Top 5 Tuesday: Historical Fiction

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Top 5 Tuesday is a meme by the fantastic Bionic Book Worm, and it explores a different bookish topic each week. If you’d like to join in on the fun, check out the Top 5 Tuesday June topics!

I looove historical fiction. I love exploring historical events and time periods and cultures through books, and I love how they expose the different sides of humanity. Which is to say: I like my historical fiction to be heartbreaking and tragic and usually involving a war. So fair warning, nothing on this list is a happy read, but they do have a lot to say about love and perseverance and the human heart during tragic and terrible times of history.


A classic! Narrated by death itself, The Book Thief is about a little girl named Liesel who lives in Nazi Germany. I’ve read this book twice and both times I sobbed my eyes out. This book is heartwarming and heartbreaking and I love it.


I loooove this book. All the Light We Cannot See is set during World War II and tells the stories of a blind girl in France and a young boy in Germany who wins a place in the Hitler Youth because of his talent with electronics. This book is so beautifully written, and I love the gentle nature it has in telling a story consisting of such horrible events.


I read this entire book in one day because I couldn’t put it down, and it’s always the first book that comes to mind when I think of a book with a fantastic mother character. Between Shades of Gray is about a young Lithuanian girl who is deported from her home by the Soviets and is forced to live in the icy tundra of Siberia. This book lives up to its title by blurring the lines between good and evil, right and wrong, and it really made me think. Ruta Sepetys writes with such grace.


This book is a historical thriller and one of my favorite books ever. Set during 1896, it’s about a New York Times reporter and an “alienist,” or psychologist, who set about to solve a string of grisly murders involving adolescent boys. This book explores criminology and psychology during the Gilded Age in a horribly corrupt New York City and is horrifying, heartwarming, heartbreaking, heart-stopping, and humorous. And it has amazing characters.


This book made me laugh out loud and cry actual tears. It’s one of the most unique World War II books I’ve read. Set during the Nazi siege of Leningrad, two young men, after being sentenced to execution for looting and deserting, are put on a mission by a Soviet colonel to find a dozen eggs for his daughter’s wedding cake. This book is hilarious and heartbreaking and I ADORE IT.


Those are just some of my favorite historical fiction books! What are yours?

15 thoughts on “Top 5 Tuesday: Historical Fiction

  1. Pingback: Top 5 Historical Fiction – Bionic Book Worm

  2. These are awesome choices! And I love this topic – there is not nearly enough historical fiction love in the book blogging world!!!

    Some of my favorites are Burial Rites by Hannah Kent, The Pillars of the Earth, Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, Shanghai Girls by Lisa See, East of Eden… it’s hard to narrow it down!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know right! I feel like I never add enough historical fiction to my TBR because I don’t see many recommendations or people talking about them nearly as much as other genres. So I love your list!! I just check them out on Goodreads and added some of them to my TBR…Burial Rites sounds so interesting. The Pillars of the Earth has been on my radar but for some reason I never felt that push to add it to my list, but now it’s on there! And I actually have East of Eden sitting on my bookshelf, I really need to get to that. Thanks for the recs!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ahhh you should totally prioritize Burial Rites, I have a feeling you’d love it!!! It’s such a unique historical setting and features such a strong badass female character. Ugh, that book totally destroyed me in the best way possible. And I was sort of intimidated by the length of Pillars and East of Eden but they both flew by!

        And I know, same! Between YA and mysteries/thrillers I feel like there are so many genres that are getting overlooked. Maybe we’re not following the right people??? Maybe there’s a niche historical fiction book blogging community we have yet to discover. Otherwise we’ll just have to start one.


      • I just ordered a copy on Amazon, haha I’m so weak. But I’m excited! And I don’t know if there’s a niche out there, but maybe if we blog more historical fiction we’ll attract it lol. It definitely makes me want to read and blog more historical fiction. Maybe we could try to feature a book a month, not necessarily ones we’ve had to have read recently, but just to get more of it out there. I have so many historical fiction books I read before I started this blog!

        Liked by 1 person

      • YAY I can’t wait to hear what you think!! Haha, life is too short to not randomly buy books your friends recommend to you tbh.

        Ohhh that is a great idea! Like on the first of the month or whatever each feature a different historical fiction book we’ve loved? I’ll get Chelsea on board for this – she also loves hist fic!

        I know what you mean – I feel like I used to read more of it than I have recently, because I just never hear about upcoming historical fiction releases, so I get sucked into whatever the most recent buzz book is in the literary or thriller genre.

        Liked by 2 people

    • I LOVE the idea of featuring a different historical fiction novel each month or something. It’s definitely a less blogged about genre, but there are so many great books out there, it would be really fun to help get the word out.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Great choices! I ADORE All The Light We Cannot See, and I haven’t read Between Shades of Gray yet, but I read another book by the author that I enjoyed.

    I’m such a fan of historical fiction and definitely need to read more of it. My absolute favourite series of all time is Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles (set in 16th century Scotland and Europe), but I also loved Packinko and Morgan Llywelyn’s Irish Century novels. As well for historical fantasies I adore Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, and I really liked The Golem and the Jinni.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Did you Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys? That one’s also pretty good, but I loved Shades of Gray so much more.

      I’m definitely going to check those books out! I’ve heard about Pachinko and it’ on my TBR, and I looove historic fantasies.


  4. Pingback: June Wrap Up | Lost: Purple Quill

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