The Greatest Books: Historical Fiction


139 Books, According to 172 “Best of” Lists

This list is generated from 172 book polls & top lists from a variety of great sources. The books is ranked based on how many lists a particular book appears on. Other list in this series

Gen. Fic.-Novels (242 books)| Crime & Thriller (272 books)| Gen. Fic.-Novels (242 books)| Non-Fiction (502 books)| Poetry (88 books)

  1. All the Light We Cannot See by Doerr, Anthony (44 Lists: a1,a2,a4,a10,a15,b3,b4,b8,b17,b19,c1,c4,d2,e4,f1,g1,g2,g3,g6,h1,i3,i4,k1,k2,l1,l2,l6,l7,m6,n1,n3,n8,n12,p2,p6,p12,r4,s1,s2,s3,s4,s7,w2,w5)


2. Paying Guests, The by Waters, Sarah (33 Lists: a1,a10,a14,b3,b5,b8,b19,e4,f10,g1,g6,h1,i3,k1,k2,l6,m6,m10,n1,n5,n8,n14,n15,p2,p6,s2,s3,s4,s6,s7,t3,u1,w2)


3. Euphoria by King, Lily (27 Lists: a1,b2,b8,b13,b18,b19,e4,g1,g3,k1,m10,m11,n1,n5,n9,n12,n14,p1,r3,s2,s3,s7,s11,t1,v1,v5,w2)


4. Brief History of Seven Killings, A by James, Marlon (26 Lists: a1,a7,b2,b3,b4,b6,b13,b19,c7,f3,g2,h2,k2,l1,m6,m8,m11,n1,n2,n9,p1,r4,s2,s3,t1,w2)


5. Narrow Road to the Deep North, The by Flanagan, Richard (26 Lists: a1,a2,b5,b8,e2,f10,g1,g5,g6,i5,k2,l6,m2,m8,m10,n1,n5,n15,o1,p6,s2,s3,t3,v2,w1,w2)


6. Nora Webster by Toibin, Colm (19 Lists: a1,a15,b4,b13,c1,c4,c8,e1,f10,g5,g6,i5,k1,n1,n5,p2,p5,s2,w2)


7. Zone of Interest, The by Amis, Martin (17 Lists: a1,a14,b11,e1,f9,f10,g6,m9,n5,n6,n15,r5,s2,s6,s7,t1,v3)


8. Some Luck by Smiley, Jane (16 Lists: b3,b8,b13,f1,f10,g1,g6,k2,l1,n3,n5,p5,s3,s6,u1,w2)


9. We Are Not Ourselves by Thomas, Matthew (16 Lists: a1,b8,b18,b19,c4,e4,f2,i3,l6,m10,n1,p1,p6,p11,w2)


10. Invention of Wings, The by Kidd, Sue Monk (9 Lists: a1,a5,a11,b3,f1,g1,i3,l1,l6)


11. Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 by Prose, Francine (9 Lists: b3,b4,c4,k1,k2,n1,n5,s7,w2)


