The best historical fiction books on how magic can change your life

Who am I?

I enjoy moving through time to visit places in different eras. How people lived in the past fascinates me. I am interested in us, the people on the ground floor, not kings and queens. My characters have travelled to medieval Yorkshire, followed the trail of Vikings, hid from Romans in Northern Britannia and soon will visit London in 1600. Because I love the concept of magic, my main characters are witches. Two cats in my stories are mind readers; a helpful skill when solving mysteries.


I wrote...

All the World's a Stage

By Maureen Thorpe,

Book cover of All the World's a Stage

What is my book about?

In All the World’s a Stage. Annie and her time-travelling friends take a vacation in 17th-century London to see the famous Globe theatre. London is bursting at the seams with the privileged, the poor and the rogues. A bag of silver coins brought by the time-travellers to purchase food and board becomes a sought-after prize from people who will stop at nothing to seize the bounty. In constant danger, Annie and her friends must create ingenious and wily scenarios along with a famous playwright to bring the London gangs to justice. 

The books I picked & why

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Blackberry Wine

By Joanne Harris,

Book cover of Blackberry Wine

Why this book?

I read this book many years ago in 2000. This book with magic realism awoke my love of magic (buried since a child). Five bottles of homemade wine hold powerful but subtle magic which transform the hero’s life. I love the concept that there is always hope; that there is something out there if we just reach out and believe. The setting is in France which also awoke a desire to travel–and I love making homemade wine! 

Blackberry Wine

By Joanne Harris,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This captivating and charming novel from international multi-million copy seller Joanne Harris takes us back to the French village we first discovered in Chocolat. Seamlessly interweaving the past and the present, magic and memory, it is a sensual rollercoaster that will appeal to fans of Victoria Hislop, Fiona Valpy, Maggie O'Farrell and Rachel Joyce.

'Thickly sensuous, wildly indulgent, magical escapism: Chocolat lovers will drink deeply' --GUARDIAN
'Joanne Harris has the gift of conveying her delight in the sensuous pleasures of food, wine, scent and plants... Blackberry Wine has all the appeal of a velvety scented glass of vintage wine' --…


Life After Life

By Kate Atkinson,

Book cover of Life After Life

Why this book?

This story is about an upper-middle-class English family who is caught up in the events of WW2. The domestic details are fascinating including the kinds of puddings served. (I love puddings). Where this story differs is that Ursula, the heroine, has to keep reliving parts of her life until she ‘gets it right’. I could not stop thinking about Ursula for a long time. I was so impressed by how the story did not follow any normal pattern but demonstrated the power and flexibility wielded by the author. Kate Atkinson also attached a Pinterest page to her website. The visuals made a huge impact upon me so I added a Pinterest page to my stories.  

Life After Life

By Kate Atkinson,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked Life After Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What if you could live again and again, until you got it right?

On a cold and snowy night in 1910, Ursula Todd is born to an English banker and his wife. She dies before she can draw her first breath. On that same cold and snowy night, Ursula Todd is born, lets out a lusty wail, and embarks upon a life that will be, to say the least, unusual. For as she grows, she also dies, repeatedly, in a variety of ways, while the young century marches on towards its second cataclysmic world war.

Does Ursula's apparently infinite number…

The Hobbit

By J.R.R. Tolkien,

Book cover of The Hobbit

Why this book?

I have read The Hobbit three times to date. As someone who is fascinated by magic—this is a story of magic. A small six toed person embarks on a journey that requires all of his courage and a lot of help from his friends. Now I come to think of it, that is the theme for all of my books, except for the six toes). I fell in love with the different characters and learned how they make or break a good story. I also learned that persistence pays off; that being fearful can be overcome.

The Hobbit

By J.R.R. Tolkien,

Why should I read it?

25 authors picked The Hobbit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Special collector's film tie-in hardback of the best-selling classic, featuring the complete story with a sumptuous cover design inspired by THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY and brand new reproductions of all the drawings and maps by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely travelling further than the pantry of his hobbit-hole in Bag End.

But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard, Gandalf, and a company of thirteen dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an unexpected journey 'there and back again'. They have a plot to raid…


The History of Mr. Polly

By H.G. Wells,

Book cover of The History of Mr. Polly

Why this book?

This book was first published in 1910. When I think of H.G. Wells, I think of his story about a time machine but this story, which I studied in school, was about changing your life, living your dream. Magic happens when Mr. Polly attempts suicide with the result that he becomes a hero and frees himself from the chains that bind him. I learned that all is possible. One does not need to be young, beautiful, and run a 4-minute mile to achieve one’s goals. With this thought in mind, I have run a marathon and entered two triathlons, finishing both and not coming last! I began my writing career at 70 years of age and am now the author of 5 books on mystery, history, and magic. 

The History of Mr. Polly

By H.G. Wells,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The History of Mr. Polly as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Mr Polly is an ordinary middle-aged man who is tired of his wife's nagging and his dreary job as the owner of a regional gentleman's outfitters. Faced with the threat of bankruptcy, he concludes that the only way to escape his frustrating existence is by burning his shop to the ground, and killing himself. Unexpected events, however, conspire at the last moment to lead the bewildered Mr Polly to a bright new future - after he saves a life, fakes his death, and escapes to a life of heroism, hope and ultimate happiness.

A Midsummer Night's Dream

By William Shakespeare, Arthur Rackham (illustrator),

Book cover of A Midsummer Night's Dream

Why this book?

A bit of a cheat, I confess, as this is a play. But what a play. Stories within stories. Characters so real, they are flesh and blood. And so much magic, real magic, delivered by a fairy queen and king, fairies, and a hobgoblin called Puck. As an author I learn so much from Shakespeare’s plots. He is able to describe human behaviour so well. I enjoy losing myself in magic or fantasy, suspending reality. (I just thought of Harry Potter). 

A Midsummer Night's Dream

By William Shakespeare, Arthur Rackham (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Midsummer Night's Dream as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a comedy written by William Shakespeare between 1590 and 1596. It is one of his most played pieces. The events of the play take place in and around Athens in ancient Greece and include scenes from a fairytale world inhabited by characters from Greek mythology.

A fullscreen colorful edition optimized for Kindle Fire HD. Includes about 70 illustrations by Arthur Rackham.

5 book lists we think you will like!

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