Confession time. I’m a historical fiction junkie. Pretty much every book I read these days is set during a different era. It’s one of my favourite ways to learn about different periods throughout history. Through these amazing stories I’ve been imprisoned in the reign of terror during the French Revolution, lived through two world wars and been locked away in a concentration camp, campaigned for women’s rights in the late 19th century, and been privy to the rise and fall of families at the Tudor Court. So if you are like me and love this genre, or if you are interested in diving into a different era, then here are some of my favourites that I’ve stumbled upon over the years.
JOSEPHINE B TRILOGY BY SANDRA GULLAND
I recently re-read these books and have come to the conclusion that it’s probably my favourite trilogy of all time. That’s right, of all time. These books are amazing. Through diary entries and letters we come to know Josephine, wife of Napoleon Bonaparte. It’s beautifully written and you feel as though you are right there with her as she is imprisoned during the revolution and then when she marries a young Napoleon Bonaparte and rises to become Empress.
Spoils of Time Trilogy by Penny Vincenzi
As a book worm, the fact that this trilogy is set in and around a publishing house was an automatic drawcard. At the start of the first book we meet Celia Lytton and her family, head of the famous Lytton Empire. Five decades, two wars and three generations later, you really do feel lost when it’s all over. You’ve been through everything with this family, watching it grow and each new generation fall in love and find their place in the world.
The Guilded Hour by Sara Donati
This is a recent-ish release and apparently the first in a series. Set in New York in the late 1880s, it tells the story of Anna Savard, a doctor treating the women and the poor of the city. The characters are fascinating and it’s quite eye-opening in that you get an insight into the lives of women during the period. Boy did they have it rough. But Anna and her cousin Sophie (who is also a doctor) are determined to improve the lives of their patients. Note: it’s not all business, there’s also a hunky love interest.
The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons
The Bronze Horseman is the first in this series and is by far my favourite of the three. In it, we meet Tatiana and Alexander who fall in love at first sight. But this is Leningrad and Russia has just entered World War II and the city is not a safe place to be. Tatiana and Alexander face all sorts of obstacles, and their love story is an epic one. It’s in the process of being adapted too, so we are all eager to see who will be cast!
the Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly
Another great trilogy, this one focuses on Fiona Finnegan, a young girl from one of the poorest neighbourhoods in London in 1888. From lowly beginnings she manages to raise herself up and become the head of a tea empire. Books two and three focus on other characters, but Fiona is always there and we get to continue her story. My favourite would probably be the second in the series, ‘The Winter Rose.’
These are just a few of my favourites from the last few years. I’m always open to suggestions though…