader Reviewed Nelly Dean
Alison Case
August 2015 Debut of the Month. A wonderful and fascinating insight into hidden happenings at Wuthering Heights, from the perspective of Nelly Dean. Focusing...
Format: Hardback - Released: 13/08/2015
     
Reader Reviewed Rembrandt's Mirror
Kim Devereux
August 2015 Debut of the Month. This is such a stimulating, penetrating and truly beautiful novel, Kim Devereux obviously has a deeply emotional connection...
Format: Hardback - Released: 06/08/2015
     
Without the Moon
Cathi Unsworth
Maxim Jakubowski August 2015 Highly Recommended. Novel by novel, Unsworth is proving herself a unique talent in her power of evocation of time and place and this fifth outing set in London...
Format: Paperback - Released: 09/07/2015
     
Reader Reviewed Rome's Lost Son Vespasian VI
Robert Fabbri
The sixth in this magnificent series. Claudius’ actions and behaviour worsen, his wife is plotting for her son Nero to succeed him, Vespasian is sent to Britain when Caractacus is defeated. All that is history. This brings the period to...
Format: Paperback - Released: 13/08/2015
     
Paradise Sky
Joe R. Lansdale
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. East Texas pulpster Lansdale never writes a dull book and his new novel proves no exception. This latest wild tale veers sharply towards the western, albeit in...
Format: Paperback - Released: 18/06/2015
     
The Last Embrace
Pam Jenoff
A lovely warm, evocative story with a lightening sharp edge that highlights the conflict of the Second World War. Set mainly in the USA, with a sojourn in London, the beginning of the book steps back, back and back again...
Format: Paperback - Released: 13/08/2015
     
The Madagaskar Plan
Guy Saville
Drawing on the Nazis' original plans for the Jews, Guy Saville has meticulously imagined a world-that-nearly-was to tell an epic tale of love, revenge and survival. 1953 and there has been no holocaust, rather all Jews have been exiled to...
Format: Hardback - Released: 16/07/2015
     
The Woman in the Picture
Katharine McMahon
Evelyn Gifford, our first-person narrator, is a lawyer in the 1920s. She is on the rebound from a relationship with a young barrister and accepts a proposal from her employer, Daniel. In the midst of this comes the General Strike...
Format: Paperback - Released: 30/07/2015
     
The Wake
Paul Kingsnorth
Winner of the The Bookseller's Book of the Year 2015. Longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2015. Longlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize, this critically acclaimed novel was the first crowdfunded novel to appear on the longlist. The Wake...
Format: Paperback - Released: 30/04/2015
     
Reader Reviewed Without a Trace
Lesley Pearse
An enjoyable, comforting read, even with murder, intrigue and abuse, sneaking and scheming their way through the pages. Set after the Second World War in 1953, the author deftly takes you back to a time when rationing and making do...
Format: Paperback - Released: 13/08/2015
     
Labyrinth
Kate Mosse
I was privileged to visit Kate in her Carcassonne retreat and be shown the numerous locations she used throughout this novel; the exact tower, steps, house, street etc that feature in the action in this exciting tale. It’s a time-slip...
Format: Paperback - Released: 07/05/2015
     
Reader Reviewed The Spring of Kasper Meier
Ben Fergusson
Winner of the Betty Trask Award 2015. A highly descriptive literary thriller of post-war Berlin which brilliantly illustrates the terrible aftermath of war. People live hand-to-mouth like rats scavenging for food and essentials in a constant state of fear. You...
Format: Paperback - Released: 06/01/2015
     
Agnes Sorel: Mistress of Beauty
HRH Princess Michael of Kent
The second in a trilogy chronicling the dynasty of Anjou in 15th century France. It follows the life and fortune of a handmaiden to the Queen and eventual mistress to Charles VII. She is pure, kind and virtuous! The history...
Format: Paperback - Released: 05/03/2015
     
