Top Ten Historical Fiction Books


Top Ten Tuesday, as  always, is hosted at my other blog — The Broke & the Bookish

This week’s topic: Top Ten Books in X Genre — I picked historical fiction!


Vixen by Jillian Larkin: 1920’s! Flappers! This is such a fun YA historical fiction series that I love!

Something Strange & Deadly by Susan Dennard: This one is fun because it’s historical fiction AND paranormal. And I loved it because it was set in my city!

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: This is one of my all time favorite books ever. And my reread was pretty excellent. And I actually enjoyed the movie — not perfect — but good!

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys: NOLA! 1950’s. In a not-so-good part of time. I LOVED this book and the story and seriously Ruta is just an amazing writer.

Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys: Pretty much anything, at this point, whatever Ruta writes I will read. This book KILLED ME. So hard to read but so much beauty hidden in the pages that tell the stories of the atrocities that happened under Stalin’s regime. It may be fiction but the history is brutally real.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Maryann Shaffer and Annie Burrows: I feel like this one is kind of underrated these days — it was super popular but now I never hear anyone talk about it. It’s an adult fiction pick and I fell in love! There’s a really cool epistolary element to it and I just feel like more people should read it!

The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen: This book was beautiful — it switches back and forth from present day and the 1940’s. Definitely a gem!

The Secret Life of Bees Sue Monk Kidd: OH THIS BOOK. I’m due for a reread! It’s been quite a while.

Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum: This book was excellent and I loooove the the mother/daughter story.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein: OBVIOUSLY IF YOU KNOW ME. One of the best books I’ve ever read. KISS ME HARDY. SOBBB.



So tell me…have you read any of these? Recommend me some historical fiction novels that YOU’VE loved or you think I would like!

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. I LOVED GUERNSEY! I just reread it this week and fell in love with it all over again. I just love epistolary novels… adds such a personal feel. And that story is just told so beautifully! LOVE

    And also, I have just realized recently how much I LOVE historical fiction, so I am going to try and read more. Including most of these that you have listed, because I have only read like….3 of them. But Secret Life of Bees…one of my all-time favorites! <3

    Jennifer @ A Librarian’s Library–My Top Ten Graphic Novels!

  2. I loved The Book Thief and Potato Peel Pie Society. Historical fiction is such a great genre – good choice. Secret Life of Bees is sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be read. So many books, so little time 🙂

  3. I love historical fiction 🙂 I have some recommendations for you based on these 🙂
    I love:
    1. The Secret Life of Bees – and recommend the Help by Kathryn Stockett!
    2. The Book Thief, Between Shades of Gray, and Potato Peel Society and recommend Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay (and I also love Number the Stars by Lois Lowry and The Boy in Striped Pajamas by John Boyne)
    And I want to read all others! Other recommendations: The Luze series (think gossip girl set in 1899) by Anna Godbersen and her Bright Young Things trilogy set in the 20s 🙂 LOVE both of these so much! And The Diviners by Libba Bray was amazing too! Also set in the 1920s and is also pretty creepy! Also Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, & The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton are two of my favorites and also really enjoyed The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman! — Sorry for all the recommendations, I just love historical fictions and we definitely seem to have similiar taste in books!!

  4. You’ve got some great books on this list. I really like historical fiction. I’m reading Something Strange and Deadly soon. I can’t wait! 🙂 I loved The Book Thief and Code Name Verity.

  5. I used to get really interested in Historical Fiction, but not so much anymore. I have The Book Thief sitting on my shelf though.. 🙂
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  6. I don’t read much of historical fiction but I’ve had Code Name Verity on my TBR list for a while now because I’m willing to go on a limb, out of my comfort zone, and read this one because I’ve read lots of great reviews of this. Plus, I’m very curious about Something Strange and Deadly. I’ve added it to my TBR list 🙂

    Thanks for sharing. Here’s My Top Ten Tuesday list 🙂

  7. HAH! I also did historical fiction today. Book Thief and Verity made my list too, obviously. I really want to read Out of the Easy – it’s definitely up there on my TBR.

  8. Great post Jamie! I really want to read numbers 1, 2, 4, 5 and 10! I’m loving The Book Thief!

  9. Code Name Verity is one of my favorite books as well, and I really liked Something Strange and Deadly. I’ve been meaning to read The Book Thief for a while now, so I have to pick it up asap.. 🙂
    Here’s my TTT

  10. Everyone who puts The book thief on their list is an instant friend. This is also one of my all time favorite books and I try to re-read it often. It’s just such a good, heart-breaking story with an unique story telling <3 Between shades of gray was very good too. I can't wait for Code name verity!

  11. I really do need to read more historical fiction. I’m rarely disappointed when I do, yet I don’t tend to gravitate towards it.

