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Spruce Up Your Learning Experience With The Best Historical Fiction Books
Last updated: 13 Apr 2022
The legend says history repeats itself, and the legend also says that those that do not learn history are doomed to repeat it. Therefore, the best way of avoiding the repetition of past mistakes is meticulously and strategically planning to avert the course of actions that result in those erroneous incidents. However, effective strategies require thoroughly studying the course of history, which can be a yawn invoking and sleep-inducing process. History books can often be incredibly dull due to the lackluster details and the information-dense format.
A much more creative way to learn about history is through historical fiction books. These books help in the learning process and help retain the details effortlessly. The recent year has witnessed the boom of the historical fiction genre, which has complicated the process of choosing your next read. The availability of an overwhelming number of books in this genre makes it hard to narrow down your choices. We have compiled a list of our favorite historical fiction books in 2022.
Reviewing the Best Historical Fiction Book of 2022 in Detail
The Lincoln Highway is the third book of the bestselling historical fiction author Amor Towles who has given one after the other successful hits that have taken the book blogs by storm. An action-packed story set in the year 1954 follows the lives of four boys on a cross-country adventure on a quest to fulfill their dreams and discover their true calling. The book derives its name from America’s first transcontinental highway, The Lincoln Highway. The story follows the high and lows of their lives on the journey. Multiple narrators have told the story, which gives it a greater depth and achieves a multilayered tale.
The storyline is fantastic and utterly gripping
The writing style is classical and phenomenal
The book is devoid of nasty elements like violence and foul language
It is considerably lengthy
It ranks as the best overall. It qualified as the bestselling historical fiction by several notable publications and figures, including New York Times Notable Book, Chosen by Oprah Daily, Time, NPR, and The Washington Post. Moreover, Barack Obama endorsed it as the Best Book of the Year.
The Nature of Fragile Things by Susan Meissner is a thriller historical fiction set in the backdrop of the destructive earthquake of 1906 that rocked San Francisco city and caused massive damage to the lives and property of people. Susan Meissner’s book is particularly peculiar because only a few literary accounts discuss the aftermath of the earthquake of 1906. The main plot involves the story of an Irish immigrant woman married who agrees to marry an unknown American man and later meets other women in this complex web of interlinked stories. It is a tale of resilience, dark secrets, reliable friendship, and the art of defeating all odds.
The nature of the event is unpredictable, making this an exhilarating read
It deals with multiple complex subjects
The storyline is thought-provoking
The strong women characters are incredibly inspirational
War-based historical fiction has an ever-growing demand in the literary sphere. The novel, The Rainbow by Carly Schabowski is based on a true story following a dual narrative, one in the present day and the other set in Nazi-occupied Poland in 1940 during World War 2. The 342-page long novel is a page-turner with heartbreaks and surprising discoveries on every other page. The plot touches upon the sacrifices families and lovers have made during turbulent times in history. The story stays with you long after you have finished reading.
The vivid storytelling brings characters to life
The story has a heartbreaking yet an uplifting plot
The historical accounts are thoroughly researched and hence accurate
Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris is a historical fiction based on a true story occurring during the Great Depression Era. The novel inspired its name from a newspaper cutting whereby a mother put her children for sale to save her and their fate from meeting a catastrophic end. Although a work of fiction, the book tastefully depicts the miserly human conditions during the Great Depression Era, where hunger, bankruptcy, and miserly state were pandemic.
The characters, plot development, and storyline standout
It is an accurate historical account of the turbulence during the Great Depression Era
It compels the readers to ponder and question
It included meaningful lessons and pivotal takes
The element of romance in the story seems forced and misplaced
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson is a historical fiction set in the 1930s featuring the rich history of Eastern Kentucky. It is the story of a 19-year old librarian Cussy Mary Curter who suffers from a rare skin condition that makes her skin appear blue. Along with her dad, the protagonist indulges in life-threatening work as a means of sustenance and is subjected to widespread racism and prejudice. The book follows a captivating storyline that compels the reader to think. It touches upon many sensitive yet monumental topics.
It is packed with powerful lessons
The written expression is eloquent yet straightforward
The storyline is impeccable and captivating
The details are backed with adequate research, which makes it an educational read
It deals with sensitive topics but does not come with a trigger warning
A good book shapes your character and assists you in the pleasurable learning process. Therefore, choosing books, mainly historical fiction books, is not an easy task. Thus we have compiled a comprehensive buying guide consisting of relevant details and our tried and tested tips for finding the right book for your next literary adventure.
What is Historical Fiction?
Historical fiction is a literary genre whereby the stories and tales of characters are narrated against the backdrop of past events. It is a complex interlinking of past events, characters that mimic and resemble the people of the past, and significant involvement of the author’s imagination. The symbols, events, norms, traditions, timeline, and sequence of events in a historical fiction book are pretty close to reality, but it remains a work of fiction. It is a tricky genre, mainly because it has to be an innovative account without compromising the factual details of the time, place, and events. Typically, to qualify as historical fiction, the events of the book have to be set at least half a century ago.
