Recommended historical fiction

The Dance Tree

The Dance Tree

Kiran Millwood Hargrave

The gripping new novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Mercies, The Dance Tree is a transporting story of lust, family secrets and women under the eye of the Church.

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 Read reviewThe Seamstress of Sardinia

The Seamstress of Sardinia

Bianca Pitzorno, Brigid Maher

An immersive and vividly written historical novel for anyone who loved Ferrante's Neapolitan novels or Tracy Chevalier's Girl with a Pearl Earring.

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 Read reviewFour Treasures of the Sky

Four Treasures of the Sky

Jenny Tinghui Zhang

A powerful, sweeping debut about a smuggled Chinese girl fighting to find her place in the 1880s American West

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The Language of Food

The Language of Food

Annabel Abbs

Eliza Acton, despite having never before boiled an egg, became one of the world's most successful cookery writers. Her story is fascinating, uplifting and inspiring. With recipes that leap to life from the page, The Language of...

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 Read reviewBooth

Booth

Karen Joy Fowler

A major new novel from million-copy bestselling author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves.

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The Colony of Good Hope

The Colony of Good Hope

Kim Leine, Martin Aitken

An immensely powerful epic of colonialism, set in 18th-century Greenland, about the great forces of nature, the meeting of cultures and fathers and sons.

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The Silence of Water

The Silence of Water

Sharron Booth

It's the turn of the century when Fan's mother, Agnes, announces the family is moving to Western Australia to take care of Agnes's father - a man they've never spoken of before now. Fan finds herself a stranger in a new town...

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Beasts of a Little Land

Beasts of a Little Land

Juhea Kim

An expansive epic spanning the turbulent decades of Korea's fight for independence, perfect for fans of Min Jin Lee's Pachinko

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The Paris Bookseller

The Paris Bookseller

Kerri Maher

The captivating story of a trailblazing young woman who fought against incredible odds to bring one of the most important books of the twentieth century to the world.

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 Read reviewDevotion

Devotion

Hannah Kent

Hannah Kent's long-awaited novel demonstrates her sublime ability with language that creates an immersive, transformative experience for the reader. Devotion is a book to savour.

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The Sweetness of Water

The Sweetness of Water

Nathan Harris

A powerful American debut set during the Civil War and portraying life after slavery in the vein of Washington Black and Homegoing

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 Read reviewThe Dutch House

The Dutch House

Ann Patchett

Told with Ann Patchett's inimitable blend of wit and heartbreak, The Dutch House is a story of family, betrayal, love, responsibility and sacrifice; of the powerful bonds of place and time that magnetize and repel us for our whole...

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The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois

The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois

Honoree Fanonne Jeffers

'This sweeping, brilliant and beautiful narrative is at once a love song to Black girlhood, family, history, joy, pain ... and so much more. In Jeffers' deft hands, the story of race and love in America becomes the great American...

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Peach Blossom Spring

Peach Blossom Spring

Melissa Fu

An epic, powerful and intensely personal debut about war, migration, family, and the search for a place to call home. For fans of Pachinko, Wild Swans and All the Light We Cannot See

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Small Pleasures

Small Pleasures

Clare Chambers

A novel of unexpected second chances set in 1950s England.

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 Read reviewSong of the Crocodile

Song of the Crocodile

Nardi Simpson

A captivating Australian saga from the winner of the 2018 black&write! fellowship.   

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 Read reviewChina Room

China Room

Sunjeev Sahota

A multigenerational novel of love, oppression, trauma and the pursuit of freedom, inspired in part by the author's own family history, China Room twines together the stories of a woman and a man separated by more than half a...

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 Read reviewMatrix

Matrix

Lauren Groff

Yet she deeply misses her secret lover Cecily and queen Eleanor. Born last in a long line of women warriors and crusaders, women who flew across the countryside with their sword fighting and dagger work, Marie decides to chart...

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Of Women and Salt

Of Women and Salt

Gabriela Garcia

A sweeping, masterful debut about a daughter's fateful choice, a mother motivated by her own past, and a family legacy that begins in Cuba before either of them were born

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 Read reviewWolf Hall

Wolf Hall

Hilary Mantel

 The first book in Hilary Mantel's award-winning Wolf Hall trilogy, with a new cover design to celebrate the publication of the much anticipated The Mirror and the Light.    

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 Read reviewThe Prophets

The Prophets

Robert Jones Jr.

Love, in all its permutations, is the discovery at the heart of Robert Jones Jr's breathtaking debut, The Prophets.

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 Read reviewThe Bass Rock

The Bass Rock

Evie Wyld

Three women, hundreds of years apart, slip into each other's lives in a novel of darkness, violence and madness.  

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 Read reviewThe Lincoln Highway

The Lincoln Highway

Amor Towles

Two brothers venture across 1950s America to New York in the absorbing new novel by the author of the bestselling A Gentleman in Moscow.

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 Read reviewHamnet

Hamnet

Maggie O'Farrell

Two extraordinary people. A love that draws them together. A loss that threatens to tear them apart.

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The Paris Library

The Paris Library

Janet Skeslien Charles

Inspired by the true story of the librarians who risked their lives during the Nazis' war on words: a story of courage and betrayal inspired by real-life defiance in Occupied Paris, perfect for fans of All the Light We Cannot See,...

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Crossroads

Crossroads

Jonathan Franzen

Set in a historical moment of moral crisis, Crossroads - the first instalment of the trilogy A Key to All Mythologies - is the stunning foundation of a sweeping investigation of human mythologies, as the Hildebrandt family...

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The Four Winds

The Four Winds

Kristin Hannah

An epic, sweeping tale of love and loss set in the midst of the Great Depression in 1930s Amercia, by the multi-million copy global bestseller Kristin Hannah.

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 Read reviewThe Dictionary of Lost Words

The Dictionary of Lost Words

Pip Williams

In 1901, the word 'Bondmaid' was discovered missing from the Oxford English Dictionary. This is the story of the girl who stole it. 

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Pachinko

Pachinko

Min Jin Lee

A victorian epic transplanted to Japan, following a Korean family of immigrants through eight decades and four generations.

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The Secrets We Kept

The Secrets We Kept

Lara Prescott

Sold in twenty-five countries and poised to become a global literary sensation, Lara Prescott's dazzling first novel about the women in the CIA's typing pool and the fate of Boris Pasternak's banned masterpiece is a sweeping page...

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Great Circle

Great Circle

Maggie Shipstead

This monumentally powerful epic weaves together the astonishing lives of a daredevil female aviator, and the Hollywood rebel who will play her on screen. Perfect for fans of The Goldfinch, and All the Light We Cannot See.

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 Read reviewThe Imitator

The Imitator

Rebecca Starford

A powerfully insightful and luminous portrait of courage and loyalty, and the sacrifices made in their name.       

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 Read reviewThe Nickel Boys

The Nickel Boys

Colson Whitehead

Based on the history of a real reform school in Florida that operated for one hundred and eleven years and warped and destroyed the lives of thousands of children, The Nickel Boys is a devastating, driven narrative by a great...

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 Read reviewBila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray: River of Dreams

Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray: River of Dreams

Anita Heiss

Set on timeless Wiradyuri country, where the life-giving waters of the rivers can make or break dreams, and based on devastating true events, Bila Yarrudhanggalangdhuray (River of Dreams) is an epic story of love, loss and...

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Civilisations

Civilisations

Laurent Binet, Sam Taylor

A stunningly ambitious and entertaining novel that gives us a counter-factual history of the modern world, from the author of the international bestseller HHhH.

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 Read reviewA Long Petal of the Sea

A Long Petal of the Sea

Isabel Allende

A masterful work of historical fiction about hope, exile and belonging, A Long Petal of the Sea is Isabel Allende at the height of her powers.

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Washington Black

Washington Black

Esi Edugyan

When two English brothers take the helm of a Barbados sugar plantation, Washington Black - an eleven-year-old field slave - finds himself selected as personal servant to one of them. The eccentric Christopher 'Titch' Wilde is a...

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 Read reviewThe Luminaries

The Luminaries

Eleanor Catton

The astonishing and epic novel that won the 2013 Man Booker Prize

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 Read reviewThe White Girl

The White Girl

Tony Birch

In The White Girl, Tony Birch has created memorable characters whose capacity for love and courage are a timely reminder of the endurance of the human spirit.      

