What are the best beautifully written historical fiction?

asked by Anonymous
380 contributors
16 solutions
  1. 41

    #1All the Light We Cannot See

    All the Light We Cannot See
    All The Light We Cannot See is a vividly-written story about Marie Laure, a blind French girl, and Werner, a German boy in the Nazi army. Winner of a 2015 Pulitzer Prize, it shows that there can still be beauty amidst the tragedy of war.

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    Alejandro Bonilla
    Written on May 17, 2018
    "This book is a terrific read. This story is unique, heartwarming, different, and just all around awesome. This is one of those books you just expect to be picked up for a feature film sometime soon. That's how strong the storyline here is. The characters are unique in beautiful and some sad ways that make the story so gripping."
  2. 38

    #2Love in the Time of Cholera

    Love in the Time of Cholera

    Love in the Time of Cholera is a standalone historical fiction novel written by Gabriel García Márquez which follows the love story between lovers Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza. 


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    Donald Rose
    Written on May 9, 2018
    "gabriel garcía márquez turned writing into an artwork with this one, a must read"
  3. 36

    #3The Man Without Qualities

    The Man Without Qualities

    The Man Without Qualities is a philosophical written by literary icon Robert Musil. It was published in English in October 1997 with the translation of Sophie Wilkins and Burton Pike.


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    Marie Lopez
    Written on May 17, 2018
    "This is not even close to being considered historical fiction. It's a book about ideas...philosophy, really. Maybe an analysis of historical things. It's a great book, and very well written and explores some very interesting ideas...but it doesn't belong in a fictional section. "
  1. 33



    Ivanhoe is a classic historical novel by Sir Walter Scott. It was originally published in 1820 in three volumes. It is set in 12th century England and it highlights the tension between the Norman conquerors and the Saxons.


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  2. 32


    Fingersmith is a standalone historical fiction novel written by Sarah Waters which centers on orphan Sue Trinder who is living with Mrs. Sucksby and her family, and her love interest who is also an orphan. 

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    Aarav Pillai
    Written on May 9, 2018
    "Sarah Waters is a hit or miss author if you ask me, I have read a lot of articles regarding her style as an author and if you say she is a true hit or miss author, a lot of people will actually believe it. Fingersmith though is definitely a hit novel in my honest opinion, I have not read this one yet but my sister did, and I trust her judgement with books when it comes to fiction as always."
  3. 29

    #6Memoirs of Hadrian (FSG Classics)

    Memoirs of Hadrian (FSG Classics)
    Memoirs of Hadrian (FSG Classics) is a classical European Literature and historical fiction written by Marguerite Yourcenar and translated by Grace Frick. It was published April 28, 2005 by Farrar.

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    James Carr
    Written on May 11, 2018
    "I'm usually not into historical fiction, but this is an exception. It gave me a lot of knowledge about European culture. "
  4. 27

    #7Cold Mountain

    Cold Mountain
    Cold Mountain is a book by Charles Frazier that tells the story of Inman, a soldier who will come back to his home in the Blueridge mountains and to his most loved woman Ada.  

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    Jose Rice
    Written on May 21, 2018
    "This book is one of my all time favorite books. It is so well written that it actually had a movie adaptation too. I think that this book was written very well and the author seems very well knowledgeable about the time frame and setting of this book."
  5. 25

    #8I, the Sun

    I, the Sun
    This book tells the story of many of the Hititte kings, emphasizing in Suppiluliumas, a king also known as the Great King who was widely respected due to all his conquers, as he had conquered more than 40 nations, but couldn't get the heart of the woman he loved. 

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    Keith Lucas
    Written on May 8, 2018
    "Whoa! Some people use the phrase history comes alive, well this is literally true of this book. This is absolutely beautifully written. historical fiction has a reputation as being dry as a drying cloth, but this is fresh and moist as an ocean or fecund bog. What a treat it is to read of the ancients and their civilizations. Not disappointing!"
  6. 23



    Beloved is a multi-award-winning historical fiction novel written by Nobel laureate for literature, Toni Morrison. It was first published in 1987 and it won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988.


