25 Best Selling Historical Fiction Books You Need to Read


If you’re one of those people who insist that reading about history is boring, then you’re not alone. From the dry memorization of wars and rulers to the watered down way that textbooks depict controversial events of the past, lessons on history can really become a snooze.

Believe it or not, the way history is presented is what leaves you feeling uninterested, like the past has nothing to do with life today. Not so! The social problems of yesterday continue to impact present day society, including you and I.

My advice? Read a good, historical fiction book and Breathe life back into the forgotten moments of history.  

Historical fiction was introduced to the literary world in the early 19th century by the Scottish playwright and poet, Sir Walter Scott. It presents history in a nuanced way allowing readers to re-image famous, historical events and/or characters from the past.  Surprisingly, this motivates the reader to engage and explore events of the past from perspectives that would otherwise be overlooked.

Women’s historical fiction is a prime example of this; highlighting strong female characters whose voice might usually be omitted from traditional, historical texts. Having the freedom to explore multiple perspectives and to wrestle with topics that would otherwise be avoided (such as human cruelty and suffering) is often what is needed in order to pique the interest of most readers, whether they’re a “history buff” or not.  

Historical fiction alone might not provide all of the factual details that someone focused on historicity would look for but for those interested in exploring history in a nuanced way, historical fiction is a great introduction.  

Here are 25 of the best historical fiction novels to get you started:


The Nightingale

By Kristin Hannah

The House by The Lake

By Ella Carey

Two sisters navigate the challenges of German occupied France during World War II while working to maintain their humanity. Anna’s grandfather charges her with the task of retrieving a memento that he was separated from seventy years prior.

A Gentleman in Moscow: A Novel

by Amor Towles

All The Light We Cannot See: A Novel

by Anthony Doerr

The story of an aristocrat who is stripped of his belongings and placed on house arrest where he wrestles with the question: what makes us who we are?

A National Book Award Finalist that offers a captivating depiction of Word War II and its aftermath.

The Promise: A Novel by Ann Weisgarber

by Ann Weisgarber

The Firebird

By Susanna Kearsley

 A story set in the 1900s’ filled with scandal, heartbreak and a love triangle that leaves the main characters feeling tested like never before.  A clairvoyant, time traveling main character is led on a quest through Russia that reveals an unexpected story of love, courage and redemption.

The Dollhouse: A Novel

By Fiona Davis

Lilac Girls: A Novel

By Martha Hall Kelly

 A New York city tale about a present day journalist consumed with uncovering a dark secret related to the popular Barbizon Hotel.  A New York Times Bestseller about the power of women and their ability to change history in their pursuit of happiness.

The Last Woman Standing

by Thelma Adams

The Wonder

By Emma Donoghue

 A retelling of a classic American gunfight at the O.K. Corral with a back story of the legendary Wyatt Earp’s improbable romance with the main character.  A psychological thriller about an 11 year old girl has survived without food for months claiming to have lived on manna from heaven.

Three Sisters, Three Queens

By Phillippa Gregory

Mercer Girls

By Libbie Hawker

Depicts a story of three queens who are also three sisters & the roles they played  in Henry VIII’s kingdom. An 1864 tale of two women’s attempt to survive the Civil War by becoming upscale, mail- order brides.


Daughters of the Dragon

By William Andrews

Circling the Sun: A Novel

by Paula McLain

Inspired by Memiors of a Geisha, this riveting story of the strength and courage one young woman embodies as she endures suffering at the hands of the Japanese gives insight into the effects that war has on women. Framed in the context of trans-Atlantic flight, this novel tackles issues pertaining to the struggles women of the English-speaking world faced during the 20th century; some of which are still relevant today.


Orphan Train A Novel

By Christina Baker Kline

The Marriage of Opposites

By Alice Hoffman

A young girl and an old woman discover they have more in common than expected in this compelling story about loss, adaptability and courage. Set in the early 1800’s, this story details the life of famous impressionist painter Camille Pizzarro and his strong- willed mother in their fight to maintain their faith and their happiness in the face of racial divides and persecution.

Behold the Dreamers: A Novel

By Imbolo MBue


By Alan Moore

In his search for a better life, Jende Jonga brings his family to the United States only to endure a collapsing economy that threatens to dismantle his marriage and family. Often said to be a “story about everything” this (roughly) 1,200 page story is told from the perspective of important historical figures like Albert Einstein.

Black Crossing

By C.K. Crigger

Miramont’s Ghost

By Elizabeth Hall

A story about what happens when the honor of one collides with the revenge sought by another. The story of a clairvoyant girl whose Aunt isolates and imprisons her to keep her from uncovering the dark secrets of her aristocratic French family.

While the World is Still Asleep

By Petra Durst-Benning

The One I Was

By Eliza Graham

The main character, Josephine, pushes the limits of social order as she attempts to find a way to ride a bicycle on the streets of Berlin in 1890, without provoking a scandal. A tale set in Fairfleet, England about a friendship that emerges unexpectedly between Rosamond Hunter and her patient. A relationship that could potentially help them both deal with issues of forgiveness across generations.

While You Were Mine

By Ann Howard Creel

The Lost Girls: A Novel

By Heather Young

A story of love and trust during the end of World War II. A tale about loyalty and the sacrifice we make for those we love.

The Watchmaker’s Daughter

By C.J. Archer

At the risk of being unemployed and homeless, India must decide whether to take employment with the only person who will accept her or turn him over to the authorities; him and his special watch.





About the Author

Deneen Tyler Mompreneur | Content Creator| Virtual Assistant at "DTyler Consulting Services and Virtual Assistance"| Lover of all things positive, especially energy and vibes!