    My TTT.

  12. We did our favourite historical fiction too! The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society and Code Name Verity are on our lists! Secret Life of Bees almost made it for me but I swapped it out for Whistling Past the Graveyard.

    I really want to read Out of the Easy, and Between Shades of Grey! Oooh and I’d never heard of The Bird Sisters but looking at the description, it sounds really interesting!

    <a href="; Our TTT list.

  13. I’m working on a lesson plan unit for one of my future classes about WW2 and the Holocaust. I just visited Houston’s Holocaust museum this past weekend, where I’ll be planning a field trip visit as well. I was thinking about reading The Book Thief because 1) I have always wanted to and 2) because I think it would tie in well with this lesson plan unit. I’m happy to see it made your list today AND that it’s a favorite book overall. This makes me more excited to read it.

  14. Great list! I really want to read The Book Thief, it sounds so good.
    My TTT, I also chose historical fiction!

  15. Oh my gosh Code Name Verity. I CRIED. (Still want to re-read)

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  16. Something Strange and Deadly is such a great book!

    TTT @ Krista’s Dust Jacket

  17. JAMIE. Historical fiction is my #1 genre (especially wartime – Civil War, WWI/WWII, etc)! The majority of what I read is adult though. BUT STILL!

    Kate Morton, Lucinda Riley, and Jojo Moyes are BEASTS when it comes to hist fic. They do a lot of dual narratives/eras which makes my heart SO happy.

    Katherine Howe is absolutely fantastic and I wish she’d write ALL THE BOOKS. One of my all-time favorite novels ever is The House of Velvet and Glass. I think you’d really like this one: the MC lost her mother and sister on the Titanic and she decides to try and contact them through seances. 🙂 If you’re a fan of historical + paranormal, def check this one out! She also wrote The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane which deals with the Salem Witch Trials.

    Summerset Abbey is a great series that takes places just before/during WWI. The author, T.J. Brown, is Teri Brown who writes the YA series Born of Illusion (1920s! Houdini!)

    Therese Anne Fowler’s Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald was pretty huge last year and I’m still getting customers asking for it. Obvs this one gets me all starry-eyed.

    Two of my favorite books are Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life & Tara Conklin’s The House Girl. Life After Life follows a little girl as she grows and dies – over and over. Every time she’s reborn her life alters a bit. 1910s through both World Wars. I loved this book. The House Girl is a debut which floored me – I don’t have anything else of hers to read! This is another novel that has dual eras, Antebellum South and the present. A slave girl’s painters were attributed to her mistress and one day she made the decision to run.

    LONG COMMENT IS LONG, so I’ll end with three recent historical reads. YA: A Death-Struck Year by Makiia Lucier. 1910s + Spanish Influenza. Adult: Robin Oliveira’s I Always Loved You uses real people as characters (which I love!) and follows Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas. If you’re into art/Paris/the 1800s, this one is for you. Jean Zimmerman’s Savage Girl thoroughly enchanted me! A feral child, Manhattan high society, the Gilded Age, murder. Fantastic!

  18. Ahh! I’m a big nerd for historicals!! And I read four of what you mentioned. I’m going to check out the others. Thanks!

  19. That’s always my reaction to Kiss Me Hardy too! *sob*

    And yay for Vixen. I enjoyed book one and two (though I maintain the titles should have been swapped) but I never got around to book three. I should work on that.

  20. Great list Jamie! I chose historical fiction as well. Agreed, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was all over the place when it was first released a few years ago; I read it around the time it came out and absolutely <3 it. And of course there's The Book Thief too 🙂

    My TTT

  21. I nominated you for the Liebster Award @ my blog. 🙂 I hope you are able to participate.

  22. Is it very weird that I don’t think I’ve ever read a historical fiction book before? O-O I’m a little shocked by this fact myself. Great list though, I’ve heard good things about most of these. Maybe I need to check one out one of these days. 🙂

  23. I am OBSESSED with all things Philippa Gregory and King Henry VIII. The Other Bolyen Girl (don’t watch the movie) is still one of my all time favorites. I also like Redeeming Love, which is Christian fiction (not usually my cup of tea), but a very good read. Historical Fiction is one of my favorite genres!

  24. I did the same genre too, expect we have way different novel choices. Except for Something Strange and Deadly, although I picked A Darkness Strange and Lovely, cause let’s be real. How can you not love that series?! I am going to have to check out Vixen though – that sounds really good!

    My TTT!

  25. Ohhh, I like the 1920’s! I’ll have to check out Vixen. I listened to and loved the audiobook form of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Pie Society last year, and both the Book Thief and The Secret Life of Bees are on my TBR list. Great top ten!

