The Best New Historical Fiction Books to read this year

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TOP HISTORICAL FICTION BOOKS

Historical fiction novels are the perfect genre to read if you want to immerse yourself in the past. But with so many novels out there, where do you start?

Get your reading list ready because, in this post, I’ll share my top recommendations for 2021’s best new historical fiction books!

Why should you read historical fiction books?

Historical fiction books are a wonderful way to learn about the past. Even if you’re not interested in reading this genre, it’s worth giving one of these books a chance. They’re full of gripping stories, interesting historical details, and strong characters. You might also find that your interest in history grows while reading them.

Whether you’re looking for a book that takes place during World War II or during the Great Depression, with strong female characters, stories about books, with a bit of magic, or about legacies, there’s a new release out there for everyone. So to help you narrow down your search, I’ve made a list of some of the best historical fiction books released in 2021.

Now, let’s find out what are the top historical fiction books to read this year.

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If you’re looking for new books coming out this year, do not miss to take a look at The Hottest Upcoming Book Releases

Most Anticipated 2021 Historical Fiction Novels

The Paris Library book cover

The Paris Library

by Janet Skeslien Charles

At the top of my list, I couldn’t resist putting this compelling novel told from two different POVs, about different generations navigating memories and helping each other overcome obstacles. Based on a true story, The Paris Library tells about Odile Souchet, a librarian at the American Library in Paris during World War II, who joins the Resistance with the best weapons she has: books. Then there’s 14-year-old Lily living in Montana with her family and next door to an older Odile. When Lily asks Odile for an interview for a school assignment, they start spending time together, and as their connection and friendship grow, Odille’s previous life events are recalled.

Amazon | Goodreads | Read more…

The Four Winds book cover

The Four Winds

by Kristin Hannah

Set in Texas during the Great Depression, The Four Winds is an outstanding novel about the courage of a woman, Elsa Martinelli, and the enduring battle between the haves and the have-nots. This novel starts in Texas in 1921, during the season of plenty. For Elsa Wolcott, who is considered too old to marry, the future appears gloomy until she meets Rafe Martinelli and the circumstances make her marry him. But what looks like a great new era of abundance changes with the Great Depression and the drought devastating the Great Plains. In this uncertain and dangerous time, like so many of her neighbors, Elsa must choose between fighting for the place she loves or leaving it behind to seek a better life for her family in California.

The Rose Code book cover

The Rose Code

 by Kate Quinn

Kate Quinn, the author of The Huntress and The Alice Network, returns with another heart-stopping World War II novel about three very different women recruited to the enigmatic Bletchley Park, where Britain’s brightest minds learn to crack German military codes. Osla, a fiery debutante, determined to be more than a social girl by striving to decrypt enemy secrets. Mab, a self-made woman who hides her ancient scars and the squalor of her East-End London childhood by mastering the famed codebreaking devices; and Beth, a quiet local girl who trains as one of the Park’s few female cryptanalysts, is the outsider. 

The Lost Apothecary

The Lost Apothecary

by Sarah Penner

In her debut novel, The Lost Apothecary, Sarah Penner has created a terrific tale of witchcraft, secrets, and rebellion. Hidden in the depths of eighteenth-century London is the secret apothecary shop. Women across the city whisper of mysterious Nella, who sells well-disguised poisons to use against the oppressive men in their lives. But her fate is jeopardized when her newest patron makes a fatal mistake.

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Surviving Savannah

Surviving Savannah

by Patti Callahan

In Surviving Savannah, Author Patti Callahan amazingly brings back to life the story of Savannah’s elite, who has been long forgotten. When history professor Everly Winthrop is asked to curate a new museum collection, she’s shocked. The luxury steamship called “The Titanic of the South” sank after a boiler explosion in 1838, and the wreckage was just discovered, 180 years later. Everly can’t resist the opportunity to try to solve some of the mysteries and myths surrounding that night.

The Last Bookshop in London

The Last Bookshop in London

by Madeline Martin

Inspired by the true World War II history of the only bookshop to survive the Blitz, The Last Bookshop in London is a sweeping story of wartime loss, romance, and the enduring power of literature. As Hitler’s soldiers advance throughout Europe, London prepares for war. Grace Bennett has always wanted to live in the city, but nothing looks as she has dreamed when she arrives. As she starts working at Primrose Hill, a dusty old bookshop in the center of London, she will learn the power of storytelling to unify her town in ways she never imagined as the Blitz escalates, a force that wins over even the darkest nights of the war.

The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba book cover

The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba

by Chanel Cleeton

On the heels of two New York Times bestsellers, Chanel Cleeton brings to life the little-known true story of a Cuban woman who changed the course of American history. 

Amazon | Goodreads | Read more…

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25 BEST HISTORICAL FICTION BOOKS
The Personal Librarian

The Personal Librarian

by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

A slyly observed, suspenseful story of envy and obsession, told in the mesmerizing, irresistible voice of a character who will make you doubt that seeing is ever believing. 

Amazon | Goodreads 

The Forest of Vanishing Stars

The Forest of Vanishing Stars

 by Kristin Harmel

An evocative coming-of-age World War II story about a young woman who uses her knowledge of the wilderness to help Jewish refugees escape the Nazis—until a secret from her past threatens everything.

Amazon | Goodreads

The Woman With The Blue Star book cover

The Woman with the Blue Star

 by Pam Jenoff

A thrilling tale of sacrifice and friendship during World War II from the author of The Lost Girls of Paris. The circumstances make the unlikely friendship between Ella and Sadie possible, but as the war’s perils grow, their lives collide, putting them to the test in the face of great circumstances. The Woman with the Blue Star is an outstanding ode to the power of friendship and the incredible strength of the human desire to endure, inspired by incredible true experiences.

Amazon | Goodreads 

The Warsaw Orphan book cover

The Warsaw Orphan

 by Kelly Rimmer

An epic WWII saga and love story, based on the real-life efforts of two young people taking extraordinary risks to save their countrymen, as they try to find their way back to each other and the life they once knew.

Amazon | Goodreads

Radar Girls book cover

Radar Girls

 by Sara Ackerman

WWII historical fiction inspired by the real women of the Women’s Air Raid Defense, Radar Girls is a tale of resilience and sisterhood, it sees the battles of the Pacific through the eyes of these pioneering women.

Amazon | Goodreads

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Cloud Cuckoo Land book cover

Cloud Cuckoo Land

 by Anthony Doerr

From the fifteenth-century Constantinople to a small town in present-day Idaho to an interstellar ship decade in the future, this novel is a triumph of imagination and compassion, a soaring story about children on the cusp of adulthood in perilous worlds who find resilience, hope—and a book.

Amazon | Goodreads

The Longest Echo book cover

The Longest Echo

 by Eoin Dempsey

Against the backdrop of WWII-ravaged Italy comes a powerful and emotional novel of love, survival, justice, and second chances by the bestselling author of White Rose, Black Forest.

Amazon | Goodreads | Read more…

Eternal book cover

Eternal

 by Lisa Scottoline

I couldn’t resist a historical fiction that unfolds over decades in the heart of Rome, even if in its darkest hour. Eternal tells about Elisabetta, Marco, and Sandro, who, despite their differences, are best friends. Elisabetta is a fiery beauty with ambitions to be a novelist; Marco is the loud and athletic son of professional cyclists; and Sandro is a Jewish math prodigy who is kind-hearted and sensitive, the son of a lawyer and a doctor. Sandro and Marco are hoping to capture Elisabetta’s heart. Still, everything changed in the autumn of 1937, when Mussolini exerted his dominance, linking Italy’s Fascists with Hitler’s Nazis and changing the rules that govern Rome. Everything the three hold dear—their families, their homes, and their bonds with one another—is put to the test in ways they could never have imagined over time.

Amazon | Goodreads 

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Best Historical Fiction of 2021
The Keeper of Happy Endings book cover

The Keeper of Happy Endings

 by Barbara Davis

Soline Roussel has a lot of experience with happy endings. For generations, her family has had an elite bridal salon in Paris. It is believed that a bride who wears a Roussel gown will have a lifetime of happiness. But, due to the tragic losses suffered during World War II, Soline’s world and heart are in ruins, and her trust in love is shattered. She puts away her memories, as well as her broken dreams, in a box, trying to forget. When Rory Grant, an ambitious gallery owner, leases Soline’s old property decades later while struggling with her devastating loss, she discovers a box holding letters and a historic bridal gown that has never been worn. When Rory returns the keepsakes, they form an odd friendship, and strange parallels emerge between Rory’s and Soline’s lives.

