The best historical novels to get lost in

Sherry V. Ostroff Author Of Caledonia
By Sherry V. Ostroff

Who am I?

My first love in reading and writing is historical fiction. But I’m pretty particular about how the stories are created. To me, historical novels should be as accurate as possible; the facts, rather than the fiction, should guide the story. With my writing, I follow the wise words of the author, Anya Seton: It has…been my anxious endeavor to use nothing but historical fact when these facts are known…. Since I have based my story on history, I have tried never to distort time, or place, or character to suit my convenience. I’m particularly pleased when readers tell me that my research is exemplary and they have learned something new. 


I wrote...

Caledonia

By Sherry V. Ostroff,

Book cover of Caledonia

What is my book about?

Two women living 300 years apart are bound by mysterious circumstances. 21st century Hanna keeps uncovering evidence linking her to 17th century Anna. Both women experience adventure, romance, and tragedy as the reader witnesses them become more and more connected.

Caledonia tells the story of The Darien Scheme, the creation of a 17th-century Scottish trading colony in Central America. Its epic failure and the tragic death of more than half of the colonists would forever change the course of history.

The books I picked & why

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The Weight of Ink

By Rachel Kadish,

Book cover of The Weight of Ink

Why this book?

If you love historical novels like I do, with dueling timelines, great characters, and plot lines, then, Rachel Kadish’s book’s for you. Like my book, there are two time periods, two protagonists, two competing plots, and two worlds. This juxtaposing keeps the reader on their toes while they are impatient to move from one timeline to the next while adding a further dimension to the storyline.

The Weight of Ink

By Rachel Kadish,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Weight of Ink as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF A NATIONAL JEWISH BOOK AWARD A USA TODAY BESTSELLER "A gifted writer, astonishingly adept at nuance, narration, and the politics of passion."-Toni Morrison Set in London of the 1660s and of the early twenty-first century, The Weight of Ink is the interwoven tale of two women of remarkable intellect: Ester Velasquez, an emigrant from Amsterdam who is permitted to scribe for a blind rabbi, just before the plague hits the city; and Helen Watt, an ailing historian with a love of Jewish history. As the novel opens, Helen has been summoned by a former student to view a…


Katherine

By Anya Seton,

Book cover of Katherine

Why this book?

Rich, lush, and wonderfully written, Katherine is a book that grabbed a hold of me from page one and didn’t let go. Even after I finished the book I couldn’t get it out of my head. If you love historical fiction, this is a book that will carry you away. 

Katherine

By Anya Seton,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Katherine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Exhilarating, exuberant, and rich," Katherine is an epic novel of a love affair that changed history—that of Katherine Swynford and John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, the ancestors of most of the British royal family (Austin Chronicle).

Set in the vibrant fourteenth century of Chaucer and the Black Death, the story features knights fighting in battle, serfs struggling in poverty, and the magnificent Plantagenets—Edward III, the Black Prince, and Richard II—who rule despotically over a court rotten with intrigue. Within this era of danger and romance, John of Gaunt, the king’s son, falls passionately in love with the already-married Katherine.…


Outlander

By Diana Gabaldon,

Book cover of Outlander

Why this book?

From the prologue on I was mesmerized by this book. I couldn’t turn pages fast enough and read through entire nights. I was thrilled that the book was long because I never wanted it to end. And when I was done, I was relieved to know there was a second book in the series, and a third, and a…. I continued to read the entire series of 9 books, and when I was done, I read them all again. Diana Gabaldon is a master at writing historical fiction with a wee bit of fantasy. 

Outlander

By Diana Gabaldon,

Why should I read it?

22 authors picked Outlander as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The first book in Diana Gabaldon’s acclaimed Outlander saga, the basis for the Starz original series.

One of the top ten best-loved novels in America, as seen on PBS’s The Great American Read!
 
Unrivaled storytelling. Unforgettable characters. Rich historical detail. These are the hallmarks of Diana Gabaldon’s work. Her New York Times bestselling Outlander novels have earned the praise of critics and captured the hearts of millions of fans. Here is the story that started it all, introducing two remarkable characters, Claire Beauchamp Randall and Jamie Fraser, in a spellbinding novel of passion and…


Red Winter: One Woman's Struggle to Survive the Russian Revolution

By Kyra Kaptzan Robinov,

Book cover of Red Winter: One Woman's Struggle to Survive the Russian Revolution

Why this book?

I love books that include unusual locations and little-known events. Red Winter takes place in the 1920s in Siberia when the pogroms came and disrupted the peaceful existence of a small town in the frozen north. Like my book, which is about the creation of a Scottish colony in Central America, Red Winter offers the reader an opportunity to learn about a largely unknown history.  

Red Winter: One Woman's Struggle to Survive the Russian Revolution

By Kyra Kaptzan Robinov,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Red Winter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When murderous Bolsheviks infiltrate the Siberian city of Nikolaevsk-on-Amur in 1920, Luba’s comfortable, upper class life is upended overnight. As her husband is imprisoned and their house overrun with unruly partisan soldiers, Luba finds herself on the run with four small children, her mother-in-law, and epileptic sister-in-law. Pigsties, abandoned warehouses, opium dens are just a few of the places the group seeks refuge as they try to elude capture and stay alive.

The little-known history of this exotic time and place is seen through the eyes of a reluctant heroine grappling with adversity and loss during the dangerous political chaos…


The Other Einstein

By Marie Benedict,

Book cover of The Other Einstein

Why this book?

The Other Einstein is a biography about Albert Einstein’s first wife, Maleva. I was attracted to this book because I appreciate stories about strong woman who have to fight their way to be noticed. The ancient female protagonist in my own book is similar. She must fight her way out of a dangerous situation to get what she wants.

The Other Einstein

By Marie Benedict,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Other Einstein as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From beloved New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Marie Benedict comes the story of a not-so-famous scientist who not only loved Albert Einstein, but also shaped the theories that brought him lasting renown.
In the tradition of Beatriz Williams and Paula McClain, Marie Benedict's The Other Einstein offers us a window into a brilliant, fascinating woman whose light was lost in Einstein's enormous shadow. This novel resurrects Einstein's wife, a brilliant physicist in her own right, whose contribution to the special theory of relativity is hotly debated. Was she simply Einstein's sounding board, an assistant performing complex mathematical…


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