Hmmm (alwaysmoi) wrote in bookish,

Historical Fiction!

Hey guys! This has possibly been done before, but it's always good to update one's book list around the holidays. Anyone have fabulous historical fiction books they'd like to recommend? Non-fiction recs are also welcome! Lately, I've been particularly interested in Mary, Queen of Scots & the English civil war. In return, here's my list of what's good these days. I've tried to skip over the obvious choices (The Other Boleyn Girl, Memoirs of a Geisha, etc.) and picked out some titles that aren't tossed around as often.


Ancient Greece

1. Black Ships by Jo Graham
2. Stealing Athena by Karen Essex
3. Helen of Troy by Margaret George

The Viking Era

1. The Thrall’s Tale by Judith Lindbergh

The Middle Ages:

1. Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones
2. The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier
3. Shield of Three Lions by Pamela Kauffman
4. The Pillars of the Earth- Ken Follett ( One of the best books I've ever read)
6. World Without End by Ken Follett
7. A Vision of Light- Judith Merkle Riley
8. Ironfire- David Ball (fabulous book! And not too many people have read it, so it seems)
9. Company of Liars by Karen Maitland
10. The Third Witch by Rebecca Reisert

Tudor/Elizabethan period

1. The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory... and the rest of her books. Gregory gets a lot of criticism for her occasional, ahem, alteration of history, but her writing style is just so darn enjoyable. I thought she particularly outdid herself with The Other Queen.
2. Mademoiselle Boleyn by Robin Maxwell
3. Portrait of an Unknown Woman by Vanora Bennett
4. The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir (her other novel, Innocent Traitor, is another excellent read)

Jacobite Scotland:

1. White Rose Rebel by Janet Paisley (Truth be told, I found this a rather averagish book, but my friend really loved it...)
2. The Prince Across the Water by Jane Yolen… (Ok, it’s a young adult book, but it’s really good.
3. Outlander by Diana Galbadon (I feel obligated to throw this one up here since so many people love it, but I personally haven’t been super impressed with the series. Galbadon is a fabulous writer, but the complete lack of plot gets to me.)

Italian Renaissance:

1. In the Company of the Courtesan by Sara Dunnant
2. Leonardo’s Swans by Karen Essex

French Revolution:

1. Mistress of the Revolution by Catherine Delors
2. The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette-Carolly Erickson


1. Indiscretion- Jude Morgan
2. The Crimson Petal and the White- Michel Faber


1. The Gilded Chamber: a novel of Esther- Rebecca Kohn
2. In the Shadow of the Ark- Anne Provoost

Some historical authors I’ve had a really difficult time enjoying include: Plaidy, Amanda Elyot, Susan Carroll, Anya Seton, and Diane Haeger....and Margaret George (blasphemy in some circles!)

And here’s some of my favorite Non-fiction:

1. In the Heart of the Sea: Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex- Nathaniel Philbrick
2. Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire- Amanda Foreman
3. Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution- Caroline Weber
4. Marie Antoinette: the Journey- Antonia Fraser
5. Queen Isabella: Treachery, Adultery, and Murder in Medieval England by Alison Weir
Tags: subject: history

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