Amazon | Goodreads

The Lincoln Highway book cover

The Lincoln Highway

by Amor Towles

The Lincoln Highway is an incredible tour across 1950s America from the pen of a master storyteller who brilliantly represents the great American novel and its eternal themes: travel and adventure, guilt and redemption, redemption and hope. Emmett Watson is returning home to Nebraska, brought by the warden of the juvenile work farm where he had just completed a fifteen-month sentence for involuntary homicide. With his mother long gone, his father lately deceased, and the family farm foreclosed upon by the bank, he prepares to pick up his eight-year-old brother Billy and fly to California to start a new life. Still, he notices that two of his work farm companions have stowed away in the warden’s trunk. They have a completely different plan for Emmett’s future, one that will send the four of them on a perilous voyage in the opposite direction, to New York City.

Amazon | Goodreads

Three Sisters book cover

Tree Sisters

 by Heather Morris

Heather Morris, author of The Tattooist of Auschwitz and Cilka’s Journey, returns with Three Sisters, a story of family, strength, and endurance. Inspired by a true story, in this novel, three Slovakian sisters, Livia, Magda, and Cibi, who have survived years of imprisonment in Auschwitz, must now confront the demons of their past and those secrets they have kept from each other, to finally find happiness and peace.

Amazon | Goodreads | Read more…

The Woman of Chateau LaFayette book cover

The Women of Chateau LaFayette

 by Stephanie Dray

Based on the real story of a beautiful castle in the heart of France and the incredible women bound by its legacy through the centuries, The Women of Chateau LaFayette is an epic story about responsibility and hope, love, and bravery.

Amazon | Goodreads 

Of Women and Salt book cover

Of  Women and Salt

by Gabriela Garcia

A promising debut novel, Of Women ad Salt tells about a daughter’s catastrophic choice, a mother driven by her own history, and a family tradition that dates back to before either of them was born in Cuba. Jeanette is battling addiction in modern-day Miami. She is determined to discover more about her family history from her reticent mother, Carmen, a Cuban immigrant. She takes the hasty choice to take in the daughter of a neighbor imprisoned by ICE. Carmen must handle her challenging connection with her mother while attempting to raise a wayward Jeanette, who is still dealing with the pain of relocation. Jeanette flies to Cuba to meet her grandmother and face past secrets in her quest for enlightenment.

Amazon | Goodreads 

The London House book cover

The London House

 by Katherine Reay

When she discovers a dark family secret and to defend her family’s image, Caroline Payne travels through the history of Britain’s World War II intelligence network and the glamorous 1930s Paris.

Amazon | Goodreads | Read more…

The Girl from the Channel Islands book cover

The Girl from the Channel Islands

 by Jenny Lecoat

Inspired by true events, the riveting story of a young Jewish woman trapped on the occupied island of Jersey during World War II. Perfect for fans of  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Amazon | Goodreads | Read more…

The Secret Stealers book cover

The Secret Stealers

 by Jane Healey

Anna Cavanaugh is a restless young widow and brilliant French teacher at a private school in Washington, DC. When she’s recruited into the Office of Strategic Services by a family friend and legendary WWI hero Major General William Donovan, Anna finds herself surrounded by friends who are also “glorious amateurs.” However, the more Anna learns about the organization’s clandestine actions, the more she wants to be stationed overseas. Then there’s the chance to go underground as a spy in the French Resistance and assist in the theft of vital intelligence that might eventually reverse the war’s course.

Amazon | Goodreads 

The-Dictionary-of-Lost-Words book cover

The Dictionary of Lost Words

 by Pip Williams

Esme is born into a world dominated by words. She spends her youth in the Scriptorium; an Oxford garden shed where her father and a team of dedicated lexicographers are gathering words for the first Oxford English Dictionary. Motherless and insatiably curious, Esme’s room is hidden beneath the sorting table, unnoticed and unheard. When one day, a slip of paper with the term bondmaid flutters beneath the table, she saves it. After discovering that the term means “slave girl,” she begins to gather other rejected or disregarded words, finally noticing that words relating to women’s and ordinary folks’ experiences often go unrecorded. On her way to creating the Dictionary of Lost Words, she must leave the university’s safe and go out into the world to meet those people whose words will fill those pages.

Amazon | Goodreads 

The Last Rose of Shanghai book cover

The Last Rose of Shangai

 by Weina Dai Randel

The Last Rose of Shanghai is a timeless, epic story of love and redemption set from exhilarating jazz clubs to the destitute alleys of a city under siege, where fate and the freedom of music bring two individuals from different backgrounds together…

Amazon | Goodreads

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25 BEST HISTORICAL FICTION BOOKS


Historical fiction novels are an excellent choice for people who want to read about events that they don’t know much about. These stories will also give you a real sense of the time period, making them great additions to your reading lists. So, I hope you had the chance to find your next read…and hopefully, your new favorite one.

Happy Reading!

Elisabeth sign.

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