Who Should Read Historical Fiction
Historical fiction is a genre that is equally pleasurable and beneficial for individuals of all ages. Reading history laced with bibliographic details, dates, facts, and figures is not a task for the faint-hearted. Reading these dry and dull details compromises the learning process and deviates attention from the essential information. Therefore, reading historical fiction is an excellent way of acquainting individuals of all ages to the historical occurrences.
Children in particular benefit from reading historical fiction as it explains the key events of history with interesting fictional details that make it easy to understand and far more relevant. It also acclimatizes them to the complex concepts of history and opens up avenues for discussion and debate. Reading historical fiction also broadens the reader's perspectives and encourages them to learn about differing interpretations and opinions. Therefore, the age-appropriateness of individual books of the historical fiction genre may vary, but the genre is suitable for individuals of all ages, races, ethnicity, and culture.
What Are The Benefits of Historical Fiction
The closest experience to time travel in the past is to immerse in reading a historical fiction book. The genre has been credited for turning several non-readers into avid readers due to its exciting nature and innovative yet educational. Due to their inherently interesting nature, it is often believed that one learns more about history by reading a historical fiction book than they would ever learn in a history class. The narration makes it easy to retain facts and the set sequence of events by humanizing the past.
The familiarity with the past events and insights into the life of the key players of the past allows readers to connect the present to the past. It also helps understand the elements of social and behavioral change while apprehending human behavior. It provides insight into the collective progress made by the human race.
Apart from that, by allowing an insight into the personal shortcoming and victories of the past characters, it also encourages the reader to embark on a journey of self-discovery. Creating awareness and recognition prevents the cyclic repetition of the grave errors of the past and breaks the vicious cycle of unfortunate events.
All other benefits aside, the critical advantage of historical fiction is that it offers a better reach, insight, relevance, and impact than history books. It also encourages the development of critical thinking by compelling the reader to think.
Types of Historical Fiction
Historical fiction is a broad genre, and there are many types and subgenres of historical fiction. Some of the popular sub genres include the following.
When history meets mystery, it results in a new historical mystery genre. It can be a story of crime, murder, mystery, and thrill set in the distant past. They are pretty identical to modern tales, but the only difference is that these accounts are exclusively developed in the past.
Historical Romance Fiction
It includes historical romances and family sagas that feature complex tales of love, family feuds, and other relevant elements. It can either be a fictional tale of romance set in the past or an exaggerated account of a true romance of history laced with fictional details.
Biographical Historical Fiction
It includes a fictional account of the life and death of a notable figure in history. The biographical accounts are often about individuals but can also discuss a group of individuals.
Historical Fantasy Fiction
The genre of historical fiction features a realistic account of the events of the past but includes a few supernatural components and creatures to incorporate the element of fantasy. It is the perfect way to learn history for fantasy fanatics.
Alternative history is a subgenre of historical fiction that aims at eliminating the question of what if and gives a different course to the occurrence of events.
Illustrated and Graphic Historical Fiction
Some readers rely heavily on graphics and illustrations. Therefore, graphic and illustrated novels are also being adopted as a popular way of narrating history.
How to Choose The Best Historical Fiction Books?
It is pertinent to look into the following factors to maneuver around the complexity and choose the most intriguing and thoroughly gripping historical fiction book for yourself.
The choice of subgenre varies from one reader to the other. For a thoroughly immersive reading experience, it is crucial to choose the one you like the best. There is something that adequately caters to the taste of each different type of reader.
Choosing the events of history that spark your curiosity the most is pertinent. You can choose between a wide variety of themes ranging from wars to ethnic crimes to the economic and social events of the past.
Whether the books win the literary award, mere nomination indicates the supreme quality of the plot, characterization, and narration. Therefore, it is advised to check the nominations, runners, and literary award winners to choose your next read.
Historical Fiction Books FAQs
Can historical fiction be set in the future?
No. As the name suggests, historical fiction is exclusively set in the past. To classify as a historical fiction book, the plot ought to be placed at least fifty years ago. The science fiction books, however, are predominantly set in the future.
Are history books and historical fiction the same?
No. The history books are based on simple facts that have been established after thorough research. On the other hand, historical fiction books include factual accounts and heavily rely on fictional elements to titivate the narrative. Moreover, history books are non-fiction, while historical fiction, as indicated by the name, is a work of fiction.
Does historical fiction give an accurate account of history?
No, historical fiction does not necessarily have to be a factually accurate account of history. It has to be relevant, but there are no prerequisites to adhere to the historical sequence of events as it is more of a work of fiction than history. It is a creative amalgamation of non-fiction and fiction.
Can children read historical fiction books?
Yes, age-appropriate historical fiction books are highly recommended for children.
Nicole is a first grade teacher who entered the field of education for one simple reason: she loves helping people. True satisfaction for Nicole comes when her students demonstrate improvements due to her teaching, and she hopes her input will help educators around the world enhance their classrooms.