12. Song of the Shank by Allen, Jeffery Renard (9 Lists: b4,b6,c6,k1,k2,n1,p3,r4,s6)

13. Officer and a Spy, An by Harris, Robert (8 Lists: a1,b9,e3,k2,l6,m1,n15,w3)


14. Girls at the Kingfisher Club, The by Valentine, Genevieve (7 Lists: b16,d1,l3,n5,r1,t2,w2)


15. Moor’s Account, The by Lalami, Laila (7 Lists: k1,k2,n1,n5,p12,s2,w3)


16. Museum of Extraordinary Things, The by Hoffman, Alice (7 Lists: a7,b5,b19,g1,i4,l6,s3)


17. Frog Music by Donoghue, Emma (6 Lists: b3,b4,g1,p6,s7,w2)

18. Land of Love and Drowning by Yanique, Tiphanie (6 Lists: b6,b11,b18,f2,n5,r4)


19. Lucky Us by Bloom, Amy (6 Lists: a1,b5,b11,c4,p5,w2)


20. Miniaturist, The by Burton, Jessie (6 Lists: b16,g1,g6,k1,t3,w1)


21. Rainey Royal by Landis, Dylan (6 Lists: b19,l4,m10,s1,s2,s7)


22. Arctic Summer by Galgut, Damon (5 Lists: b4,e2,n15,s2,t3)

23. Kept, The by Scott, James (5 Lists: a1,b19,f2,l4,m10)

24. Neverhome by Hunt, Laird (5 Lists: b18,g5,l1,l7,n12)


25. Invention of Exile, The by Manko, Vanessa (4 Lists: b8,f2,k1,m10)


26. Lives of Others, The by Mukherjee, Neel (4 Lists: c8,i5,m2,n15)

27. Long Man by Greene, Amy (4 Lists: b4,m1,s2,w2)


28. Red or Dead by Peace, David (4 Lists: b11,m8,n5,s2)

29. Serpent of Venice, The by Moore, Christopher (4 Lists: b18,g1,h1,s11)

30. Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Horan, Nancy (4 Lists: b3,h1,s6,w2)

