A historical title can be a somewhat ambiguous name, simply because practically any novel has some element of historical content. Winnie the Pooh, for example, is a historical novel in a way as it represents how children were raised in the early 20th century.
Classifying a historical novel, therefore, is somewhat difficult. However, I tend to classify a historical novel as one where real events in history play a large role in the theme or plot. The following books are all excellent examples of historical fiction that any history-lover should enjoy.
This book takes a look at the life of the Arnolds (of the famous Benedict Arnold fame) and how Peggy Arnold was a surprisingly large piece in the betrayal of Benedict Arnold and his role in his British sympathies. The writing in this story is beautiful as well as factual.
This book gives you an inside look into the Lincolns while they were president. This book has so many historical details, you will feel like you are there. I loved that she used the dressmaker’s own stories, letters and memoir as research for the story.
When I was in high school, I did nothing but read these historical novels about the Civil War. The events in the story are based on the letters and other written evidence left over from the war, and all the battles are written exactly as they occurred.
This series of books looks at some of the historical events from the early 1800s. Many of the events in the series were based on the life of Lord Cochrane, a real English Admiral. All of the books in this series closely follow the history during the Napoleonic Wars.
I didn’t realize when I started this book that it would be so historical, but I was pleasantly surprised. I kind of think of this book as “The Red Badge of Courage” for teenagers. It shows the unexpected side of WWII- the side of Germans who didn’t fight in the war.
If you ever wanted to know what life was like for Geishas in the early 1900s, this book will let you know. It is based on the real life events of geishas from that period- although the character in the story is entirely fictional.
I read this book when I was no older than 13, and it left quite an impression on me. It examines the life of poor immigrants in New York City during the early 20th century. Although the scope of the story is small, it gives a clear and sharp picture of what life was like for immigrants during that time- and perhaps in all times.
Although on the surface Les Miserables is a love story, or maybe the ultimate story of revenge- to me, it is the story of a failed revolution and a passion for a dying country. Hundreds of pages are devoted to telling the tale of Napoleon, failed battles, revolutions, politics, and the changes in how France operated in the early 1800s. To this day, I don’t think I have read a better book.
Another piece of Victorian literature, A Tale of Two Cities looks at the same time as some of the events referred to in Les Miserables. A Tale of Two Cities takes place in 1775 during the first French Revolution. A Tale of Two Cities is set in France and the entire story was based on a history book published in Dickens time about the French Revolution.