I recently reviewed Goodreads Top 100 Historical Fiction books. I found I had read only 43 out of the 100. After 40 years of reading, I felt my score should be much higher. Part of the problem was some historical fiction books listed are novels that do not technically qualify as historical fiction.
I’m not about to deny novels, such as Les Miserables, The Counte of Monte Cristo, Tale of Two Cities and Jane Eyre, are phenomenal books; they are. I encourage everyone to read the classics. They just, unfortunately, do not fall within the historical fiction genre.
To be termed a historical fiction novel, the novel must be written at minimum of 50 years after the time or event in question.
I decided to put together a list of my top historical fiction books. It is likely going to be a long list, so I’m going to break it down into separate blogs. I suggest you print the blogs and save them as references for your next historical fiction novel choice. I have a list on my desk of about 40 books I want to read. Each time I see an interesting title, I add it to my list.
So, with no further ado, here are my Top Historical Fiction Novels – Part I – (in no particular order):
- Memoirs of Cleopatra by Margaret George
- The Autobiography of Henry VIII by Margaret George
- Helen of Troy by Margaret George
- Mary Queen of Scott and the Isles by Margaret George
- Elizabeth I by Margaret George
- Earthly Joys by Phillipa Gregory
- Virgin Earth by Phillipa Gregory
- Fallen Skies by Phillipa Gregory
- A Respectable Trade by Phillipa Gregory
- The Constant Princess by Phillipa Gregory
- The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillipa Gregory
- The Boleyn Inheritance by Phillipa Gregory
- The Queen’s Fool by Phillipa Gregory
- The Virgin’s Lover by Phillipa Gregory
- The Other Queen by Phillipa Gregory
- The Red Queen by Phillipa Gregory
- The White Queen by Phillipa Gregory
- This Thing of Darkness by Harry Thompson
- Ironfire by David W. Ball
- Poison: A Novel of the Renaissance by Sarah Poole
If you haven’t read these books, check them out and see if they grab your interest.
I’m not starring these books, as they may have been read years, if not decades, ago. To review them now would be unfair unless I reread them. I am categorizing my top historical fiction books by author to minimize the research time required to unearth the hundreds of books I have read.