31. Wayfaring Stranger by Burke, James Lee (4 Lists: b19,g1,h4,r1)


32. What Is Visible by Elkins, Kimberly (4 Lists: b3,n12,s6,w6)

33. Bully of Order, The by Hart, Brian (3 Lists: b8,m10,s2)


34. Clever Girl by Hadley, Tessa (3 Lists: c4,s2,w3)

35. Edge of Eternity by Follett, Ken (3 Lists: b8,f9,g1)


36. I Pity the Poor Immigrant by Lazar, Zachary (3 Lists: m10,n1,s2)

37. Off Course by Huneven, Michelle (3 Lists: m10,p5,s2)

38. Orenda, The by Boyden, Joseph (3 Lists: a11,m10,s3)

39. Painted Horses by Brooks, Malcolm (3 Lists: a1,i4,n12)

If you like what you read be sure to ❤ it below

40. Signature of All Things, The by Gilbert, Elizabeth (3 Lists: k2,l6,m3)

41. Wake, The by Kingsnorth, Paul (3 Lists: m2,n15,s10)

42. Architect’s Apprentice, The by Shafak, Elif (2 Lists: g6,i5)


43. Bitter Greens by Forsyth, Kate (2 Lists: l1,r1)

44. Burnable Book, A by Holsinger, Bruce (2 Lists: g1,r1)

45. China Dolls by See, Lisa (2 Lists: g1,w2)

46. Day of Atonement, The by Liss, David (2 Lists: b5,l1)


47. Dollbaby by McNeal, Laura Lane (2 Lists: b19,g1)

48. End of Always, The by Davenport, Randi (2 Lists: f2,w6)

49. End of Days, The by Erpenbeck, Jenny (2 Lists: g6,i5)

50. For Such a Time by Breslin, Kate (2 Lists: r7,r8)


51. God in Every Stone, A by Shamsie, Kamila (2 Lists: b16,w7)

52. King’s Curse, The by Gregory, Philippa (2 Lists: g1,n5)


53. Last Kind Words Saloon, The by McMurtry, Larry (2 Lists: b5,s3)

54. Love and Treasure by Waldman, Ayelet (2 Lists: s7,w2)

55. McGlue by Moshfegh, Ottessa (2 Lists: b6,v2)

56. Monday, Monday by Crook, Elizabeth (2 Lists: b5,k1)

57. Mrs. Hemingway by Wood, Naomi (2 Lists: b19,t3)


58. One Night in Winter by Montefiore, Simon Sebag (2 Lists: n15,w3)

59. Our Lady of the Nile by Mukasonga, Scholastique (2 Lists: f3,p1)

60. Quilt for Christmas, A by Dallas, Sandra (2 Lists: b19,r5)

61. Road to Reckoning by Lautner, Robert (2 Lists: h1,s6)

62. Ruth’s Journey by McCaig, Donald (2 Lists: b17,r5)

63. Steady Running of the Hour, The by Go, Justin (2 Lists: b5,r5)

64. Story of Land and Sea, The by Smith, Katy Simpson (2 Lists: h2,v1)


65. Sundance by Fuller, David (2 Lists: d1,e3)

66. Temporary Gentleman, The by Barry, Sebastian (2 Lists: t3,w2)


67. Us Conductors by Michaels, Sean (2 Lists: n5,s11)

68. Visionist, The by Urquhart, Rachel (2 Lists: f2,s7)

69. Wind Is Not a River, The by Payton, Brian (2 Lists: b3,s3)

70. Above the East China Sea by Bird, Sarah (1 Lists: s3)

71. After Before by Wayne, Jemma (1 Lists: w7)

72. Aren’t We Sisters by Ferguson, Patricia (1 Lists: w7)

73. Auschwitz Escape, The by Rosenberg, Joel E. (1 Lists: g1)


74. Bitter Eden by Afrika, Tatamkhulu (1 Lists: n5)

75. Black Hat Jack: the True Life Adventures of Deadwood Dick, as Told by His Own Self by Lansdale, Joe (1 Lists: d1)

76. Boston Girl, The by Diamant, Anita (1 Lists: f1)

77. Cementville by Livers, Paulette (1 Lists: f2)


78. Commandant of Lubizec by Hicks, Patrick (1 Lists: n12)

79. Crooked Heart by Evans, Lissa (1 Lists: w7)

80. Desert God by Smith, Wilbur (1 Lists: s11)

81. Door that Faced West, The by Clark, Alan M. (1 Lists: d1)

82. Dreaming for Freud by Kohler, Sheila (1 Lists: b8)

83. Dress Thief, The by Evans, Natalie Meg (1 Lists: r8)

84. Electric City by Rosner, Elizabeth (1 Lists: n5)

85. Evergreen by Rasmussen, Rebecca (1 Lists: b3)

86. Fall of Marigolds, A by Meissner, Susan (1 Lists: h1)


87. Fallen Beauty by Robuck, Erika (1 Lists: a14)

88. Falling from Horses by Gloss, Molly (1 Lists: m10)


89. Flight of the Sparrow by Brown, Amy Belding (1 Lists: r1 )

90. Fortune Hunter, The by Goodwin, Daisy (1 Lists: h1)

91. Four Faces of Truth by Rinaldi, Harriette (1 Lists: p11)

92. Goddess of Small Victories, The by Grannec, Yannick (1 Lists: b5)

93. Gretel in the Dark by Granville, Eliza (1 Lists: b16)

94. Gypsy Goddess, The by Kandasamy, Meena (1 Lists: g6)

95. Hollow Ground, The by Harnett, Natalie (1 Lists: p11)

96. Hop Alley by Phillips, Scott (1 Lists: d1)


97. Hour of Lead, The by Holbert, Bruce (1 Lists: k1)

98. I Always Loved You by Oliveira, Robin (1 Lists: p11)

99. I Shall Be Near to You by McCabe, Erin Lindsay (1 Lists: g1)

100. Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street, The by Gilman, Susan Jane (1 Lists: b17)

