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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.

Books of the Month

Reader Reviewed I Can't Begin to Tell You
Elizabeth Buchan
April 2015 Book of the Month. A major departure for Elizabeth Buchan for this is an espionage tale set mostly in Denmark in the Second World War. If you are wanting a...
Format: Paperback - Released: 26/03/2015
     
Reader Reviewed The Cavendon Women
Barbara Taylor Bradford
April 2015 Book of the Month. This follows on from Cavendon Hall and is a projected series of novels set around a stately home in Yorkshire and its occupants, upstairs and...
Format: Hardback - Released: 26/03/2015
     
Reader Reviewed The Iron Necklace
Giles Waterfield
April 2015 Book of the Month. 1910 and a successful German architect, Thomas, marries an up-and-coming British artist, Irene. This is the story of their lives and families through the next three...
Format: Paperback - Released: 02/04/2015
     
Reader Reviewed A Place Called Winter
Patrick Gale
April 2015 Book of the Month. A slight departure for this highly regarded author being an historical tale of Edwardian London and Canada based on a true story from his family history....
Format: Hardback - Released: 24/03/2015
     
Reader Reviewed Eagles at War Eagles of Rome
Ben Kane
Having given us Hannibal and Spartacus, this excellent historical adventure author now features an experienced Roman centurion, Lucius Tullus, and places him against the German tribesmen of the Rhine (AD9) in the battle of Teutoburg Forest, one of the greatest...
Format: Hardback - Released: 23/04/2015
     

Other Featured Books this Month

Direct Hit
Mike Hollow
April 2015 Debut of the Month. A wonderfully uncomplicated and somehow charming read about a murder investigation during the Second World War. This isn't...
Format: Paperback - Released: 20/03/2015
     
Reader Reviewed The Art of Waiting
Christopher Jory
April 2015 eBook of the Month. A captivating and very human tale that transports you to the heart of what really matters. Although set before, during and after the Second World War,...
Format: Hardback - Released: 16/04/2015
     
The Lady from Zagreb
Philip Kerr
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. Cynical Berlin cop Bernie Gunther who has, through a series of captivating novels, engineered his way through the pitfalls and abysses of Nazi-times Germany and the opening...
Format: Hardback - Released: 07/04/2015
     
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 Carey Mulligan, Michael Sheen and Tom Sturridge.
Format: Paperback - Released: 09/04/2015
     
Child 44
Tom Rob Smith
This is a brilliant first novel from an exceptional writer. Set in Stalinist Russia, it is a tight and gripping tale of an MGB officer who starts to question his superiors and sees through the doctrine of Communist propaganda. Not...
Format: Paperback - Released: 26/03/2015
     
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
     
The Paying Guests
Sarah Waters
Shortlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2015. London 1922. Frances and her mother lost all their male relatives in the war and are left struggling with a big house in Camberwell. They take in lodgers, a young married...
Format: Hardback - Released: 28/08/2014
     
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 first book are followed here, you will appreciate this so...
Format: Paperback - Released: 10/05/2012
     
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 and vivid images, this sweeps you through a fascinating period...
Format: Paperback - Released: 16/04/2009
     
Reader Reviewed The Misbegotten
Katherine Webb
Unusual for Katherine Webb, this new novel of hers is placed in one time only, the early 1800s. It starts slowly but soon you fall for her characters and their predicaments and by the end of the novel you are...
Format: Paperback - Released: 26/03/2015
     
Crooked Heart
Lissa Evans
Longlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction 2015. A touching tale of an educated, free thinking lad and his relationship with an unscrupulous family upon whom he is billeted during the Blitz. This is a war story with a...
Format: Hardback - Released: 06/11/2014
     
The Heroes' Welcome
Louisa Young
The sequel to My Dear, I Wanted To Tell You which was set during World War I. This is 1919 and Riley has returned from the front with part of his face missing. This damage is obvious but his...
Format: Paperback - Released: 09/04/2015
     
The Taxidermist's Daughter
Kate Mosse
This is magnificent. It’s a gothic tale of murder, superstition and mystery that will really keep you glued to your seat. Four gentlemen gather and something happens. Now ten years later, in 1912, they must pay for that night. You,...
Format: Paperback - Released: 12/03/2015
     
The Dressmaker of Dachau
Mary Chamberlain
Spanning the intense years of war, The Dressmaker of Dachau is a dramatic tale of love, conflict, betrayal and survival. It is the compelling story of one young woman's resolve to endure and of the choices she must make at...
Format: Hardback - Released: 09/04/2015
     
The Wake
Paul Kingsnorth
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 is also shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize and the Gordon...
Format: Paperback - Released: 30/04/2015
     