Reader Reviewed Skin
Ilka Tampke
It is easy to think of the Celts as savages and the Romans as the bringers of civilisation when in fact Celtic society was complex and well-structured. Skin captures the flavour of that ancient time beautifully. The people feel a...
Format: Hardback - Released: 06/08/2015
     
The Devil in the Marshalsea
Antonia Hodgson
Shortlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award 2015. Winner of the CWA Historical Dagger Award 2014. Set between the death of George I and the coronation of George II when the South Sea Bubble...
Format: Paperback - Released: 28/08/2014
     
Now is the Time
Melvyn Bragg
Now is the Time depicts the events of the Peasants' Revolt on both a grand and intimate scale, vividly portraying its central figures and telling an archetypal tale of an epic struggle between the powerful and the apparently powerless.
Format: Hardback - Released: 08/10/2015
     
The Story of Land and Sea
Katy Simpson Smith
A big, lush, three-generational, historical novel in three parts from 1771 to 1793. Sad, moving and poignant, it is a beautifully written story of love and loss, of hope and despair. Taking in the War of Independence, plantation life, slavery,...
Format: Paperback - Released: 30/07/2015
     
Sanctuary
Robert Edric
A fictionalised story of Branwell Bronte, brother of Charlotte, Emily and Anne, told in the first person by Branwell. He and his sisters lived in Haworth Parsonage in Yorkshire with their much respected father. His sisters were beginning to make...
Format: Paperback - Released: 13/08/2015
     
Pegasus
Danielle Steel
Opening in Germany where cousins owned large adjoining estates, we are on the cusp of World War II. Jewish blood is in the family as one cousin married a Jew. Naturally the kids are in danger and a brilliant plan...
Format: Paperback - Released: 30/07/2015
     
Mathew's Tale
Quintin Jardine
A huge departure from this author’s crime novels for this is an historical family saga of complicated relationships, misunderstandings, deceit and revenge. Mathew Fleming returns to Scotland after being injured at Waterloo. Assumed dead years earlier his sweetheart had married...
Format: Paperback - Released: 30/07/2015
     
Enemy of Rome
Douglas Jackson
Amongst this crowded area of bloody battle and deceit in ancient Rome this series stands out. It is the fifth featuring Valerius, his loyal servant, former slave Serpentius and his love. Saved from execution and eventually sent to spy in...
Format: Paperback - Released: 30/07/2015
     
Edge of Eternity
Ken Follett
The conclusion of his huge trilogy featuring five families through the last century and now covers the Cold War period and the Civil Rights movement: 1961-2009. There is little plot, just the stereotypical characters linking world events and having lots...
Format: Paperback - Released: 30/07/2015
     
Time and Time Again
Ben Elton
It will come as no surprise to learn that Ben Elton has written another remarkable book, ‘Time and Time Again’ however, captures the flag of remarkable and nails instead to the mast, extraordinary. The first chapter seizes your attention, the...
Format: Paperback - Released: 30/07/2015
     
The Invention of Fire
Bruce Holsinger
The richly atmospheric new historical thriller featuring John Gower, poet and trader of secrets. Against the backdrop of medieval London with its grand palaces and churches, dark alleys and mean backstreets, Gower pursues his dangerous quarry. Seeking insights from his...
Format: Paperback - Released: 30/07/2015
     
Kingmaker: Winter Pilgrims
Toby Clements
A novel of the Wars of the Roses which is becoming the new Tudors, if you get my meaning, i.e. the new favourite period for historical novelists. This is the first in a series which follows an expelled young monk...
Format: Paperback - Released: 26/02/2015
     
The Fair Fight
Anna Freeman
Rich storytelling set in and around late 18th century Bristol with each character being given a voice and view in separate chapters. You are driven to read chapter after chapter to gather the differing viewpoints of the plot; highly compulsive....
Format: Paperback - Released: 02/07/2015
     

Last Month's Featured Books


Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell
Susanna Clarke
A very special book indeed, magical in all its senses, which won the Hugo Award and the World Fantasy Award for best book. Slow to get into and long, it...
 
