Historical fiction is incredibly hot right now. If you ask me, history has always been fascinating, but historical fiction gives us the ability to imagine ourselves into a time and place that no longer exists, and never will again. Even those who don’t think they like history – probably because they associate it with memorizing endless lists of names and dates – will find that they enjoy an excellent historical novel just as much as those of us who know we’re obsessed with it!
So, here are a few of my favorite historical fiction books of the year that I think would work exceptionally well as gifts:
Russian Winter, Daphne Kalotay
This fascinating book about a Russian ballerina, both in her prime and in her old age, completely captivated me when I read it. I didn’t hesitate in my praise for the book when I reviewed it either – it’s the perfect choice for a winter read as well.
Lady of the English, Elizabeth Chadwick
Those of us who love historical fiction set in medieval England are intimately familiar with Chadwick’s work, but why not give someone else the gift of discovery? This is a fantastic place to start.
Madame Tussaud, Michelle Moran
Perfect for anyone who has ever visited the famous wax museum, especially the one in London, and wondered about the woman who started it all. Also excellent for those interested in the French Revolution, and an all-around wonderful historical novel.
Rules of Civility, Amor Towles
For the friend or family member who loves New York City, or at least the idea of it, Rules of Civility is just the ticket, capturing a culture alongside a smart, beautifully written story.
22 Britannia Road, Amanda Hodgkinson
A beautiful book that deals with the trials of immigration after World War II, this would be an amazing choice for a family member studying psychology with its peek into the brain of a child and their adaptation skills. Its relatively common immigration story has what was in my opinion an excellent twist.
Death of Kings, Bernard Cornwell
While the latest in a series, this one is ideal for anyone who doesn’t mind getting down and dirty with history. Pair with Praetorian by Simon Scarrow and you have two great new books. Alternatively, start them out fresh with The Last Kingdom and Under the Eagle.
The Autobiography of Mrs Tom Thumb, Melanie Benjamin
For anyone who has ever enjoyed the circus, this glimpse into the life of Miss Lavinia Warren Bump is guaranteed to please. This fascinating, contradictory, stubborn women will captivate all those who encounter her.
Which historical fiction would you or have you chosen as a gift this year?
Some of these books were sent to me for free for review.