Top Ten Tuesday

TTT – My Favorite Historical Fictions

Top Ten Tuesday used to be a weekly post hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, but was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl. “It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.” This is definitely something I can understand and want to participate in.

Today’s prompt is a freebie, which means that my mind suddenly goes completely blank when I have to think of a topic. Does this happen to anyone else, or just me? Lately, I’ve been reading some truly awesome historical fiction, so I want to talk about my ten favorites books/series that take place in the past.

  1. The Saxon Stories by Bernard Cornwell — you may be familiar with this series if you have watched The Last Kingdom on Netflix, but seriously? The books are way better.
  2. The Kingsbridge series by Ken Follett — yeah, these books are serious chonks, clocking in at close to 1000 pages apiece, but they’re so worth it, and I found myself way more intrigued by the building of a cathedral in England than I ever thought I could be.
  3. The Pomegranate by S.J. Schwaidelson — this book tells the story of a young Jewish woman who is abducted on her way to her wedding, and the incredible adventures that she had.
  4. Rebel Daughter by Lori Bank Kaufmann — telling the story of a young Jewish woman during the destruction of Jerusalem in the first century, and I was so caught up in this story.
  5. The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman — I’ve visited Masada in Israel, and this book tells the story of the fall of Jerusalem and what happened at Masada thousands of years ago.
  6. The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon — while this isn’t strictly historical fiction, it also incorporates romance and some fantasy elements set against major historical events.
  7. The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead — this was such a powerful and heartbreaking story, and it’s clearly destined to be a modern classic.
  8. The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah — I don’t read a lot of historical fiction set in America, but this tale of the Great Depression was absolutely mind-blowing.
  9. A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende — she is one of my favorite authors, and this book was incredible. It tells the story of the Spanish Civil War and the resulting migration to Chile. 
  10. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi — this sweeping family saga follows two branches of a family from Ghana, one that was enslaved and brought to America, and one that remained in Ghana. It’s beautiful and heartbreaking, and I highly recommend giving it a read.

What are some of your favorite historical fiction books or series?

32 replies »

    • Thank you! I haven’t read Wolf Hall yet, but it’s absolutely on my TBR. And I love learning about different cultures and places, so I always feel like historical fiction is a great way to do so. I’m definitely going to check out your post – sounds interesting!

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  1. These are great, Leah! I still need to read The Four Winds, I hear only good things about it.. I just haven’t had time.
    Have you heard of the Avalon series by Marion Zimmer Bradley? You might find that interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Sheri! You absolutely need to read The Four Winds – you won’t be able to put it down. I love the Avalon series by MZB! I’ve read it since I was a teenager, and periodically go back to it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great list,
    I have been meaning to read Long Petal of the Sea and the Four Winds for ages but haven’t gotten round to it. I DNF’d Homegoing last year though as it was a bit too harrowing for me.

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    • Thank you! Homegoing was tough to read at times, but I stuck it out because I felt like the story was so important. Long Petal of the Sea was such a great story, and I hope you enjoy reading them if you get to them!

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  3. Thank you for including THE POMEGRANATE. Of course, that’s my favorite historical fiction. (grin)

    My taste runs to well researched accuracy in historic storytelling, soI would have to say THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH by Ken Follett would be a close second, followed by THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY by Irving Stone. Both did a stupendous job of bringing the reader into the period, something I attempted to do with The Pom.

    I wanna be Ken Follett when I grow up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, you’re awesome! Of course I had to include The Pomegranate – it was so beautiful of a story, and I kind of want to get everyone to read it! I haven’t read The Agony and the Ecstasy, but I’m going to add it to my TBR!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think you’ll love Agony. Irving Stone had a unique way of breathing life into his subjects. The President’s Lady is really good, as is Lust for Life. He was really the first historical writer I followed. And, when I met him at a book signing, I was totally struck dumb. He and my husband both had a really good laugh at my pfumpfuring.

        Meanwhile, I wish more people would read The Pomegranate. Thank you for supporting the effort.

        But I still wanna be Ken Follett when I grow up. He is totally cool.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I already added it to my TBR! Thanks for the heads up, and I couldn’t imagine meeting a writer without pfumpfuring hahaha (I know the word but never thought about the spelling). I shout about The Pomegranate every chance I get. If you keep working, who knows? Maybe you could be Ken Follett when you grow up!

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    • Thank you! I don’t see her books come up to often, but I’ve read a few and loved each one so much, and definitely think she needs more exposure. I hope you check out a few of these!

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    • There’s some I definitely struggle with, but this is a list I fully stand behind as great reads. Kristin Hannah is an incredibly talented writer, and I’m planning to read some more of her work soon.

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    • Whoa! I wish I could read a book in another language – I might be able to manage one in Spanish, if it’s a children’s book, though. I hope you get to read these books and love them like I did!

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