 

The Seeker
S. G. MacLean
Winner of the CWA Endeavour Historical Dagger 2015. A complicated, thrilling tale with many threads all leading to a Royalist plot to assassinate Oliver Cromwell. Our hero, Damien Seeker, is...
 
 

Reader Reviewed If You Go Away
Adele Parks
A dramatically absorbing and readable family drama, where between the covers prowl the social injustices and horror experienced during World War One. The author sets the two main characters apart,...
 
 

Restoration
Rose Tremain
The bestselling and much-loved classic from Orange Prize-winning Rose Tremain, Restoration introduces us to the young Robert Merivel and his rise and fall through glittering seventeenth-century society. When a twist...
 
 

Reader Reviewed The Looking Glass House
Vanessa Tait
‘The Looking Glass House’ is a bright, bold work of fiction, simply told yet holding a complicated ring of truth. Alice Liddell, the young inspiration for Lewis Caroll is the...
 
 

Reader Reviewed The Song Collector
Natasha Solomons
July 2015 Book of the Month. ‘The Song Collector’ subtly tiptoes under your skin, the first few sentences call to you, draw...
 
 

The Suicide Club
Andrew Williams
1917 and a British intelligence officer, Sandy Innes, injured whilst working as a labourer behind German lines, is asked to return to the front to help prepare others for spying...
 
 

No Place for a Lady
Gill Paul
With strong characters, a gripping and emotionally intense plot combined with meticulous research No Place for a Lady by Gill Paul is a wonderful read for fans of historical fiction....
 
 

A Hundred Summers
Beatriz Williams
The New York Times bestselling novel. Rhode Island, 1938. A sweltering summer of secrets, passion and betrayal...
 
 

The Table of Less Valued Knights
Marie Phillips
Longlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2015. With Gods Behaving Badly Marie Phillips showed that she has a rare gift for comedy, taking familiar characters from legend...
 
 

The Tudor Vendetta
Christopher Gortner
The final book in this lovely series which can all be read alone. They follow the adventures of Brendan Prescott, personal spy to Elizabeth I, protégé of Walsingham. Elizabeth is...
 
 

War at the Edge of the World
Ian Ross
A well-written and interesting account of the Romans in Britain to join the many. It begins a series, Twilight of Empire, set here in AD305 and features an old Roman...
 
 

Reader Reviewed In Love and War
Alex Preston
A remarkably captivating book that starts as a slow-burner then sparks into an absolute firecracker of a read. The introduction to Fascism in Florence just before World War Two, when...
 
 

The Month Before's Featured Books


Gutenberg's Apprentice

A well written, informative book which we must assume is accurate. It traces the life of Peter Schoeffer whose foster father Johann Fust apprenticed Peter to Johann Gensfleisch (Gutenberg). Fust...
 
 

Reader Reviewed Flood of Fire
Amitav Ghosh
June 2015 Book of the Month. A thrillingly realised and richly populated novel, imbued with a wealth of historical detail, suffused with...
 
 

Perfidia
James Ellroy
Ellroy is most famous for two exquisite series. The LA Quartet (including LA Confidential) set in the 40s and 50s and centred on the LAPD; and the Underworld USA...
 
 

Reader Reviewed Blood and Steel
Harry Sidebottom
A fabulous foray into the past, AD238 is the Year of the Six Emperors and makes for a fascinating and compelling tale. This is the second in the ‘Throne of...
 
 

Reader Reviewed Dacre's War
Rosemary Goring
June 2015 Book of the Month. Historical fiction with a punch of realism and a twist of scheming political intrigue, several characters...
 
 

The Sun is God
Adrian McKinty
Alongside Ken Bruen and Stuart Neville, McKinty sits atop the Irish contemporary crime writing scene, so this comes as a pleasant surprise: a quirky historical mystery, based on a true...
 
 

Reader Reviewed The Silent Hours
Cesca Major
June 2015 Debut of the Month. Extraordinarily powerful and emotional, this debut fictional tale,...
 
