Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s topic was Top Ten All Time Favorites of X Genre. Historical fiction is probably one of my favorite genres, therefore one of my most read, and so it was a no brainer to choose this genre. The only issue was choosing only ten out of the insane amount of historical fiction I’ve read! Many people have said that they don’t often read books of this genre, so if even just one person took away from this post at least one book to try (and hopefully love), I would be a happy girl.
1. MISTRESS OF ROME by Kate Quinn
If there is one book to take away from this list to try, it needs to be this one. This is my favorite book in the world, with the last one in the series, Lady of the Eternal City, coming in a very close second. Kate Quinn is a marvelous writer that does an amazing job creating complex and lovable characters and intricate plots that make these books simply unputdownable.
2. NAKED: A NOVEL OF LADY GODIVA by Eliza Redgold
A wonderful take on the story of Lady Godiva. The romance between Godiva and Leofric was swoon-worthy, the political aspects of the time were captured perfectly without becoming too overbearing, and the characters were given depth and development that turned a legend into an amazing story worth reading.
3. THE WEDDING SHROUD by Elisabeth Storrs
After finishing Quinn’s Mistress of Rome series, I was in desperate need for another good book based in ancient rome. I searched high and low on Goodreads and, thankfully, stumbled upon these. It’s incredibly well-written and researched, including great characters, complex relationships, and the political and religious intricacies of two very different cultures at a time before Rome was the Roman Empire as we know it. And even though I knew ahead of time (damn you, Google) what eventual befalls the beloved characters, it didn’t make it any less heartbreaking.
4. THE SONG OF ACHILLES by Madeline Miller
I love Greek mythology and their retellings so this was a no-brainer for me to read. This story is so beautiful and heartbreaking. Having the Trojan War and the relationship of Achilles and Patroclus told from the latter’s view was wonderfully done. Patroclus was the perfect narrator: he was honest, raw, and vulnerable. It made the ending so much more tragic.
5. THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak
A beautiful story of a young girl living in Germany during World War II, told through the perspective of Death. The narration is really what makes the story in my opinion. It was so honest and unlike anything I had ever read before, and coupled with fantastic storytelling, made this a quick favorite.
6. GRAVE MERCY by Robin LaFevers
My expectations were not high when I started this, so I was pleasantly surprised. The setting was rich, the characters were strong and well-developed, and the writing was superb. Ismae makes a wonderful heroine and the love interest was great as well. It has lots of action, romance, intriguing politics, and assassins. And not boring assassins like many young adult novels, but kick-ass ones.
7. ATONEMENT by Ian McEwan
This was one of the rare instances in which I actually saw the movie before I read the book. Atonement is one of my favorite movies and I’m glad I loved the book as much as the film.
8. ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE by Anthony Doerr
This was not a light or easy read, and although it was dense, I couldn’t stop myself from reading chapter after chapter. I was completely hooked on both Marie-Laure and Werner’s stories. The writing was profound and compelling. There’s no surprise that it won the Pulitzer Prize.
9. THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL by Philippa Gregory
Is this book all that historically accurate? No. But it sure was entertaining. I remember reading this in high school and devouring it. It was chalk full of court politics, sex, violence, manipulation, romance, suspense, and yes, a little bit of history. I’ve always been a nerd for anything Tudor related and so it was no surprise that I really enjoyed this.
10. THE AMERICAN HEIRESS by Daisy Goodwin
This may not be the best historical fiction, or most accurate, or even the most well-written. But the cover is beautiful, the setting is one of my favorite places (Newport, Rhode Island. I bought it in the gift shop after visiting The Breakers mansion), and it takes place during one of my favorite time periods. The story is a simple, easy read with a happy ending, despite a bit of angst between the main characters, and that’s all I really could have asked for.