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?