I love historical fiction. If you also enjoy sneaking a peek into the lives of those who came before, one of these books might just be for you.
1. The Duke and I by Julia Quinn
Thanks to the Netflix series Bridgerton, you may already be familiar with this one. Strictly speaking, the Regency era may have only lasted nine years (1811-1820) but the elegant balls, honourable duels, and tribulations of debutante life still capture the hearts and minds of readers and viewers alike. This novel focuses on Daphne Bridgerton, a young debutante looking for a husband; and Simon Basset, a young man of marriageable age who chooses instead to shun all things mantrimonial. The pair decides to form a fake courtship—so that Simon can deter anyone who wishes to make him a match, and so that Daphne’s reputation and eligibility can soar.
2. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
This one has been in my to-be-read pile for some time now; but, alas, there are so many good books and so little time. In a recent post, I listed the Iliad as one of the top 10 books I couldn’t put down. The Song of Achilles is a reminaginging of the classic ancient Greek epic which was likely written circa 8th century BCE. This modern retelling focuses on the relationship between Achilles and the young prince Patroclus, and their roles in the war between the Greeks and the Trojans.
3. The Girl from the Channel Islands by Jenny Lecoat
Set in 1940, The Girl from the Channel Islands tells the tale of Hedy Bercu, a young Jewish woman from Austria. Having fled her homeland for the Channel Islands, Hedy finds herself at the mercy of the Nazis. With no other choice but to make herself indespensible, she works as a translator, but her new role doesn’t mean that she is safe. Facing danger at every turn, Hedy must save herself from being discovered and deported to the concentration camps.
4. The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
Set in 1934 Texas, this novel tells the story of the Dust Bowl era, an especially dark period of the Great Depression characterized by crop failure and extreme droughts. Like so many others, Elsa Martinelli must choose between staying and fighting to keep her land alive or leaving it all behind to head to California.
5. Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
Set in 1974 and spanning three decades, this novel centres around young Kate and Tully, two very different girls with very different life ambitions. As they grow and change, the two friends remain a constant in one anothers’ lives…until one massive act of betrayal threatens to tear them apart for good. To be honest, this isn’t a novel I’d be likely to pick up myself. But, if a heartfelt coming-of-age story about secrets and betrayal sounds like it’s up your alley, this one might be for you.