5 Excellent Historical Fiction Books

I was going back through my list of "Read" books on Goodreads and came across a WWII YA Historical Fiction that I had loved, but since forgotten the title of. Then I thought that I should do a list of little-known historical fiction books that I've loved to share with you. The first slot goes to the book that inspired this list.

1. Climbing the Stairs by Padma Venkatraman

This book was entrancing to me. It's a book set at the beginning of WWII and takes place in India. It's the story of a girl whose father receives a brain injury and their family must move in with relatives, where things are done differently and are fraught with trials and frustrations. It's such a beautiful, moving book about a part of the world that is rarely talked about in conjunction with the second world war.

2. Death Comes as Epiphany by Sharan Newman

This book is the first in a long mystery series about Catherine LeVendeur, a girl living in 12th century France. She is about to take her vows as a nun, but ensuing events prevent this and take her life down a vastly different path. The historical detail is breathtaking and wonderful, and Ms. Newman delves into some little known and somewhat controversial topics in a few of the books. I found them delightful and mind-opening, especially as its a time period I don't usually read about. Catherine is a wonderful character, and what I love is that the author doesn't keep Catherine in a bubble. She lives her life, marries, has children, moves around, and behaves as a person should, all while solving mysteries within her life's parameters. I found this quite refreshing!

3. Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes

This book is already a classic, but I feel like no one talks about it anymore. I've read this one several times throughout my life and love it every time. It's a story about misfortune, grudges, forgiveness, fear, discovery, and coming of age all within the backdrop of the beginnings of the Revolutionary War. Johnny Tremain is a difficult character to truly love because he's grouchy and proud, but through his trials he grows a great deal. It's a fantastic adventure that I will continue to enjoy for many years to come.

4. Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

Okay, I have a soft spot for historical mystery series, but I couldn't pass the first book up in this series. While I don't agree with the direction the author takes the series in the last few books, what I really love about this series is the level of historical detail. She delves into the many issues that faced Great Britain during and at the end of WWI. It's really wonderful to read such fantastic quality of research in a book, and Ms. Winspear does it amazingly well.

5. Guinevere by Sharan Newman

This is another book by Sharan Newman about Guinevere, the future wife of King Arthur. I found this book so fascinating because in the book, Guinevere is a girl and she lives during a time in Britain where the Roman culture and the old druid beliefs clash a little bit. I loved how Roman her home is with mosaic floors, and how she observes the old rituals of the servants. I just found it such a fascinating snapshot of time in British history with a legendary woman at its center. Arthur makes an appearance at one point in the book, but you'll have to read it to see how everything unfolds. :-)


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