The Repercussions
Catherine Hall
A heartbreaking story of war contrasting two women, one a nurse during World War I who is based in the Brighton Pavilion nursing injured Indian soldiers but only in a supervisory capacity as actually nursing Indians is demeaning for a...
Format: Paperback - Released: 15/04/2015
     
The White Russian
Vanora Bennett
A great story, a great read and a fascinating period. This is Paris 1937 set mostly among the Russian émigré community. Twenty-one year old Evie, an American girl, goes to visit her grandmother who has a stroke and dies leaving...
Format: Paperback - Released: 26/03/2015
     
Theft of Life
Imogen Robertson
London 1785. The effects and cruelty of the slave trade appals many but there are those who will kill to protect their reputation. This is the heart of this wonderful crime novel. It is part of a series featuring Captain...
Format: Paperback - Released: 26/03/2015
     
The Storms of War
Kate Williams
A wealthy English family suffers the effects of World War I. The hook here is that the father is of German extraction and imprisoned once the war starts. Naturally this really does shatter the family. We see the whole...
Format: Paperback - Released: 12/03/2015
     
Plague
C. C. Humphreys
A horrific tale not only of the plague (1665) but also of the crimes taking place under its cover. Gruesome and bloody, it tells of a series of murders where the victims are dismembered and carved up like cattle...
Format: Paperback - Released: 26/03/2015
     
The Night Falling
Katherine Webb
The devastating effect of the First World War in rural Italy is portrayed here in Puglia in 1921. The absentee landowners left their farms to be run by fascist black shirts, often at a loss. The poor live a hand-to-mouth...
Format: Paperback - Released: 26/03/2015
     
Havana Sleeping
Martin Davies
A tale of early espionage and skulduggery that spills over from London to Cuba. George Blackhouse is immensely flattered when promoted and sent to Havana with his wife to investigate the strange goings-on of various ships in and out of...
Format: Paperback - Released: 26/03/2015
     

Last Month's Featured Books

Reader Reviewed The King's Sister
Anne O'Brien
March 2015 Book of the Month. A passionate, all-consuming yet very sad love story in violent times, that of Elizabeth of Lancaster,...
 
 
Reader Reviewed Holy Spy
Rory Clements
A galloping good yarn, stuffed full to the brim with double crossing intrigue, yet intelligently braced against historical fact and figures. The mostly cool, calm and collected spy John Shakespeare...
 
 
The Leopards of Normandy: Devil
David Churchill
The first in a trilogy of William the Conqueror. With four pages of Personnae and over 500 pages of story you really do get a huge slice of history which,...
 
 
Frost in the Sun
Claire Lorrimer
A daughter of a Spanish aristocrat is sent to a boarding school in England, becomes friendly with a quiet girl and embraced by her family. But this is the 1930s...
 
 
The General
C. S. Forester, Sir Max Hastings
Forester is now best known for his Hornblower series but this gem is a vivid and visceral depiction of the First World War. Born in 1899 Forester tried to enlist...
 
 
The Whispering City
Sara Moliner
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. Since the deserved worldwide success of Zafon's cultured thrillers, Barcelona has been the place to go...
 
 
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...
 
 
Last Year's Nightingale
Claire Lorrimer
First published in 1984 Hodder are bringing this lovely author’s work back for a new audience. Being historical novels they don’t date. Claire is a prolific and passionate writer who...
 
 
The Munitions Girls
Rosie Archer
A Glasgow-based, wartime saga about the importance of friendship. Three girls work in the munitions factory and help each other in their different ways. Of course when the factory blows...
 
 
Reckless
William Nicholson
From Hiroshima to the Cuban Crisis, a novel that centres on the fear of the nuclear bomb, bringing in the Profumo affair, the Cold War and the threat of the...
 
 
The Silent Boy
Andrew Taylor
In the Scent of Death Andrew Taylor introduced us to Edward Savill, a young English clerk in British controlled Manhattan at the height of the American War of Independence in...
 
 
Tell the Girl
Sandra Howard
A glamorous novel geared towards the older woman coming to terms with age and all it entails … wrinkles etc! With fascinating detail on the modelling life in America in...
 
 
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...
 
 
Reader Reviewed The Raven's Head
Karen Maitland
March 2015 Book of the Month. The quest for eternal life; a tale of alchemy and skulduggery in the thirteenth century. Starting...
 
 
The Darkest Hour
Barbara Erskine
March 2015 Book of the Month. What can I say about this fabulous book? That it is classic Erskine time-slip drama of...
 
 
Reader Reviewed A Perfect Heritage
Penny Vincenzi
March 2015 Book of the Month. An author renowned for big books has surpassed herself and written a huge, 939 page, tome....
 
 
Reader Reviewed Kingdom
Robyn Young
Fans of Robyn Young will know of her superb research for this is the concluding volume of an epic trilogy of Robert the Bruce, so the first half of the...
 
 
The Vanishing Witch
Karen Maitland
Set against the Peasants’ Revolt and the poll tax (yes, they had one in the 1380s), this is an involved, long, medieval drama of ordinary people caught up in extraordinary...
 
 
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...
 
 
The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion
Fannie Flagg
Just sit down and wallow in the glorious comfort of this book. It is small-town America which Fannie Flagg is so good at. It stars Sookie, a sweet, slightly dippy,...
 
 
Ashes in the Wind
Christopher Bland
Successful businessman and former chairman of the BBC writes his first novel aged 75. It is a huge history of the 20th century from 1908 as seen through the eyes...
 
 
Frog Music
Emma Donoghue
Emma Donoghue has done it again, produced another novel totally unlike anything she has written so far. This one is a light, easy read of the tangled relationships of colourful...
 
 
The King's Curse
Philippa Gregory
A big detailed account of Henry VIII’s life from pre-throne to courting Jane Seymour, only all seen through the life of Margaret Pole, née Plantagenet, the family displaced by Henry...
 
 
A Man Lies Dreaming
Lavie Tidhar
There have been many alternate histories with a crime setting before but this new novel by a young Israeli author writing in English is one of the most challenging and...
 
 
The Royalist
S. J. Deas
The 1640s, the Royalists have lost, dragoon officer Falkland awaits execution but is offered his freedom in return for sorting out some strange goings on in Cromwell’s New Model Army...
 
 
Turning the Stones
Debra Daley
The story opens in Ireland in 1766 where a mystical woman is turning stones to influence events and so “bring the child home …” We then move to London and...
 
 
The Cartographer of No Man's Land
P. S. Duffy
Moving, convincing and superbly written, The Cartographer of No Man’s Land is a novel you feel privileged to have read. From the stormy turbulent ocean off of Nova Scotia,...
 
 
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...
 
 

The Month Before's Featured Books

Reader Reviewed The Book of Lost and Found
Lucy Foley
February 2015 Debut of the Month. One of those involved family dramas of uncertain...
 
 
Drums of Autumn
Diana Gabaldon
The fourth in Gabaldon’s Outlander series. Jamie and Claire seem likely to finally have a happy life in Georgia but two hundred years in the future their daughter, Brianna, must...
 
 
Dragonfly in Amber
Diana Gabaldon
The second in Gabaldon’s Outlander series starts in 1968 with Claire and her daughter Brianna having gone to visit an old family friend following Frank’s death as Claire hopes to...
 
 
The Fiery Cross
Diana Gabaldon
The fifth in Gabaldon’s Outlander series. Claire and Jamie are happily helping Brianna and Roger settle into their new life – and family – in pre-independence America. But trouble is...
 
 
Voyager
Diana Gabaldon
The third in Gabaldon’s Outlander series. At the start of the book Jamie and Claire are separated by centuries. Jamie’s survived Culloden but pretty much wishes he hadn’t and his...
 
 
Reader Reviewed Sisters of Treason
Elizabeth Fremantle
February 2015 Book of the Month. This is indeed a novel for obviously all the conversations are imagined but it is so...
 
 
Cross Stitch
Diana Gabaldon
The first in Gabaldon’s Outlander series which has now been made into a TV series. Claire is a nurse whose service in the Second World War has kept her and...
 
 
A Breath of Snow and Ashes
Diana Gabaldon
The sixth in Gabaldon’s Outlander series. As the sparks of revolution threaten to ignite into a full blown war all of Jamie’s beliefs and morals are to be tested as...
 
 
The Anchoress
Robyn Cadwallader
February 2015 Debut of the Month. A quietly, deep and fascinating debut novel proving...
 
 
The Hourglass Factory
Lucy Ribchester
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. A splendid debut for a new Scottish author until now best known for her short stories, this...
 
 
Reader Reviewed Masters of Rome : Vespasian V
Robert Fabbri
This is the fifth in Fabbri’s excellent series charting the life of Vespasian, an ordinary Roman soldier who rose through the ranks of the army and society to ultimately become...
 
 
Everland
Rebecca Hunt
1913: Dinners, Millet-Bass, and Napps - three men bound not by friendship, but by an intense dependence founded on survival - will be immortalised by their decision to volunteer to...
 
 
The Road to Samarcand Includes Noughts and Crosses, Two's Company and No Pirates Nowadays
Patrick O'Brian
Published to celebrate what would have been Patrick O’Brian’s 100th birthday, this reissue of his first sea-faring novel also includes three short stories which haven’t been in print since they...
 
