For some reason I always associate historical fiction with fall.
There’s something about the atmosphere of a historical setting that feels cozy and perfect for a dark, chilly night.
I’m breaking this recommendations list up into a couple different categories – Historical Fantasy, Historical Romance, Historical Mystery/Thriller/Horror, Historical Literary Fiction.
So hopefully there is something for everyone!
I’ve talked about this book ad nauseam over the last month so I’ll keep this brief. This is a YA paranormal fantasy set in 1800 New Orleans.
2. Magic Dark and Strange by Kelly Powell
This is a very short YA fantasy and mystery. It takes place in a Victorian-esque setting and follows a young woman who can raise the spirits of the dead and is swept into a hunt for a magical artifact. It’s light, fun, and a super easy read!
3. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
This is an adult (read that again: ADULT) fantasy set around 16th century in Russia. It follows a young woman who can see the old gods. But the old gods are fading and a dark force looms in the forest. This book is beautifully written and one of the most atmospheric books I’ve ever read.
This YA book is witchy, slightly magical, and set in 1987 Califorina. It follows a teen who is slowly discovering her families history and powers.
This is the first book in the Sedgwicks series and is set in Victorian England. This book follows the oldest Sedgwick brother and his romance with a grumpy English navel captain. It’s sweet, romantic, and completely stole my heart.
This is probably one of the most hyped historical romances out there. This series is feminist, funny, and really engaging. This first book follows one of the first women to attend Oxford and her romance with a cold and steely Duke.
Lisa Kleypas is a pillar of historical romance, and for good reason. The Ravenels is an amazing series following the family of a dukedom. In this first book we follow a rake who is forced to take over the dukedom he never wanted and his romance with the widow watching over his cousins.
This is a historical rom-com! It’s a laugh out loud funny lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers story. It follows a married couple who had a whirlwind romance only for things to fall apart very soon after their marriage. Now they’re trying to force the other to end the marriage.
The Bareknuckle Bastards trilogy just recently wrapped up so now is the perfect time to pick up this historical romance series! It follows 3 bastard siblings who fled from their evil father at young age. Now they’re the underground royalty of Covenant Gardens. These romances are sassy and steamy.
This horror novel takes place in 1950s Mexico and follows a young woman who goes to check on her cousin after receiving a mysterious letter begging for help. Now she’s stuck at the crumbling mansion with a cousin who is unwell, unwelcoming family members, and haunting voices and visions. This book is full of body horror and gruesome depreciations – definitely not for the faint of heart!
This paranormal mystery/thriller is told in dual timelines – present day and flashbacks to 1950. It follows 2 murders that took place at a haunted boarding school decades apart. This book is so creepy and atmospheric and I loved the small paranormal twist on this genre!
3. A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn
This adult historical mystery takes place in Victorian London and follows Veronica who wants nothing to do with Victorian society. After she’s attacked and finds her friend murdered, she teams up with another scientist to solve the case. Not only are the mysteries in this series fantastic but it has the end-all-be-all of slow burn romances!
4. Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
This series is very similar to the Veronica Speedwell series in a lot of ways and I think if you like one, you’ll like the other! This is a YA historical mystery following a young woman who wants to study forensic medicine when she and her classmate are swept into the hunt for Jack the Ripper. It also has an amazing slow burn romance for the ages!
Historical Literary Ficton
This literary fiction follows a young woman who moves to New York City in the 1940s. It follows her as she explores the Off-Broadway scene and the mistakes she makes along the way.
2. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
This is a multigenerational story following the descendants of 2 families across 300 years. It travel from Africa to the US in a stunning story about race, culture, and identity. This is a story that will stay with you long after you put it down.
3. Evidence of the Affair by Taylor Jenkins Reid
This is a shorty epistolary novella following 2 strangers who connect after they discover their spouses are having and affair. Taylor Jenkins Reid blew me away with her ability to pack such a potent punch into such a short short. Definitely worth checking out!
4. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
This book doesn’t need much an introduction. It’s as hyped as it is for a reason! This story follows a famous actress as she finally recounts the truth behind her career and 7 marriages. It’s an emotional journey that you won’t soon forget!
5. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
This is on the “newer” end of historical fiction but this literary drama is set during the 1970s. It follows a Chinese American family after the death of a their oldest child. It’s an emotionally charged story about identity, family, and delicate balance between the two.