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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

The Madagaskar Plan
Guy Saville
July 2015 eBook of the Month. Drawing on the Nazis' original plans for the Jews, Guy Saville has meticulously imagined a world-that-nearly-was to tell...
Format: Hardback - Released: 16/07/2015
     
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 great-grandmother of the author of this novel. Alice’s keepsakes have...
Format: Hardback - Released: 02/07/2015
     
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, they may have some admirable and attractive qualities however she...
Format: Hardback - Released: 04/06/2015
     
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 is written in the style of the period in which...
Format: Paperback - Released: 09/04/2015
     
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
     
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 we know life is on the brink of upheaval and...
Format: Paperback - Released: 02/07/2015
     
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 campaigner, Aurelius Castus, who feels he’s been put out to...
Format: Paperback - Released: 02/07/2015
     
The Devil in the Marshalsea
Antonia Hodgson
Shortlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award 2015. Shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger - Best First Novel 2014. Winner of the CWA Historical Dagger Award 2014. Set between the death...
Format: Paperback - Released: 28/08/2014
     
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 now on the throne. She sends Prescott off to Yorkshire...
Format: Paperback - Released: 02/07/2015
     
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 and giving them an ingenious contemporary twist. In The Table...
Format: Paperback - Released: 02/07/2015
     
A Hundred Summers
Beatriz Williams
The New York Times bestselling novel. Rhode Island, 1938. A sweltering summer of secrets, passion and betrayal...
Format: Paperback - Released: 16/07/2015
     
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 of fate delivers an ambitious young medical student to the...
Format: Paperback - Released: 04/06/2015
     
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 behind lines where they are often dropped by balloon, an...
Format: Paperback - Released: 02/07/2015
     
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. Set in 1854 during the Crimean War, cleverly weaving real...
Format: Paperback - Released: 02/07/2015
     
The Fair Fight
Anna Freeman
July 2015 Debut of the Month. Rich storytelling set in and around late 18th century Bristol with each character being given a voice and...
Format: Paperback - Released: 02/07/2015
     

Last Month'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...
 
 

The Month Before's Featured Books


Reader Reviewed River of Smoke
Amitav Ghosh
You really should read the first in this trilogy, The Sea of Poppies, before embarking upon this huge, sprawling epic history for, although not all the characters of that...
 
 

Reader Reviewed After Flodden
Rosemary Goring
Meticulous research and superlative writing brings to life the little known but important Battle of Flodden in 1513 and the consequences to Scotland and its people. Combining political intrigue and...
 
 

Brothers' Fury
Giles Kristian
The second book in a new English Civil War series, you shouldn’t read this unless you’ve read book one, The Bleeding Land, but only because this is such a...
 
 

The Miniaturist
Jessie Burton
One of the Top 10 Lovereading Reader Review Panel Summer Read selections. A superlative debut novel that combines the complexity and atmosphere of the best historical tales with a touching...
 
 

Reader Reviewed Iron and Rust
Harry Sidebottom
AD235, a year in Rome when six emperors each killed off his predecessor along with his family and supporters so claiming power himself. It was a frightening, uncertain time with...
 
 

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 Eagles at War: (Eagles of Rome 1)
Ben Kane
May 2015 Book of the Month. Having given us Hannibal and Spartacus, this excellent historical adventure author now features an experienced Roman...
 
 

Reader Reviewed Sea of Poppies
Amitav Ghosh
The first in the breathtaking trilogy on the history of the opium wars. This starts just before in a time of colonial upheaval, the 1830s. Full of minutiae, strong characters...
 
 

Far from the Madding Crowd
Thomas Hardy
Far From The Madding Crowd is a tale of loyalty, obsession and tragedy from a storytelling master. 2015 sees a major film release of probably Thomas Hardy's best novel, starring...
 
 

The Empty Throne
Bernard Cornwell
The latest novel to feature Uhtred of Bebbonburg, surely one of historical fiction’s most charismatic characters. Uhtred is getting old now so Bernard Cornwell has the prologue narrated by his...
 