 
Gretel and the Dark
Eliza Granville
Vienna, 1899. Josef Breuer - celebrated psychoanalyst - is about to encounter his strangest case yet. Found by the lunatic asylum, thin, head shaved, she claims to have no name,...
 
 
Reader Reviewed Wolf Winter
Cecilia Ekback
February 2015 Debut of the Month. The most impressive thing about this extraordinary book...
 
 
The Longest Fight
Emily Bullock
A grim and gritty tale of life, death and boxing in post war London. The squalid atmosphere of Camberwell and our protagonist, Jack’s desperation for a better life are powerfully...
 
 
Master of War: Defiant Unto Death
David Gilman
Thomas Blackstone takes to the battlefied once more as the Black Prince takes the fight to the French.
 
 
The May Bride
Suzannah Dunn
The life of the young Seymour family, of Jane whom we meet aged 15, of Edward and his spirited wife Elizabeth, both 21, and young Thomas, plus of course Seymour...
 
 
The Last Kind Words Saloon
Larry McMurtry
The publishers dub this a ‘ballad in prose’ and that’s exactly how it feels. We meet ageing Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday outside the Last Kind Words Saloon in Long...
 
 
Ross Poldark
Winston Graham
Winston Graham started writing his famous Poldark series in the 40s and 50s, eventually spinning them into twelve novels (the last published in 2002) a gripping saga of Ross Poldark...
 
 
The Strings of Murder
Oscar de Muriel
A locked room murder and more which has the Victorian detective fearing the supernatural. It begins a series to star London detective Frey pairing up with Scottish McGray whose first...
 
 
The Lovers of Amherst
William Nicholson
An affair between Mabel Todd and Austin Dickinson in 1881 is at the centre of this lovely dual-time tale. It is being researched in 2013 by Alice Dickinson, attracted to...
 
 
The Boston Girl
Anita Diamant
A beautifully drawn story of Abbie, an 85-year old daughter of Russian immigrants who relates her entire life to her granddaughter, Ava. We go back to Abbie’s school days, learn...
 
 
Winter Siege
Ariana Franklin
The sad loss of this lovely author brought a fine medieval series featuring Adelia Aguilar to a close but this stand-alone, unfinished manuscript was left. Her daughter, Samantha, decided to...
 
 
Neverhome
Laird Hunt
This is the story of Gallant Ash during two hard years of war. Married to a quiet, weak man she decides to take his place when he’s called up to...
 
 
The Temporary Gentleman
Sebastian Barry
February 2015 Book of the Month. Like Roddy Doyle, Sebastian Barry is one of those great Irish writers whose characters get under...
 
 
Friend & Foe A Hew Cullan Mystery
Shirley Mckay
The fourth in the ‘Hew Cullan Mystery’ series spins a crooked web of devious plotting and deceit. It comes as no surprise to discover the author studied linguistics at the...
 
 
The Secret of Magic
Deborah Johnson
This story is amazing as indeed is its lyrical writing. From the Southern American dialect to Mr Willie Willie’s made up words to wonderful descriptions of the country, forest and...
 
 
Herring Girl
Debbie Taylor
A surprising and hauntingly insightful story, that takes you gently by the hand on an intimate journey; emotionally, reflectively and in time. The author has the ability to weave the...
 
 
The Care and Management of Lies
Jacqueline Winspear
A new stand-alone novel from NY Times bestselling author Jacqueline Winspear.Ties between Kezia & Thea, friends since girlhood, have become strained - by Thea's embrace of women's suffrage & the...
 
 
Nunslinger: The Complete Series
Stark Holborn
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. When was the last time you read a western? Well, the time has come. Following the Booker-nominated...
 
 
A Study in Murder
Robert Ryan
A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. A third solo case for Doctor Watson (following Dead Man's Land and The Dead Can...
 
 
Reader Reviewed Vespasian: Tribune of Rome
Robert Fabbri
First in a red-blooded historical adventure series charting the rise of Vespasian from rural obscurity to Emperor of Rome. A seamless blend of imperial politics, chariot races, sex and sword...
 
 
Reader Reviewed Rome's Executioner
Robert Fabbri
Rome's Executioner: the second instalment in the epic Vespasian series that chronicles the rise from humble origins of one man to fulfil his destiny as one of Rome's greatest Emperors....
 
 
Reader Reviewed False God of Rome
Robert Fabbri
Action, adventure and battle in the third instalment of Robert Fabbri's bestselling Vespasian series: rebellions in the provinces, murders and political manoeuvrings in the Eternal City - and a mission...
 
 
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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