    Here’s my TTT!

  26. Great list! I see some I so want to check out thanks. Have you read A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams? It’s set in the late 30’s a great summer read, the cover alone is beautiful.

  27. I need to read Vixen! I’ve been looking for more books set in the 20’s. Such a fun era and I love the flapper fashion look. I wish we could go back to that. *sigh* I haven’t read The Book Thief yet, but it’s sitting on my shelf waiting for me! And omg I just finished Code Name Verity and loved it so so so much. I read “Kiss Me Hardy” on your blog and my heart like literally tightened. *sobs* Such a beautiful and powerful story. Have you read the companion novel yet? I’m looking forward to reading that one.

  28. I don’t usually read a lot of historical fiction, but The Book Thief is on my TBR list. I am actually about to start reading Mrs. Poe, which was recommended to me by a co-worker and is historical fiction.

    Here is my TTT:

  29. Been meaning to read the “flappers” series. 😉

  30. I’ve been meaning to read Out of the Easy for a while now!!! Between Shades of Grey was powerful.. more people should read it!!

  31. I love this list! I am a big fan of historical fiction, but out of all the books on your list, I’ve only read The Book Thief and The Secret Life of Bees (both of which I loved!) I am definitely going to look into the others that you listed!

    Also, I highly recommend Kate Morton’s books to anyone who enjoys historical fiction. I think she is a lovely writer, and she manages to weave together history and multigenerational storylines absolutely brilliantly.

  32. I love Historical Fiction too! And Code Name Verity!!!!!
    My TTT

  33. Shame: I have only read one of these–VIXEN! I love The Flappers trilogy, but I still need to read the last book! I’m not really a historical fiction reader, but I’m trying/starting to get more into it. I’d recommend these: A MAD, WICKED FOLLY (suffragette movement + art), GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING (a story about the girl in the famous painting, and I LOVE it), Anna Godbersen’s Luxe series (turn of the century, 1900, upper class lives–sort of), SCARLET (ROBIN HOOD retelling). Great list! I really want to read CODE NAME VERITY, THE BOOK THIEF, SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY, and Ruta’s books! I’ve heard great things!

    Rachel @ Beauty and the Bookshelf

  34. I used to be a historical fiction junkie. Actually I used to love books about history as well. I guess I still do but I don’t read as many as I used to. Love love the Susan Dennard series. That’s one of my more recent favorites.

  35. Haha we chose the same genre! I loved The Book Thief and Between Shades of Gray as well and MUST READ CODE NAME VERITY SOON. I recommend The Help – not sure if you’ve read that already but it’s very good, one of my favourite historical fiction novels. Also The Diviners by Libba Bray which is part paranormal part historical fiction but both parts are done very very very very well.

  36. I absolutely loved The Book Thief! I read it back in January! It was my first read of the year (:
    I haven’t seen the movie, but I’ve seen some gifs of the guy playing Max and he’s PERFECT.

  37. Have you read Studio Saint-Ex? Excellent read. As is Letters from Skye. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton is also awesome. One of my favourite books.

  38. I think I need to read the Potato Peel Pie Society – it sounds like I would love it.

  39. Ah love, love, love your list!!!! Something Strange and Deadly, Out of the Easy, Between Shades of Gray, and Secret Life of Bees were all amazing!! And if you like Vixen, I think you’d like the Luxe series and the Bright Young Things series by Anna Godbersen! I loved them and those time periods in general!!


  40. Those Who Save Us is one of those books I keep picking up and putting back down. I guess I should keep it the next time I spot it!

  41. Historical fiction is a hit or miss for me. I either really enjoyed it or it was a real snooze fest. Cleopatra’s Daughter was awesome! I went to a museum about her in Philly and LOVED it! Then a few weeks later, I saw this book at Target and I read it in no time at all and really enjoyed it.
    Grave Mercy – not really historical fiction, but still another favorite of mine. All the ones I’d also mentioned it looks like you’ve already read. 🙂

  42. I love historical fiction, though I don’t read nearly enough of it! I’ve read a few on your list, and the ones I really loved were Something Strange and Deadly (Susan Dennard is the bee’s knees), Out of the Easy (so beautifully written) and The Book Thief (because it’s perfect)! I’m definitely checking out a few of these that I’ve only heard of in passing.

  43. I never really got into historical fiction. I’ve only read Out of the Easy from your list and I looved that one, so maybe I should give Between Shades of Grey a try and see how it goes from there.

  44. Search of The Moon King’s Daugther by Linda Holeman, nuff said.

  45. Great list. I needed some recommendations for my book club.

    • Hope your book club enjoys what you pick!! I also have a couple book club type posts if you want to see those recs!