Step inside the minds of those who have shaped the world we live in and imagine the all-too-human side of history through historical fiction. Immerse yourself in different periods, whether it’s the civil war or colonial Jamaica, without moving from your chair. However, enumerating all historical fiction books into one list is impossible. Instead, ReadersMagnet cuts down the list with five showstoppers that present a wide array of periods, places, characters, and more. What are you waiting for? Check out these books that will immerse you in a different era. 

The Mirror & the Light by Hilary Mantel

The Mirror & the Light is the third installment of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall Trilogy, which began in 2009. The novel covers the last years of Cromwell’s life, starting shortly after the execution of Anne Boleyn. The protagonist relies primarily on his wits, no great family to back him, and no private army. He was a simple boy from nowhere who climbed to the heights of power. The ending plot is a meticulously shaped as any thriller there is, and plainly the reason for its many good critiques. Hilary didn’t disappoint her followers, still incorporating explosive scenes despite the nearing resolution. And with this triumphant close is a searing narrative that readers won’t be able to put down. 

Bannack by Jerry Delaney

This historical novel by Delaney stands as a searing debut. Bannack is a growing-up story filled with adventure and self-discovery during the Civil War and the prominence of vigilante violence. Jerry has redefined what historical fiction is capable of through his ability to make the past as viscerally compelling as the present. Bannack is thrilling, propulsive, and stupendously intelligent: a novel of epic proportions. The author’s prose is rich and vivid, leaving readers enthralled with the descriptions of life during the chaos. This makes for compulsive reading. What makes this narrative incredibly interesting is the history behind it, giving voice to the voiceless years later.  

The Mountains Sing by Nguyen Phan Que Mai

Phan Que Mai tells an enveloping tale of a family set against the backdrop of the Vietnam War. This luminous narrative brought about the conflict that did not just tear down a country but also Vietnamese families. The Mountains Sings conjures history and fate that resonates across generations as a family grapples with the residue of war. This stands as an up-close account of the horrors of famine, war, and class struggle. Who would have thought that this was the first novel in English by the celebrated poet Nguyen Phan Que Mai. 

The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich

The Night Watchmen pays homage to the author’s grandfather, who lived an extraordinary life as a night watchman that carried the fight against Native dispossession. Louise creates a fictional world populated with unforgettable characters who grapple with the worst and best in human nature. She delivers a magisterial epic that serves as a call to humanity. In powerful and elegant prose, Louise blends spirituality, gallows, humor, and political resistance in one short read. Above all, this book is a story of resilience, one in which magic and harsh realities collide, creating a riveting account. 

These Ghosts Are Family by Maisy Card

Maisy Card brings an ambitious debut novel that reveals how a Jamaican family forms and fractures over generations. These Ghosts Are Family centers on Stanford Solomon, who has a shocking secret: he is Abel Paisley, a man believed to have died thirty years ago. Nearing the end of his life, the past has come to correct his mistakes. Maisy crafted a beguiling and compelling portrait of history, slavery, migration, and family dramas with bravado. This spirited story is movingly grounded in a devastating history that people today seem to forget. These Ghosts Are Family evokes the richness of Jamaican culture and the inevitable impact of generational secrets, full of remarkable characters that will continue to haunt readers.