101. In the Night of Time by Molina, Antonio Munoz (1 Lists: w2)

102. In the Wolf’s Mouth by Foulds, Adam (1 Lists: n5)

103. In Times of Fading Light by Ruge, Eugen (1 Lists: p5)

104. Kingmaker: Winter Pilgrims by Clements, Toby (1 Lists: g6)

105. King’s Ransom, A by Penman, Sharon Kay (1 Lists: g1)


106. Lie, The by Dunmore, Helen (1 Lists: t3)

107. Light and the Dark, The by Shishkin, Mikhail (1 Lists: w3)

108. Long Sword, The by Cameron, Christian (1 Lists: f4)

109. Man Who Loved Dogs, The by Padura, Leonardo (1 Lists: f8)

110. Map of Betrayal by Jin, Ha (1 Lists: c1)


111. Marshlands by Olshan, Matthew (1 Lists: n15)


112. Melancholy II by Fosse, Jon (1 Lists: p5)

113. Motherland by Hummel, Maria (1 Lists: s7)

114. Mount Terminus by Grand, David (1 Lists: s2)

115. My Name Is Resolute by Turner, Nancy E. (1 Lists: g1)


116. Orchard of Lost Souls, The by Mohamed, Nadifa (1 Lists: b4)

117. People in the Trees, The by Yanagihara, Hanya (1 Lists: i5)

118. Pioneer Girl by Nguyen, Bich Minh (1 Lists: s7)

119. Prince’s Boy, The by Bailey, Paul (1 Lists: n15)

120. Promise, The by Weisgarber, Ann (1 Lists: n12)

121. Season of Storms by Kearsley, Susanna (1 Lists: a8)

122. Secrecy by Thompson, Rupert (1 Lists: a1)

123. Secret Life of Violet Grant, The by Williams, Beatriz (1 Lists: g1)

124. Secret Life of Williams Shakespeare, The by Morgan, Jude (1 Lists: k1)

125. Secret of Magic, The by Johnson, Deborah (1 Lists: b17)

126. Silence for the Dead by St. James, Simone (1 Lists: a8)

127. Skylight by Saramago, Jose (1 Lists: s7)

128. Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing, The by Jacob, Mira (1 Lists: g1)

129. Stonehenge Letters, The by Karlinsky, Harry (1 Lists: l7)


130. Storm Still by Handke, Peter (1 Lists: f10)

131. Surfacing, The by James, Cormac (1 Lists: c9)

132. Swan Gondola, The by Schaffert, Timothy (1 Lists: k2)

133. Taxidermist’s Daughter, The by Mosse, Kate (1 Lists: g6)

134. Tell by Itani, Frances (1 Lists: s11)

135. Thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred Price, Purveyor of Superior Funerals, The by Jones, Wendy (1 Lists: s7)

136. Untold, The by Collins, Courtney (1 Lists: b3)

137. Wake by Hope, Anna (1 Lists: b16)

138. Wall, The by Adler, H.G. (1 Lists: p1)

139. Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress, The by Lawhon, Ariel (1 Lists: r1)


List Used:

