From Book Riot: 15 OF THE BEST HISTORICAL FICTION SERIES
I love historicals! Not necessarily series as such, but the genre in general. I also have strong opinions about which historicals deserve to be on this list. I really can’t guess whether this Book Riot post is going to include the works or the authors I have in mind. Before I look, here are my picks:
- Hild by Nicola Griffith. I know, not finished! I realize that! Even so, unfinished as it is, this is the single work I’d put in the top spot. Griffith did an absolutely marvelous job with this book. She’s such a splendid stylist, and she’s wonderful with description and with bringing an era to life. I’m hoping we’ll see the sequel late next year, or if not that, then sometime in 2023.
- The Lymond chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett. I don’t think this series is flawless. I do think it’s a masterpiece. I have read it three or four or five times. Her other main series, the Niccolo series, I’ve only read once. It’s also good, but several things about it appeal to me less.
- Gillian Bradshaw. I’m putting the author on this list rather than a specific work because so many of her books are fantastic. I’m linking a post where I roughly sort out her titles into Best – Great – Perhaps Not as Good categories.
- Rose Under Fire and Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. I haven’t read her other historicals, except the (also amazing) series that starts with an unusual twist on the Arthurian legend and then goes off in its own direction.
- Barbara Hambly’s Benjamin January series, though those are historical mysteries rather than historicals straight up. But this is my favorite historical mystery series, and that’s because of the historical setting, not because of the mysteries. Hambly does an amazing job with historical settings. I’m definitely including this series here.
As a significant bonus of writing this post, I see there are two more Benjamin January books out. That’s great! I’m picking them both up now.
That’s my top five. Let’s see if any of them appear on this Book Riot post. … Nope. Well, I’m turning my nose up at their inferior list, that’s for sure. How you can write a list like this and not include Dorothy Dunnett … phooey.
Hmm. Looks like the author of this post is emphasizing historical romances. Well, I like a good many historical romances, but that is not what I had in mind myself. Though all or nearly all of Bradshaw’s books do have a central romance, they are historicals with romance, not historical romances.
I’ve tried some of these … Outlander … I couldn’t get into it. Oh, Courtney Milan’s Brothers Sinister series; I did like those a lot. But fundamentally, I think historical romances should be a separate post from historicals. In fact, honestly, I’d break the category up like this:
–Classics that are also now historicals — I’m thinking of The Count of Monte Cristo, which was written at pretty much the time it was set, but now reads like a historical novel.
–Great biographies, and here I’m thinking of the ones that read more like fiction, not the ones that read like history textbooks.
Any other categories? Those are the ones that leap to mind for me. It’d be perfectly reasonable to address them all separately. There’s lots and lots (and lots) of room in each category.