The best historical fiction novels that bring real people to life

Juliana Cummings Author Of Sleeping With the Impaler: A Historical Romance About Vlad the Impaler
By Juliana Cummings

Who am I?

I’ve been a reader and writer of historical fiction for as long as I remember. As a writer, my goal is to bring these figures from the past alive again. These were real people and I want my readers to see that they are not just photos or stories in a history book.


I wrote...

Sleeping With the Impaler: A Historical Romance About Vlad the Impaler

By Juliana Cummings,

Book cover of Sleeping With the Impaler: A Historical Romance About Vlad the Impaler

What is my book about?

The year is 1457. Prince Vlad Dracul now sits on the throne of Wallachia. Seventeen-year-old Anastasia Holszanska, the bastard daughter of Hungarian war hero, John Hunyadi, finds herself betrothed to the new Prince, at the request of her father. As Anastasia travels to Targoviste Palace, she is filled with trepidation about her marriage, for she has heard unspeakable things about Prince Dracul and the way he deals with his enemies. But Anastasia discovers a side to her new husband that she never dreamed of. She never thought she would fall in love with a man who impales and tortures those who disagree with him. But along with Vlad’s thirst for power and cruelty, there lies a profound love that only Anastasia can comprehend.

The books I picked & why

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Innocent Traitor: A Novel of Lady Jane Grey

By Alison Weir,

Book cover of Innocent Traitor: A Novel of Lady Jane Grey

Why this book?

I loved Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir because it focuses solely on a much-forgotten woman of Tudor History. Weir gets across that Jane Gray was simply used as a political pawn. She was such a young girl, at only 17, and her parents gave no thought as to her happiness. She was scared and felt utterly alone and was handed the crown. If only for nine days, this young girl was Queen of England before her execution. She truly was an innocent traitor.

Innocent Traitor: A Novel of Lady Jane Grey

By Alison Weir,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Innocent Traitor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

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A wrenching novel about the life and death of Lady Jane Grey, one of the most complex and sympathetic figures in Tudor England, by popular historian Alison Weir: ideal for fans of Wolf Hall

Lady Jane Grey was born into times of extreme danger. Child of a scheming father and a ruthless mother, for whom she was merely a pawn in a dynastic power game with the highest stakes, she lived a life in thrall to political machinations and lethal religious fervour.

Jane's astonishing and essentially tragic story was played out during one of the most momentous periods of…


Autobiography of Henry VIII

By Margaret George,

Book cover of Autobiography of Henry VIII

Why this book?

I can not express how moved I was by this book. I have read extensively on Henry VIII but this book truly brought him to life. We see him not as the obese king with a fondness for the axeman, but as a smart, emotional, however somewhat egotistical, young king. We watch Henry age, fall in and out of love, and become an old man with many health problems. The characters in this book are so very real and George did a tremendous job bringing the court of Henry VIII alive for her readers.

Autobiography of Henry VIII

By Margaret George,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Autobiography of Henry VIII as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A paperback edition of the fictitious memoirs of King Henry VIII, published to coincide with publication of the author's new novel, MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS AND THE ISLES.


Mrs. Poe

By Lynn Cullen,

Book cover of Mrs. Poe

Why this book?

This is an incredible story about Edgar Allen Poe’s wife told through the eyes of his mistress. Very well done and it really gives a look into Mr. and Mrs. Poe and their marriage. But it also gives us a sense of the passionate romance between Poe and his mistress.

Mrs. Poe

By Lynn Cullen,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Mrs. Poe as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Inspired by literature's most haunting love triangle, award-winning author Lynn Cullen delivers a pitch-perfect rendering of Edgar Allan Poe, his mistress's tantalizing confession, and his wife's frightening obsession in this new masterpiece of historical fiction to which Sara Gruen says, "Mrs. Poe had my heart racing...Don't miss it!"

And make sure to check out the captivating new novel from Lynn Cullen-Twain's End-where the acclaimed author tells a fictionalized imagining of the relationship between iconic author Mark Twain and his personal secretary, Isabel Lyon.

1845: New York City is a sprawling warren of gaslit streets and crowded avenues, bustling with new…


Mozart's Wife

By Juliet Waldron,

Book cover of Mozart's Wife

Why this book?

I loved this book. I adore Mozart and reading about him through the eyes of his wife, was so well done in this book. We see Mozart brought to life from his early days as a young child to his struggles with his father as an adult. Waldron captured Mozart’s brilliance, his silliness, and his all-around personality with his family. She also shows the reader that behind this man, was a woman who supported her husband despite his frivolous spending and disregard for authority. This novel was well done, and I highly recommend it to anyone who has an interest in Mozart behind his music.

Mozart's Wife

By Juliet Waldron,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mozart's Wife as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Giddy sugarplum or calculating bitch? Pretty Konstanze aroused strong feelings among her contemporaries. Her in-law's loathed her. Mozart's friends, more than forty years after his death, remained eager to gossip about her "failures" as wife to the world's first superstar.

Maturing from child, to wife, to hard-headed widow, Konstanze would pay Mozart's debts, provide for their children, and relentlessly market and mythologize her brilliant husband.

Mozart's letters attest to his affection for Konstanze as well as to their powerful sexual bond. Nevertheless, prominent among the many mysteries surrounding the composer's untimely death: why did his much beloved Konstanze never mark…


Becoming Marie Antoinette

By Juliet Grey,

Book cover of Becoming Marie Antoinette

Why this book?

Juliet Gray brought Marie Antoinette to life in this book. We got to understand her from such a young girl who had so much pressure put on her. We see her as kind and childlike but we also see how Marie does mature into a woman who strives to have a loving marriage with her husband while they rule France.

Becoming Marie Antoinette

By Juliet Grey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Becoming Marie Antoinette as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This enthralling confection of a novel, the first in a new trilogy, follows the transformation of a coddled Austrian archduchess into the reckless, powerful, beautiful queen Marie Antoinette.
 
Why must it be me? I wondered. When I am so clearly inadequate to my destiny?

Raised alongside her numerous brothers and sisters by the formidable empress of Austria, ten-year-old Maria Antonia knew that her idyllic existence would one day be sacrificed to her mother’s political ambitions. What she never anticipated was that the day in question would come so soon.

Before she can journey from sunlit picnics with her sisters in…


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