  1. AARP , a10
  2. A.V. Club , a7
  3. AbeBooks , a11
  4. About.Com , a5
  5. Agatha Awards , a6
  6. ALA/RUSA Notable Books , a2
  7. Alex Awards , a4
  8. All About Romance , a8
  9. Amazon , a1
  10. America’s Test Kitchen , a12
  11. Andrew Carnegie Medals , a15
  12. Andrew Zimmern , a13
  13. Association for Library Service to Children , a9
  14. The Atlantic , a3
  15. Austin Chronicle , a14
  16. Backchannel , b12
  17. Barnes and Noble , b8
  18. Barry Award , b9
  19. BBC , b13
  20. BestFantasyBooks.com , b14
  21. Biographile , b15
  22. Boing Boing , b10
  23. Book Riot , b11
  24. The Book Smugglers , b16
  25. The BookBitch , b17
  26. Booklist , b4
  27. BookPage , b3
  28. BookPeople , b5
  29. Bookreporter , b19
  30. Boston Globe , b2
  31. Brain Pickings , b7
  32. Bustle , b18
  33. Buzzfeed , b6
  34. Chatelaine , c3
  35. Christian Science Monitor , c1
  36. Cleveland Plain-Dealer , c4
  37. Comics Alliance , c5
  38. Commonweal , c6
  39. Complex , c7
  40. Costa Book Awards , c8
  41. Crime Always Pays , c9
  42. Crimespree Magazine , c2
  43. Cybil Awards , c10
  44. The Daily Beast , d2
  45. The Daily Meal , d3
  46. Denver Post , d4
  47. Do Some Damage Crime Fiction , d1
  48. Eater , e6
  49. The Economist , e2
  50. Edgar Awards , e3
  51. Elle , e7
  52. Entertainment Weekly , e4
  53. Entrepreneur , e5
  54. Esquire , e1
  55. Fantasy Book Critic , f4
  56. Fantasy Café , f5
  57. Fantasy Faction , f6
  58. Fantasy Literature.com , f7
  59. Fiction_L (online discussion group — one vote for each title receiving multiple votes on list) , f1
  60. Financial Times , f10
  61. Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize , f2
  62. Flavorwire , f3
  63. Foreign Affairs , f8
  64. Fortune , f9
  65. Gear Patrol , g2
  66. Globe and Mail , g5
  67. Goodreads Choice Awards , g1
  68. Great New Books , g3
  69. Greatist , g4
  70. Guardian , g6
  71. Hammett Prize , h4
  72. Horn Book , h5
  73. The House of Crime and Mystery , h3
  74. Hudson Booksellers , h1
  75. The Huffington Post , h2
  76. Hugo Awards , h6
  77. Hypable , h7
  78. Inc. , i2
  79. The Independent , i5
  80. Indies Choices Awards , i4
  81. Indigo , i3
  82. io9 , i1
  83. Kansas City Star , k2
  84. Kirkus Reviews , k1
  85. Largehearted Boy , l4
  86. Left Coast Crime Awards , l5
  87. Library Journal , l1
  88. Library Reads , l2
  89. Library Thing , l6
  90. LitReactor , l7
  91. Locus Magazine , l3
  92. Los Angeles Times , l8
  93. Los Angeles Times Book Prizes , l9
  94. Maclean’s , m4
  95. Mad Hatter’s Bookshelf , m7
  96. Man Booker Prize , m2
  97. Mashable , m11
  98. McNally Jackson , m8
  99. Miami Herald , m9
  100. The Millions , m10
  101. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel , m12
  102. Minneapolis Star-Tribune , m1
  103. Morning News-Tournament of Books , m6
  104. Mother Jones , m3
  105. Murder by the Book , m5
  106. National Book Awards , n3
  107. National Book Critics Circle Awards , n9
  108. National Journal , n10
  109. National Outdoor Book Awards , n11
  110. National Reading Group Month: Great Group Reads , n12
  111. Nebula and Andre Norton Awards , n4
  112. The New Republic , n7
  113. New Statesman , n15
  114. New York Post , n13
  115. New York Public Library , n8
  116. New York Times , n1
  117. The New Yorker , n6
  118. Newsday , n14
  119. Newsweek , n2
  120. NPR , n5
  121. O Magazine , o1
  122. Only the Best Science Fiction & Fantasy , o2
  123. PaperMag , p8
  124. Paste Magazine , p9
  125. Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist , p7
  126. PBS Food , p10
  127. PEN/Faulkner Awards , p3
  128. People Magazine , p2
  129. Pop Matters , p5
  130. Powell’s Books , p6
  131. Printz Awards , p4
  132. Providence Journal , p11
  133. Publisher’s Weekly , p1
  134. Pulitzer Prizes , p12
  135. The Rap Sheet , r2
  136. Read Me Deadly , r3
  137. Richmond Times-Dispatch , r5
  138. Riffle , r4
  139. RITA Awards , r8
  140. Rolling Stone , r6
  141. RT Book Reviewer’s Awards , r7
  142. RUSA Reading List , r1
  143. Salon , s2
  144. San Francisco Chronicle , s7
  145. The Savvy Reader , s11
  146. School Library Journal , s1
  147. Science Friday , s12
  148. Seattle Times , s3
  149. SFF World , s8
  150. Slate , s4
  151. Splitsider , s13
  152. St. Louis Post-Dispatch , s6
  153. Story Prize , s9
  154. Strand Critics Award , s5
  155. Strange Horizons , s10
  156. Telegraph , t3
  157. Time , t1
  158. Tor.com , t2
  159. USA Today , u1
  160. Vanity Fair , v2
  161. The Village Voice , v3
  162. Vogue , v1
  163. Vox , v4
  164. Vulture , v5
  165. Wall Street Journal , w3
  166. Washington Post , w2
  167. Waterstone’s Book of the Year , w1
  168. The Week , w5
  169. Wired , w4
  170. Woman’s Day , w6
  171. Women’s Prize for Fiction , w7
  172. YALSA Awards , y1

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