 

The Illusionists
Rosie Thomas
May 2015 Book of the Month. A bit of a diversion for Rosie Thomas for this is a period novel of the...
 
 

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...
 
 

Written in My Own Heart's Blood
Diana Gabaldon
This is an incredible series which began with Cross Stitch in 1994. Back then Claire stepped through a stone circle in Scotland in 1945 and found herself in the...
 
 

Reader Reviewed All the Light We Cannot See
Anthony Doerr
May 2015 Book of the Month. Winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. A big book in every way, powerful, intensely...
 
 

Reader Reviewed Without a Trace
Lesley Pearse
May 2015 eBook of the Month. An enjoyable, comforting read, even with murder, intrigue and abuse, sneaking and scheming their way through...
 
 

Reader Reviewed The Lost Garden
Katharine Swartz
A charming, warm and evocative tale, told in two time frames, this is the second in theTales from Goswell’ series set in Cumbria. Eleanor’s story starts in 1918, while...
 
 

A Cruel Necessity
L. C. Tyler
Len Tyler has, until now, been best known for his humorous Ethelred and Elsie series, in which a mid-list crime writer and his intrepid agent solved perky crimes with aplomb....
 
 

Desert God
Wilbur Smith
It started with the magnificent River God in 1993. Now we have its sequel. Wilbur Smith has gone back to the start of his Egyptian series but you do not...
 
 

Reader Reviewed Oswald: Return of the King
Edoardo Albert
A triumphant continuation of the ‘Northumbrian Thrones’ trilogy; these tales are bringing to life a forgotten time, when being a King was a dangerously unpredictable job to hold. The story...
 
 

Reader Reviewed Edwin: High King of Britain
Edoardo Albert
Travel back to a time where fact weaves freely with fiction, to a land of warring kings and battling religions in this completely captivating slice of historical fiction. It really...
 
 

Shoes for Anthony
Emma Kennedy
May 2015 Book of the Month. A gloriously evocative and touching read, capable of chattering with energy one minute and settling into...
 
 

The Fifth Heart
Dan Simmons
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. Another mighty impressive doorstopper from American author Dan Simmons who seems as adept at large canvas galactic...
 
 

Dodger of the Dials
James Benmore
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. The Artful Dodger is back! London streets' most vivacious thief, leaping through sewers onto roofs and down...
 
 

The Infidel Stain
M. J. Carter
May 2015 eBook of the Month. Another impressive and enthralling investigation by the newest and most original investigating team in town. It’s...
 
 

Gwendolen
Diana Souhami
Set in the middle of the 19th century, this is the story of Gwendolen Harleth from her early twenties on. It is always from her point of view and told...
 
 

Hunting Season
Andrea Camilleri
Camilleri turns away from his famed Detective Inspector Montalbano series and gives us a tongue-in-cheek historical romp in 1880 Sicily. Don Filippo wants a son, his eccentric noble friends all...
 
 

A King's Ransom
Sharon Penman
Picking up from Lionheart, this continues the story of Richard I as he leaves the Holy Land in 1192 and is captured on the way home. Do read that...
 
 

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...
 
 

Lamentation
C. J. Sansom
Shortlisted for the CWA Endeavour Historical Dagger 2015. This magnificent series continues with one of the best. New readers will miss out a little on the character development but still...
 
 

Jam and Roses
Mary Gibson
Three different sisters, a drunken wife-beating father who also beat them when he could catch them and a very tough life in the back streets of London’s East End in...
 
 

The Strangler Vine
M. J. Carter
Absolutely riveting and fascinating in equal measure, the author seamlessly merges a fictional thrilling quest within the history of India and the East India Company during the mid 19th century....
 
 

British Bulldog A Mirabelle Bevan Mystery
Sara Sheridan
May 2015 eBook of the Month. The ‘Mirabelle Bevan Mystery’ series continues to maintain the same convincing atmosphere and assured quality, yet...
 
 

Sister Noon
Karen Joy Fowler
An enticing and quite beguiling historical tale containing a strange but perfectly balanced blend of quirky fiction and political and social commentary. Set in San Francisco in the late 19th...
 
 
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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