The Other Boleyn Girl
December 1st 2022
My first historical fiction love was Philippa Gregory. Through her books I became utterly obsessed with the Tudor dynasty and the intrigues of the War of the Roses. The draw of the Tudor period is demonstrably huge in British culture. We are obsessed with Henry VIII and can’t seem to get enough of the media set in the period. The repressed and highly controlled court environment, hiding a bubbling pot of betrayal, sex and plotting is clearly a seductive topic.
There are of course different types of seduction within the historical fiction genre and once I had worked my way through the various Tudor queen series, I was keen for more and so, ignorant of the content, picked up Philippa Gegory’s debut novel Wideacre - if you haven’t read it then I can pre warn you that it has a level of incest and horse riding to rival game of thrones, but with kinkier uses for the riding equipment.
Whilst Hilary Mantel and Philippa Gregory have more or less dominated the historical fiction for the Tudor period (and all the kinky fan fiction too) there is a huge wealth of incredible historical fiction covering a much wider range of historical moments. So if you have also read most of the available Tudor fiction and are looking for something else to scratch that period drama itch then look no further than this list of our favourite historical fiction novels.
The Rose Code
The other great British love in the world of historical fiction is of course world war literature. From The Imitation Game to The Book Thief, thousands of authors and filmmakers have found inspiration in the challenging times faced by those living through the first and second world wars. The Rose Code is a fantastic addition to historical fiction set during the second world war. Prepare to be entirely absorbed by this novel that follows the story of three women working at Bletchley Park to crack codes that will change history.
The Wolf Den
This one takes you back the furthest in time to Pompeii in 74 AD (just five years before the eruption of Mount Vesuvius). If you have ever walked in the ruins of Pompeii or learnt Latin with Caecilius this is absolutely the book for you. Elodie Harper brings this ancient city, and some of the dark corners it contained, to life brilliantly.
Orphans of the Storm
Another landmark moment in British history, the sinking of the Titanic, sent tidal waves of personal and historical impacts through Britain. In this novel Celia Imrie takes us deep into the experience of one of those on board, which paired with some formidable research will take you right onto the deck of the Titanic’s cursed maiden voyage.
The grimy streets of 18th century London, the fun of an adrenaline packed thriller; and a fantastic mystery to keep you guessing: in this historical thriller, Leonora has mixed together all of our favourite things to create the perfect read. Dive into the streets of 18th century London and enjoy.