 

Reader Reviewed The Last Confession of Thomas Hawkins
Antonia Hodgson
June 2015 Book of the Month. This wonderfully intriguing and exciting historical mystery really packs a wallop. Although a sequel to ‘
 
 

The Art of Killing Well
Marco Malvaldi
This is a locked room, country house murder mystery set in Tuscany at the close of the 19th century. It’s a hoot, a wonderful parody of the genre with...
 
 

The Barefoot Queen
Ildefonso Falcones
A long book, perhaps a tad too long, about the feuding gypsies in Spain in the 1750s. It stars a Cuban Negress who finds herself a free woman after her...
 
 

The Ghost of the Mary Celeste
Valerie Martin
Arthur Conan Doyle meets, on a promotional tour in America, one Violet Petra, a famed medium of the period who seems to have a connection within or to the fated...
 
 

The King Without a Kingdom
Maurice Druon
The world of fiction and fact merge in this feast of historical intrigue, bloody battle and cankerous corruption. Translated from French, visit the beginning of the Hundred Years War; with...
 
 

Savage Magic
Lloyd Shepherd
The third in this excellent series featuring Constable Charles Horton of the River Police. He is investigating strange goings-on in a grand house in Surrey where the locals fear witchcraft...
 
 

The Zone of Interest
Martin Amis
1942, every day the trains arrive bringing Jews for the gas chambers or slave labour. We witness the terrible events through the eyes of the German commanders and a Jew...
 
 

Reader Reviewed Watch the Lady
Elizabeth Fremantle
Elizabeth Fremantle has delivered another fabulously engrossing read, her ability to bring some of the most fascinating women from the 16th century to the forefront of historical fiction is truly...
 
 

Reader Reviewed Plague Land
S. D. Sykes
June 2015 Debut of the Month. The fourteenth century is widely believed to be...
 
 

Reader Reviewed Hide Her Name
Nadine Dorries
A moving and at times harrowing read, the second in the trilogy drops you straight back into the traumatic aftermath of ‘The Four Streets” so brace yourself and prepare...
 
 

Reader Reviewed Hearts of Stone
Simon Scarrow
With a foray into more recent history than Simon Scarrow’s previous novels, the Greek Resistance in World War Two is brought vividly and violently to life in ‘Hearts of Stone’....
 
 

The Silk Tree
Julian Stockwin
A non-stop, action packed adventure from 549 AD spanning the fascinating Roman and Chinese empires. Nicander and Marius are unlikely companions and after the Ostrogoths have sacked Rome, find themselves...
 
 

Hereward: Wolves of New Rome
James Wilde
The fourth in the series sees Hereward finally defeated and in exile. He is off to Constantinople where rumour has it the streets are paved with gold and employment...
 
 

Reader Reviewed Saint Mazie
Jami Attenberg
An astonishing, stimulating, and quite quite wonderful novel based on the life of the indomitable Mazie Phillips who lived in New York through some of the most interesting times of...
 
 
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Once Upon a Time…

With authors like the two-time Man Booker Prize winning Hilary Mantel among its illuminati, it’s no wonder that Historical Fiction is arguably more popular than ever. Follow the lives, loves, betrayals, deaths, trials-and-tribulations of those that went before us.

Whether you follow Sebastian Faulks and P.S Duffy to the hell and displacement of the Front in WWI, Philippa Gregory to the intrigue, immorality and perils of the court of Henry VIII, or get rocked on the high seas of the King’s Navy in Patrick O’Brien’s Master and Commander, there is a wealth of exceptional storytelling to dive headfirst into. Where will you let our time machine take you today?

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A selection of authors who will feature in this Lovereading category include:

Lindsey Davis 
Peter Ackroyd 
Michael Wood 
Simon Sebag Montefiore 
Umberto Eco 
Pat Barker 
Tracy Chevalier 
Michael Jecks 
Rose Tremain