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 Read reviewBetty

Betty

Tiffany McDaniel

A stunning, lyrical novel set in the rolling foothills of the Appalachians in which a young girl discovers stark truths that will haunt her for the rest of her life.

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The Shadow King

The Shadow King

Maaza Mengiste

Shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2020, this is an utterly captivating novel about female strength. Set during Mussolini's 1935 invasion of Ethiopia, The Shadow King casts a light on the women soldiers written out of African...

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Burial Rites

Burial Rites

Hannah Kent

Based on a true story, Burial Rites is a deeply moving novel about freedom and the ways we will risk everything for love. In beautiful, cut-glass prose, Hannah Kent portrays Iceland's formidable landscape, and...

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 Read reviewFrom the Wreck

From the Wreck

Jane Rawson

From the Wreck tells the remarkable story of George Hills, who survived the sinking of the steamship Admella off the South Australian coast in 1859. Haunted by his memories and the disappearance of a fellow survivor, George's...

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Beloved

Beloved

Toni Morrison

Terrible, unspeakable things happened to Sethe at Sweet Home, the farm where she lived as a slave for so many years until she escaped to Ohio. Her new life is full of hope but eighteen years later she is still not free. Sethe's...

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The World That We Knew

The World That We Knew

Alice Hoffman

In Berlin in 1941 during humanity's darkest hour, three unforgettable young women must act with courage and love to survive, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Dovekeepers and The Marriage of Opposites Alice...

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Fingersmith

Fingersmith

Sarah Waters

Fingersmith moves between the criminal underworld and gloomy gothic mansions of 1860s London in a story of fraud, insanity and secret passion. Set in a den of thieves, it focuses on Susan, a pickpocket, who is persuaded by her...

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 Read reviewThe Signature of All Things

The Signature of All Things

Elizabeth Gilbert

A captivating story of botany, exploration and desire, by the multimillion bestselling author of Eat Pray Love.    

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All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See

Anthony Doerr

A beautiful, stunningly ambitious novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.     

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The Shadow of the Wind

The Shadow of the Wind

Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Lucia Graves

Barcelona 1945: young Daniel Sempere is taken to a fabulous secret library called the Cemetery of Forgotten Books where he is told he must 'adopt' a single book, promising to care and keep it alive always. The book by Julian...

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Atonement

Atonement

Ian McEwan

A story that begins with three young people in the garden of a country house on the hottest day of 1935, and ends with three profoundly changed lives. A depiction of love and war, class, childhood and England, that explores shame...

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 Read reviewSalt Creek

Salt Creek

Lucy Treloar

A stunning debut novel from the winner of the 2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize (Pacific Region) and the 2013 Writing Australia Unpublished Manuscript Award.    

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Lincoln in the Bardo

Lincoln in the Bardo

George Saunders

The extraordinary first novel by the bestselling, Folio Prize-winning, National Book Award-shortlisted George Saunders, about Abraham Lincoln and the death of his eleven year old son, Willie, at the dawn of the Civil War. ...

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The Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad

Colson Whitehead

From prize-winning, bestselling author Colson Whitehead, a magnificent, wrenching, thrilling tour de force chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South.  

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The Secret River

The Secret River

Kate Grenville

A universal and timeless story of love, identity and belonging

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The Red Tent

The Red Tent

Anita Diamant

An international publishing phenomena, this beautiful and thought provoking novel tells the story, lost to history by the chronicles of men, of Dinah, Jacob's only daughter in the Book of Genesis.

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 Read reviewManhattan Beach

Manhattan Beach

Jennifer Egan

The long-awaited novel from the bestselling author of Pulitzer Prize-winning A Visit From the Goon Squad.

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The Book Thief

The Book Thief

Markus Zusak

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and he will become busier still. From the highly-acclaimed author of The Messenger and new novel Bridge of Clay.

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The Narrow Road to the Deep North

The Narrow Road to the Deep North

Richard Flanagan

In the despair of a Japanese POW camp on the Burma Death Railway, surgeon Dorrigo Evans is haunted by his love affair with his uncle's young wife two years earlier. Struggling to save the men under his command from starvation,...

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March

March

Geraldine Brooks

Brooks's luminous second novel, after 2001's acclaimed Year of Wonders , imagines the Civil War experiences of Mr March. An idealistic abolitionist, March has gone to serve the Union cause as chaplain to the troops. But the war...

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