7 Fascinating Historical Fiction Books That Are Perfect for Women
Women will love these historical fiction novels!
Historical Fiction Books
History is rich with inspiration for truly amazing books. Whether it's based on real events or set during a historical time period, historical fiction gives writers the chance to write stories from the dawn of humanity. It's pretty exciting to think about reading about the lives of people who knew a world so different from our own!
For this article, we tried to find a wide variety of historical fiction novels. There's a book that takes place in the late 1960s in India, a tale from 2000 years ago about four Jewish women, a women-centric story about immigrants in Boston in the early 1900s, and even a witch scare from the 1600s. These historical fiction novels will take you on a journey through time, sharing with you the lives of a multitude of different women. Their lives may be very different from you own, but I think you may just see yourself in them too.
1. The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman
Two thousand years ago, nine hundred Jews survived on Masada, a mountain in the Judean desert, again Rome's armies. The ancient historian Josephus claims just two women and five children survived the onslaught. This is the basis for Alice Hoffman's novel, following four different women on Masada.
Yael's assassin father has never forgiven his daughter for "killing" her mother during her birth. After watching her daughter get murdered by Roman soldiers, Revka brinks her grandsons to Masada. Daughter of a warrior, Aziza was raised to be a boy with riding and marksman skills. Lastly, there's Shirah from Alexandria, who knows ancient magic and medicine and seems to have uncanny insight.
These are the lives of these four women during the seize, all dovekeepers, and all holding their secrets close to their hearts.
2. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things is a story that weaves past and present to create a "powerful family saga, forbidden love story, and piercing political drama." In 1969 in the Indian state of Kerala during the Marxist uprising, twins Estha and Rahel are growing up in a world drifting toward unrest. Actions taken within their own home have lasting consequences on their entire lives, leading to the "two-egg" twins separating for years before they finally reunite.
Roy is able to use the flashbacks to create a sense of distress, while to novel flows and reads beautifully. It's some of the most beautiful prose you'll ever read and one of my favorite novels.
3. Daughters of the Witching Hill by Mary Sharratt
Inspired by the Pendle witch hunt in 1612, Mary Sharratt's novel follows widow Bess Southerns as she lives in the Pendle Forest. Because of her visions of the future, she gains a reputation as a cunning woman, and also uses Catholic folk magic to heal the sick. When Bess gets older, she passes her knowledge to Alizon and her best friend.
After a Alizon and a peddler argue in the woods and he has a stroke, the local magistrate, who desperately wants to make his name as a witch finder, begins to play both neighbors and family against each other as paranoia with in the community grows.
4. Jam on the Vine by LaShonda Katrice Barnett
The daughter of a Muslim cook and a metalsmith from Texas, Ivoe Williams becomes intrigued by journalism after stealing a newspaper from her mother's white boss. She lives in the Jim Crow South and, to escape from it all, learns everything she can about journalism, eventually earning a scholarship to Willetson College.
She returns from school overqualified for the jobs available to black women, and eventually moves to Kansas City. There, she and Ona, her former teacher and lover, found the very first woman-run African American newspaper.
In 1919 during the Red Summer, a series of lynchings and race riots around the Midwest, Ivoe risks both her freedom and her life to bring awareness toward the the atrocious racism and disproportionate incarceration of black men across the country.
5. The Storyteller's Secret by Sejal Badani
A journalist living in New York, Jaya isn't prepared for the heartbreak she experiences after her third miscarriage in a row, nor is she prepared for the way it destroys her marriage. Knowing she needs to do something, Jaya decides to travel to India to seek out her family's history.
India is unlike anything Jaya has ever experienced. The sights, the smells, the sounds, it's all overwhelming in the best way. She meets Ravi, her grandmother's former servant and confidant, who begins sharing with Jaya just who her grandmother really was. In getting to know her grandmother this way, Jaya learns the legacy her family has left for her, finding strength she never knew she had.
6. House of Many Gods by Kiana Davenport
Told over decades from the 1960s to present day, the novel begins with Ana living on O'ahu, abandoned by her mother. Despite being raised in poverty by extended family on the "lawless" Wai'anae coast, Ana becomes a doctor.
After Hurricane 'Iniki, Ana heads to Kaua'i to help victims and meets Nikolai, a Russian filmmaker. Nikolai has a past both violent and tragic and is only able to face reality through lies. Still, he is dedicated to filming ecological horrors in both Russia and across the Pacific. Ana and Nikolai's lives come together, spanning decades and continents, weaving together a story full of "loss and remembrance, of the search for family and identity, and, ultimately, of the redemptive power of love."
7. The Saturday Evening Girls Club by Jane Healey
In the early 1900s, four young immigrants living in the North End of Boston come together as the Saturday Even Girls Club. A social pottery-make group, it is their small escape from tradition.
Caprice's Sicilian-born parents have expectations of her, expectations that don't include her following her dream of opening her own hat shop. Despite her Russian Jewish father's disapproval, Ada takes college classes on the sly, while Thea finds herself torn between Jewish tradition and her independence. Maria watcher her Italian Catholic mother become broken by an alcoholic husband and guards her heart, scared of a similar fate.
The four women clash with their families, struggle with careers and cultural prejudice, and suffer heartbreak, but they are always their for each other, lifting each other up.
Let's Keep the Conversation Going...
What is your favorite historical period to read about?