Top Ten Historical Novels // Listopia

Whilst it is a ‘Top Ten Tuesday’ day I thought I would do my own this week, as I haven’t done a listopia post in a while either! Today’s list is:


Without further ado, here goes:

1.   The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham

Set during the 1930s, a beautiful, yet vain, British woman, Kitty, is near her marriage sell-by-date so quickly marries a shy doctor before embarking on an affair with another man. As always, the affair comes to light and her husband, who is a doctor, forces her to travel with him to a small village off of Shanghai to study the effects and cause of cholera knowing full well the likelihood that they will both catch it and diequite a book, short and concise with a lot of drama and a great writing style!

2.   Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

A lot of people dislike this Austen book, but since I have only fully-read two, and I have featured Sense and Sensibility before, I thought I would choose Mansfield Park for a change. The story is typical of Austen a kind of Cinderella protagonist Fanny - down on her luck and treated badly, falls in love with the rich man in this book it is her cousinapparently this was normal back then! The largest of Austen’s book, but the easiest to read I’ve found!

3.   Outlander by Diana Galbadon

I am currently reading this novel and I just cannot get enough! I came to know this book, as always, through its television series which is currently airing in America. Originally set in the 1940s a young woman, Claire, is transported back in time to the 1700s in the Scottish Highlands. There she encounters many different dramas, becomes a healer and falls in love with a wonderful Scottish man Jamie Fraser. Anyone that likes a bit of romance, time-travel, history and fighting will love this and definitely the series! Think Scottish Game of Thrones but with less people and gore!

4.   Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

My favourite book of all-time! Set in 3 parts before World War One, during World War One and in 1979. A brilliant story revolving around the life of Stephen Wraysford, his friend Jack Firebrace and his descendant in 1979. Beautifully written and a beautiful story anyone interested in World War One should read this novel!

5.   The Reader by Bernard Schlink

Another war, or post-war, novel you will notice there is a theme to my historical novels! This is an easy, short-read set around a young man, Michael, and his interactions with an older lady, Hanna, after the Second World War.  Michael first meets Hanna when he becomes ill on her door-step and what ensues is a teenage love affair, a coming-of-age theme and a deeply moving and thought-provoking story regarding the Holocaust and forgiveness.

6.   The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

Another firm favourite of mine. Anne Boleyn is notorious for the being the second wife of Henry VIII but this novel illuminates Mary Boleyn as the fat kings mistress, pre-Anne. Whilst it is a little far-fetched and obviously some of the plot is taken from imagination it is still a fascinating and enjoyable read!

7.  Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian

For anyone interested in History, World War two particularly, this is always the book I would recommend it. It is a graphic, honest and bitter but at the same time aimed at children so has the innocence and the beauty that only children can truly understand! A great read, about a young lad evacuated to the countryside during the Blitz who finds his feet before being unceremoniously sent back to London to face his abusive mother.

8.   Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

From a short, easy-to-read book to one of the longest books around! Gone with the Wind is a wondrously vivid story about the American Civil War and the effect it had long-after. The protagonist, Scarlet O’Hara one of the best women in Fiction is a manipulative and powerful woman in a time when there was really no such expectation. She marries several times, keeps up her feelings for another am all the while and also has feelings for another man at the same timevery complicated but ingenius and wonderful!

9.   Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield

I love this little story it is a very ‘girly’ tale about three orphans who are taken in by a fossil collector and his ward, and then grow up alongside two lecturers, a dance teacher, a handyman and spend time at a Performing Arts School in an attempt to earn a living. I love it! It’s every little girls dream: happiness, friendship, family, fun and lots of little adventure.

10. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

Finally, another firm-favourite of mine and the book-blogger circuit! A little girl grows up in Nazi Germany with a foster family and a Jew in her basement. It is incredibly moving and fast-paced with some very important messages and reminders of the innocence of children and their hunger for knowledge!

So there we have it. My top ten historical novels what are yours? Let me know and enjoy the sunshine, if you have it!

Happy Reading!


  1. Gone With The Wind is definitely a favorite.

    Nice list.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Silver's Reviews
    My Blog

  2. No sunshine here. Cold weather and windy.

    I don't see my comment even though it says it was published. :)

    The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure is one of my favorite historical books.

    The Kommandant's Girl by Pam Jenoff and A Memory Of Violets by Hazel Gaynor are also favorites.

    My list would can go on and on. :)

    Thanks for your great post.

    Silver's Reviews
    My Blog

  3. The Book Thief is one of my favorites too :) I'm ashamed to say though, that the only other book on your list that I've read is Manfield Park! The others include a lot of classics I should get to. I recently made a list of my top favorite historical fiction too: