The best novels relating to the French Revolution

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been fascinated by the Regency Period, and because of this fascination, I explored its historical context in full. That includes, of course, the French Revolution and its repercussions in England and globally. I am also obsessed with the literary concept of the heroine, and wanted to create characters who in some ways synthesized Moll Flanders and Jane Eyre, bridging the gap between 18th and 19th Century expression.


I wrote...

Charity Amour

By Joy Sheridan,

Book cover of Charity Amour

What is my book about?

This novel, set in the time of the French Revolution, concerns Charity Cottrell. Having been evicted from her home base, she became a live-in domestic. In self-defence, she attacked her employer, Lord Rispian, and went 'on the run'. In transit, Charity encountered Lord Clover, who became her patronmaking her an Opera Star, earning standing ovations.

Later, she was kidnapped and taken to a French brothel, and 'groomed' by the proprietress, as a ‘Lady of Pleasure’, then rescued just before a Revolutionary mob destroyed the brothel. She did an 'anvil' marriage with Lord Clover; shortly afterwards, Lord Rispian eliminated Clover, his rival. Charity was devastated, but through her valid marriage certificate, inherited Clover’s estate. Eventually she gained status, strength, and power—renaming herself 'Charity Renegade'.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Scarlet Pimpernel

Joy Sheridan Why did I love this book?

This furnished the key motif of someone being saved from a revolutionary mob. It is also incredibly rich in the ‘local colour’ of the French Revolutionary period. Also one of the finest works of fiction to explore the theme of abduction. I had perhaps been led in this direction by Alexandre Dumas.    

By Baroness Emmuska Orczy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

HarperCollins is proud to present its incredible range of best-loved, essential classics.

"Vaguely she began to wonder ... which of these worldly men round her was the mysterious 'Scarlet Pimpernel,' who held the threads of such daring plots, and the fate of valuable lives in his hands."

In the early days of the bloody French Revolution, fleeing aristocrats are being captured and sent to the guillotine. But the mysterious Scarlet Pimpernel - along with his band of English gentlemen - is outwitting the revolutionaries. Known only by his calling card, he arrives in disguise and smuggles the nobles out of…


Book cover of The French Lieutenant's Woman

Joy Sheridan Why did I love this book?

I was utterly captivated by Meryl Streep’s performance in the film; I had to read the book. Great plot line with its revolutionary intrigue. My heart warmed utterly to Sarah Woodruff, and the mysterious, charismatic qualities she so powerfully radiated. She was a powerful fractional role model for Charity’s character.   

By John Fowles,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The French Lieutenant's Woman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As part of Back Bay's ongoing effort to make the works of John Fowles available in uniform trade paperback editions, two major works in the Fowles canon are reissued to coincide with the publication of Wormholes, the author's long-awaited new collection of essays and occasional writings.Perhaps the most beloved of Fowles's internationally bestselling works, The French Lieutenant's Woman is a feat of seductive storytelling that effectively invents anew the Victorian novel. "Filled with enchanting mysteries and magically erotic possibilities" (New York Times), the novel inspired the hugely successful 1981 film starring Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons and is today universally…


Book cover of A Tale of Two Cities

Joy Sheridan Why did I love this book?

Of all Dickens’s works, this inspired me because of its double location, and its bustling depiction of revolutionary turmoil. It was such a wonderful foundation and inspiration of the gritty underside of life which was a vital fraction of Charity’s experience. She valiantly grasped the polarities of luxury and poverty.  

By Charles Dickens,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked A Tale of Two Cities as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sydney Carton is a lawyer who has wasted his abilities and his life. Now he has to make a difficult choice about what is really important to him, which could be a matter of life or death. The French Revolution is running its violent course; lives are ruined as a new France is created. How did the gentle Doctor Manette and his daughter Lucie become caught up in France's struggles? What is the real identity of the handsome Charles Darnay, who wins Lucie's hand in marriage? And why does the shadow of La Bastille Prison hang over them all? The…


Book cover of Ninety-Three

Joy Sheridan Why did I love this book?

A total feeling for the pulse of the Revolution, and a focus on its core in that fatal year – the end of the Monarchy, the ushering-in of the Reign of terror. Its reverberations spread everywhere. It gave me such a strong sense of the decadence of the ancien régime, and the fury of the populace that aroused.  

By Victor Hugo,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Ninety-Three as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ninety-Three (1874) is the final novel of Victor Hugo. As a work of historical fiction, the story is set during the period of conflict between the newly formed French Republic and the Royalists who sought to reverse the gains of the revolution. Praised for its morality and honest depiction of the horrors of war, Ninety-Three influenced such wide-ranging political thinkers as Joseph Stalin and Ayn Rand. "The soldiers forced cautiously. Everything was in full bloom; they were surrounded by a quivering wall of branches, whose leaves diffused a delicious freshness. Here and there sunbeams pierced these green shades." Advancing through…


Book cover of The French Revolution: A History

Joy Sheridan Why did I love this book?

Essential historical background work for anyone wanting to read French Revolution-based fiction. I am especially attracted to this work because, although non-fiction, it has emotion, and a sense of first-person involvement. I was also very much grabbed by the legend of the first manuscript having been destroyed by fire, and the work having to be re-written – true literary heroism, and an example to us all. 

By Thomas Carlyle,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The French Revolution: A History was written by the Scottish essayist, philosopher, and historian Thomas Carlyle. The three-volume work, first published in 1837 (with a revised edition in print by 1857), charts the course of the French Revolution from 1789 to the height of the Reign of Terror (1793–94) and culminates in 1795. A massive undertaking which draws together a wide variety of sources, Carlyle's history—despite the unusual style in which it is written—is considered to be an authoritative account of the early course of the Revolution.


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Let Evening Come

By Yvonne Osborne,

Book cover of Let Evening Come

Yvonne Osborne Author Of Let Evening Come

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up on a family farm surrounded by larger vegetable and dairy operations that used migrant labor. From an early age, my siblings and I were acquainted with the children of these workers, children whom we shared a school desk with one day and were gone the next. On summer vacations, our parents hauled us around in a station wagon with a popup camper, which they parked in out-of-the-way hayfields and on mountainous plateaus, shunning, much to our chagrin, normal campgrounds, and swimming pools. Thus, I grew up exposed to different cultures and environments. My writing reflects my parents’ curiosity, love of books and travel, and devotion to the natural world. 

Yvonne's book list on immersive coming-of-age fiction with characters struggling to find themselves amidst the isolation and bigotry in Indigenous, rural, and minority communities

What is my book about?

After her mother is killed in a rare Northern Michigan tornado, Sadie Wixom is left with only her father and grandfather to guide her through young adulthood. Miles away in western Saskatchewan, Stefan Montegrand and his Indigenous family are displaced from their land by multinational energy companies. They are taken in temporarily by Sadie’s aunt, a human rights activist who heads a cultural exchange program.

Stefan promptly runs afoul of local authority, but Sadie, intrigued by him and captivated by his story, has grown sympathetic to his cause and complicit in his pushback against prejudiced accusations. Their mutual attraction is stymied when Stefan’s older brother, Joachim, who stayed behind, becomes embroiled in the resistance, and Stefan is compelled to return to Canada. Sadie, concerned for his safety, impulsively follows on a trajectory doomed by cultural misunderstanding and oncoming winter.

Let Evening Come

By Yvonne Osborne,

What is this book about?

After her mother is killed in a rare Northern Michigan tornado, Sadie Wixom is left with only her father and grandfather to guide her through the pitfalls of young adulthood.
Hundreds of miles away in western Saskatchewan, Stefan Montegrand and his Indigenous family are forced off their land by multinational energy companies and flawed treaties. They are taken in temporarily by Sadie's aunt, a human rights activist who heads a cultural exchange program.
Stefan, whose own father died in prison while on a hunger strike, promptly runs afoul of local authority, but Sadie, intrigued by him and captivated by his…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the French Revolution, France, and love triangle?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the French Revolution, France, and love triangle.

The French Revolution Explore 128 books about the French Revolution
France Explore 884 books about France
Love Triangle Explore 74 books about love triangle