8 Great Historical Fiction Novels That Bring Forgotten Histories to Light

There’s nothing like sinking into a good book. But have you considered reading a good book about history?

Historical fiction books give us a glimpse of the struggles and triumphs that have shaped our world. Many authors choose to reach into the past when society’s values, beliefs, and ways of life were very different from today’s society.

Read on to find out about great historical fiction novels that you need to read.

1. “The Water Dancer” by Ta-Nehisi Coate

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates is a brilliant example of a great historical fiction novel that brings forgotten histories to light. Set in the antebellum South, the novel follows the story of Hiram Walker, a young enslaved man with a mysterious power.

Through Hiram’s journey to freedom, Coates sheds light on the brutal realities of slavery and the resilience of those who fought against it. This novel not only showcases a powerful and emotional story. It also highlights the often-overlooked history of the Underground Railroad and the countless individuals who risked everything to help enslaved people escape.

Coates weaves together history, emotion, and thought-provoking commentary in this unforgettable and necessary read.

2. “Sin Eater” by Megan Campisi

Set in 16th-century England, the story follows the life of a young girl, May, who is forced to become a sin eater. A sin-eater is a person who consumes food and drinks to absolve the sins of the deceased.

Through May’s experiences, the reader is transported to a time when women had little to no agency and were subject to strict societal rules. Campisi beautifully weaves in forgotten elements of history, such as the practice of sin-eating. The goal is to shed light on the struggles and injustices faced by marginalized groups in the past.

This novel serves as a poignant reminder that there is much to be learned from forgotten histories. They deserve to be brought to the forefront through the power of great storytelling.

3. “Yellow Wife” by Sadeqa Johnson

“Yellow Wife” by Sadeqa Johnson is a powerful historical fiction novel that sheds light on a forgotten part of American history. Set in the 1850s, this novel tells the story of Pheby Delores Brown. She is a young enslaved woman who is forced to become the mistress of her sadistic master.

Through Pheby’s eyes, we witness the harsh realities of slavery and the resilience of those forced to endure it. Johnson’s evocative writing and detailed research bring the past to life. It sheds light on a dark and often overlooked aspect of American history.

“Yellow Wife” is a testament to the enduring strength and courage of women like Pheby. It is a must-read for all those interested in uncovering forgotten histories.

4. “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr 

Anthony Doerr’s “All the Light We Cannot See” is a remarkable novel that beautifully captures the forgotten history of World War II. Set in Nazi-occupied France, the story follows the lives of two individuals, a blind French girl and a young German soldier, whose paths cross unexpectedly.

Through their perspectives, Doerr shines a light on the brutality and devastation of war. It also shows the incredible resilience and humanity of those caught in its grips.

The novel paints a vivid picture of a tumultuous time in history, reminding readers of the sacrifices and struggles of ordinary people during this dark period.

5. “Testament” by Nino Ricci

Nino Ricci’s “Testament” is a prime example, as it delves into the life of Jesus Christ through the eyes of his younger brother, James.

Set in ancient Galilee, the novel brings to life the political tensions and religious strife of the time while also exploring the complex relationship between Jesus and his family. With vivid descriptions and well-researched historical details, “Testament” brings a fresh perspective on a familiar story and sheds light on a lesser-known figure in history.

6. “Wolf Hall” by Hilary Mantel

Hilary Mantel’s “Wolf Hall” is a compelling example of a great historical fiction novel that brings forgotten histories to light. Set in 16th-century England, the novel transports readers to a tumultuous time in history, focusing on the rise of Thomas Cromwell in the court of King Henry VIII.

Through Mantel’s vivid and detailed storytelling, readers can explore the complex political and religious landscape of the era and gain a deeper understanding of the events and characters that shaped it.

“Wolf Hall” sheds light on a lesser-known perspective of this infamous period, allowing readers to experience history in a new and thought-provoking way.

7. “War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy’s epic novel “War and Peace” is considered one of the greatest historical fiction novels of all time. Set during the Napoleonic Wars in early 19th century Russia, this masterpiece not only tells the story of the intertwined lives of several families but also brings to light forgotten histories of this tumultuous time period.

Through its vivid and detailed portrayal of characters and events, “War and Peace” sheds light on the impact of war on both individuals and society as a whole. It also highlights the complexities of human nature, making it a timeless classic that continues to resonate with readers.

8. “Manhattan Beach” by Jennifer Egan

Set in 1940s New York, this novel explores the city’s vibrant yet overlooked underworld of criminal activities during World War II. Egan not only weaves a gripping story of a young woman’s journey to become a shipyard worker and provide for her family. It also sheds light on the important roles women played during the war.

Through vivid and detailed descriptions, the novel transports readers to a time and place often overshadowed by more significant events. Ultimately, it gives voice to the forgotten stories of women and their contributions to history.

If you would like to explore more about these books mentioned or even books with other themes, you can visit the site of Insights on Innovation. Their list of books and movies is sure to give inspiration to readers.

Try Reading These Great Historical Fiction Novels Today

In conclusion, historical fiction novels have the power to transport readers to different eras and give a voice to forgotten histories. Through compelling storytelling, these books shed light on events that have shaped our world and teach us valuable lessons from the past.

Let’s continue to explore and uncover hidden histories through the pages of great historical fiction novels. Happy reading! Join us in discovering the untold stories of the past.

We hope you enjoyed this article! Take a look at our other blog posts to find more great articles to read.

Last Updated on October 9, 2023

Usama BIN Safdar
Meet Usama Bin Safdar, a wordsmith hailing from Faisalabad, Pakistan. With over 5 years of experience under his belt, he's a master at weaving words to create content that's not only informative but also engaging. He's a deep-diver when it comes to SEO, and as the Founder of SoftwareBench, he helps businesses and individuals navigate the digital landscape with ease. Follow Usama for a journey into the world of SEO and digital marketing, where every word is crafted with precision and passion.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *