New Historical Fiction

New Historical Fiction

Travel back in time to see the fall of Rome, the machinations of the Cold War, or Lincoln delivering the Gettysburg Address through these works of historical fiction.

Compiled by:
Matt N.
America is Not the Heart

Elaine Castillo
Adult Fiction – Castill

Hero De Vera arrives in the United States from the Philippines to stay with her uncle Pol, who has offered her a fresh start and a promise not to ask about her past during the violent political history of their home country.

The Atomic City Girls

Janet Beard
Adult Fiction – Beard

A novel inspired by the stories of everyday women who contributed to the Manhattan Project during World War II follows the experiences of 18-year-old June, who, in 1944, travels to a city that does not officially exist to work alongside hundreds of other young women operating massive secret machines in support of the war effort.

Before We Were Yours

Lisa Wingate
Adult Fiction – Wingate

A tale inspired by firsthand accounts about the notoriously corrupt Tennessee Children's Home Society follows the efforts of a Baltimore assistant D.A. to uncover her parents' fateful secrets in the wake of a political attack and a chance encounter with a stranger. By the best-selling author of Tending Roses.


Robert Harris
Adult Fiction – Harris
Series: Cicero Trilogy

A conclusion to the trilogy that began with Imperium and Conspirata. Explores themes of personal freedom in the face of ambition and corruption, against a backdrop of such historical events as the collapse of the Roman republic and the assassination of Julius Caesar.

The Evening Road

Laird Hunt
Adult Fiction – Hunt

In the summer of 1920 in small-town Indiana, two extraordinary women—beautiful Ottie Lee Henshaw and Calla Destry, a young black woman—cross paths and they soon move through an America plagued by fear and hatred, determined to flee the secrets they have left behind.

Fools and Mortals

Bernard Cornwell
Adult Fiction – Cornwel

The estranged younger brother of William Shakespeare observes the first production of A Midsummer Night's Dream while navigating a high-stakes game of duplicity and betrayal that threatens his acting career, his potential fortune, and the lives of his fellow players.


Paul Lynch
Adult Fiction – Lynch

Thrown out of her home after having her hair cut to make her look like a boy, Grace, accompanied by her younger brother, embarks on a life-changing odyssey in the looming shadow of Ireland's Great Famine. 

The Half-Drowned King

Linnea Hartsuyker
Adult Fiction – Hartsuy

Betrayed by his usurping stepfather during his return trip to his ancestral lands, young warrior Ragnvald Eysteinsson resolves to exact revenge at the side of Norse fighter Harald of Vestfold, who is rumored to be a prophesied king.

The Hellfire Club

Jake Tapper
Adult Fiction – Tapper

After a mysterious fatal car accident kills his predecessor, Congressman Charlie Marder struggles to navigate the dangerous waters of 1950s Washington, D.C., where he finds an underworld of backroom deals, secret societies, and a conspiracy at the highest levels of the government.


Yaa Gyasi
Adult Fiction – Gyasi

Two half-sisters, unknown to each other, are born into different villages in 18th-century Ghana, and experience profoundly different lives and legacies throughout subsequent generations marked by wealth, slavery, war, coal mining, the Great Migration and the realities of 20th-century Harlem.

I Was Anastasia

Ariel Lawhon
Adult Fiction – Lawhon

In Germany in 1920, the unexplained appearance of a traumatized, badly scarred young woman who claims to be the Grand Duchess Anastasia, the youngest Romanov daughter, launches a half-century of questions and accusations.

In the Name of the Family

Sarah Dunant
Adult Fiction – Dunant

When his cold and treacherous son, Cesare, grows out of control, Pope Alexander VI struggles to balance the demands of his thrice-married daughter and becomes a pawn in the schemes of her latest paramour before the family's increasing sovereignty compels Rome to send envoy spies to their Italian city-state region.

The Last Watchman of Old Cairo

Michael David Lukas
Adult Fiction – Lukas

College student Joseph, the son of Muslim and Jewish parents, receives a mysterious package that ignites a historical investigation that exposes incredible aspects of his family history and its ties to the Ibn Ezra Synagogue in Old Cairo.

Lincoln in the Bardo

George Saunders
Adult Fiction – Saunder

From that seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying. Willie Lincoln finds himself in a strange purgatory where ghosts mingle, gripe, commiserate, quarrel, and enact bizarre acts of penance. Within this transitional state—called, in the Tibetan tradition, the bardo—a monumental struggle erupts over young Willie’s soul.

Manhattan Beach

Jennifer Egan
Adult Fiction – Egan

Years after accompanying her father to a meeting with Dexter Styles, nineteen-year-old Anna, who now works at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, encounters Dexter and begins to understand her father's complex life—and why he disappeared.

News of the World

Paulette Jiles
Adult Fiction – Jiles

In the aftermath of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, an elderly widower and itinerant news reader, is offered fifty dollars to bring an orphan girl, who was kidnapped and raised by Kiowa raiders, from Wichita Falls back to her family in San Antonio.

The Nightingale

Kristin Hannah
Adult Fiction – Hannah

Reunited when the elder's husband is sent to fight in World War II, French sisters Vianne and Isabelle find their bond as well as their respective beliefs tested by a world that changes in horrific ways.


Min Jin Lee
Adult Fiction – Lee

In early 1900s Korea, prized daughter Sunja finds herself pregnant and alone, bringing shame on her family, until a young tubercular minister offers to marry her and bring her to Japan, in the saga of one family bound together as their faith and identity are called into question. Reading group guide available.

Shadow Child

Rahna Reiko Rizzuto
Adult Fiction – Rizzuto

Hana and Kei, fatherless, mixed-race twin sisters raised in a tiny Hawaiian town in the 1950s and 1960s by their unstable mother, see their lives shattered by a near-fatal betrayal that neither one can forgive.

The Soul of a Thief

Steven Hartov
Adult Fiction – Hartov

Atmospheric and intense, The Soul of a Thief captures the turbulent emotional rush of those caught behind the lines of occupied France, where one false step could spell death, and every day brings a new struggle to survive.

The Spirit Photographer

Jon Michael Varese
Adult Fiction – Varese

While grifting mourners with photos that supposedly depict the spirits of their departed, an 1870 conman is shocked when he captures a real ghost that he recognizes as the daughter of an escaped slave and travels from Boston to Louisiana to resolve unfinished business.

Sugar Money

Jane Harris
Adult Fiction – Harris

On the Caribbean islands of Grenada and Martinique in 1763, two enslaved brothers—Emile and Lucien—are sent on an impossible mission by their masters, a band of vagrant French monks, in a dramatic novel inspired by a true story, which is a testament to the tenacity of the human spirit under the crush of unspeakable cruelty.

The Underground Railroad

Colson Whitehead
Adult Fiction – Whitehe

After Cora, a slave in pre-Civil War Georgia, escapes with another slave, Caesar, they seek the help of the Underground Railroad as they flee from state to state and try to evade a slave catcher, Ridgeway, who is determined to return them to the South.


Michael Ondaatje
Adult Fiction – Ondaatj

Years after growing up in the care of a group of mysterious protectors who served in unspecified ways during World War II, a young man endeavors to piece together the truth about his parents and the unconventional education he received.

White Chrysanthemum

Mary Lynn Bracht
Adult Fiction – Bracht

Having spent her entire youth under Japanese occupation, a young woman in World War II-era Korea follows in her mother's footsteps as an elite female diver, only to be forced into prostitution in order to save her beloved younger sister.