Riot Recommendation

50! Of Your Picks For Best Historical Fiction Books

Jamie Canaves

Contributing Editor

Jamie Canavés is the Tailored Book Recommendations coordinator and Unusual Suspects mystery newsletter writer–in case you’re wondering what you do with a Liberal Arts degree. She’s never met a beach she didn’t like, always says yes to dessert, loves ‘80s nostalgia, all forms of entertainment, and can hold a conversation using only gifs. You can definitely talk books with her on Litsy and Goodreads. Depending on social media’s stability maybe also Twitter and Bluesky.

This Riot Recommendation collecting your picks for best historical fiction books is sponsored by CADENZA by Stella Riley, a vibrant historical romance in The Times recommended Rockliffe series.

Cadenza cover imageDon’t miss this heart-warming historical romance with vibrant characters and exquisite period detail! In CADENZA, Julian Langham was poised on the brink of a dazzling career when the lawyers lured him into making a catastrophic mistake. Now, instead of the concert platform, he has a title he doesn’t want, an estate verging on bankruptcy, and bewildering responsibilities for which he is totally unfitted. Will the young lady employed to rescue his house from chaos succeed before the famed Duke of Rockliffe discovers her charade? “Cadenza is a feast for the senses.”—Rakes and Rascals

We excitedly awaited your answers to what you thought are the best historical fiction books and you did not disappoint! While I personally have a sweet spot for feminist historical mysteries like A Study In Scarlet Women and The Widows of Malabar Hill, I really love all historical fiction so I jotted down all the ones on this list I hadn’t read. And here’s your big ol’ list of best historical fiction books:

The Impossible Girl by Lydia Kang

Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina

Human Acts by Han Kang

Murder Between the Lines by Radha Vatsal

The Mortifications by Derek Palacio

A Death of No Importance by Mariah Fredericks

A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee

Lady Sherlock series by Sherry Thomas

The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

The Kindness of Enemies by Leila Aboulela

The Red Tent by Anita Diamont

What the Lady Wants by Renee Rosen

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Once We Were Brothers by Ronald H. Balson

The Keening by Margaret Pinard

Hawaii by James Michener

Aubrey–Maturin series by Patrick O’Brian

Molokai by Alan Brennert

The Josephine Bonaparte Trilogy by Sandra Gulland

The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillippa Gregory

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

The Atomic Weight of Love by Elizabeth J. Church

Kindred by Octavia Butler

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

Stone’s Fall by Iain Pears

Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans

The Kingsbridge Trilogy by Ken Follett

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters

Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn

The Crimson Petal and the White by Michael Faber

The Physician by Noah Gordon

Shadow of the Moon by M.M. Kaye

The Stranger Prince by Margaret Irwin

Sir John Fielding mysteries by Bruce Alexander

The Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett

As Meat Loves Salt by Maria McCann

North & South series by John Jakes

Heresy by Melissa Lenhardt

The Earl by Cecelia Holland

Aztec by Gary Jennings

Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln by Stephen L. Carter

Century Trilogy by Ken Follett

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Legacy by Susan Kay

Little by Edward Carey