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    Martha Meyer
    Written on May 11, 2018
    "I love Beloved and I love Toni Morrison! I think this is one of her best works, but not the only one, that's for sure. The language she uses and the characters she creates form a tapestry with depth and richness and fullness. Wonderful."
  7. 21

    #10The Killer Angels (Civil War Trilogy)

    The Killer Angels (Civil War Trilogy)
    This historical novel is a recreation of the Battle of Gettysburg, the bloodiest four days in the American Civil War where two opposing armies fought for a way of life. Rather than focusing on the battle, the book explains the lives the combatants left behind. 


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    Tang Zeng
    Written on May 18, 2018
    "The Killer angels is a beautiful historical fiction series. I got totally sucked in and couldn't put it down. I normally don't enjoy historical fiction but this in an exception to the rule!!!"
  8. 19

    #11The English Patient

    The English Patient

    The English Patient is a historical fiction novel written by Michael Ondaatje. This classic romance book won literary merits like the Man Booker Prize and Trillium Book award. It is first published in 1992. 


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    Carolyn Turner
    Written on May 19, 2018
    "The film of this movie is actually already beautifully made, such a classic romantic story and without a doubt one of the best in its category. If you really need more proof on why this is one of the most beautiful stories ever written for a historical fiction novel, you should grab a novel or even start by watching the film."
  9. 16

    #12The Color Purple

    The Color Purple
    Set deep in the American South, The Color Purple by Alice Walker is the tale of Celie, a young black girl born into poverty and segregation. After living a very hard life, she starts to discover joy and the power of her own spirit.

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    Ernesto Gálvez
    Written on May 14, 2018
    "The Color Purple is one of the most beautifully written historical fiction books of all time. A young black girl finally discovers her true self after being born into poverty and lining through segregation. She was raped and abused and wants to keep him from doing this to her sister as well. This book is very moving and inspiring and is a motivational tale of overcoming adversity."
  10. 13

    #13One Hundred Years of Solitude

    One Hundred Years of Solitude

    One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez, tells the story of the Buendía family, generation after generation, living in the mountain town of Macondo. Magic and reality interweave to create one of the most rewarding reading experiences of the 20th century.


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    Nathan Fox
    Written on May 11, 2018
    "This is a fairly interesting book I read. It's about the history of a family in a town that eventually dies out. It is somewhat confusing read initially, but it gets better as you read more and invest more in the story of this family and town. I would recommend this book."
  11. 11

    #14Gone with the Wind

    Gone with the Wind
    Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell is a bestselling novel of all time and won the Pulitzer Prize. Widely considered The Great American Novel, it explores the depth of human passion with an intensity as bold as its setting.

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    Dylan Bryant
    Written on May 17, 2018
    "Gone with the Wind still holds to be one of the greatest novels every written. The book is incredibly immersive, more so than you'd expect by starting to read this. I can't recommend this book strongly enough. "
  12. 0

    #15Kubla Khan: A Pop-Up Version

    Kubla Khan: A Pop-Up Version

    Kubla Khan: A Pop-Up Version of Coleridge's Classic is a literary fiction and poetry pop-up book written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and illustrated by Nick Bantock. It was published November 1, 1994 by Viking Adult.


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    Ethan Smith
    Written on May 9, 2018
    "This book is not good for those searching for "beautifully written historical fiction" and is much better suited for those looking for a book on history poetry. I would not recommend "Kubla Khan: A Pop-Up Version.""
  13. 0

    #16The Source

    The Source
    The Source is a historical fiction and religion book set in the Holy Land written by James A. Michener, published on July 9, 2002 by Random House Trade Paperbacks.

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    Cheryl Carpenter
    Written on May 21, 2018
    "This is the second time I've read this book. The first time I was much younger, this time I have a better understanding of history and the nature of mankind. I don't know how close to actual history this is but I found it very upsetting as to how the Hawaiians were treated or should I say mistreated. This is how so many native peoples have had their land taken and in turn have been treated with little or no respect. I was glad to finish it."


Best What are the best beautifully written historical fiction
1All the Light We Cannot SeeBooks 41 Paid
2Love in the Time of CholeraBooks 38 Paid
3The Man Without QualitiesBooks 36 Paid
4IvanhoeBooks 33 Paid
5FingersmithBooks 32 Paid
6Memoirs of Hadrian (FSG Classics)Books 29 Paid
7Cold MountainBooks 27 Paid
8I, the SunBooks 25 Paid
9BelovedBooks 23 Paid
10The Killer Angels (Civil War Trilogy)Books 21 Paid

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