Chances are you’re probably already a bit done with 2021. We are still in a pandemic, so it makes perfect sense to wish you were actually in a different period. Even if that era had some bad times, at least they’re not as bad as our time, right? And maybe, just maybe, the characters overcoming the adversities of their time can inspire you to make it through all of this. By good luck, the stars aligned because the literature industry has gifted you with the escapism you truly need—historical fiction novels. Hence, ReadersMagnet took the liberty of compiling the best of the best historical fiction to binge-read this November.
The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex
Inspired by a haunting true story, Emma brings a riveting and suspenseful novel about the mysterious disappearance of three lighthouse keepers from a remote tower miles from the Cornish coast and their wives who were left behind. This novel explores isolation and obsession, reality and illusion, and what it takes to keep the light burning when all else is swallowed by the dark. It captures both the lighthouse’s lure and the damage its isolation and confinement wreak on minds and families. The Lamplighters is a magnificent work despite being a debut novel. It stands as a compelling classic ghost story that will take hold of you and plunge you under.
The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams
Delightfully captivation and slyly subversive book, Pip crafts a story set during the height of the women’s suffrage movement and the Great War looming. The book reveals a lost narrative, hidden between the lines of a history written by men. The story started in 1901 when the word “bondmaid” was missing from the Oxford English Dictionary and the girl who stole it. Pip brings a compelling, fresh look at historical women and sexism during the period. There are births and deaths, love and friendship; all told with rich and engaging characters deftly written. The Dictionary of Lost Words rectifies a glaring oversight in the historical accounts of the first Oxford English Dictionary.
The Maxwell Vendetta by Carl R. Brush
A masterfully written yet sorrowful, Carl offers a one-of-a-kind book that tells a fascinating story of racism, political corruption, and sexual exploitation. Technically this isn’t a newly released book, but it deserves a spot on the list. Eerie, tender, haunting, smokily atmospheric, and fantastically enjoyable, this novel is impossible to put down. Even if it’s a short read, there’s a lot more going on here. Carl’s unique tale juxtaposes an oddly compelling reality: racial discrimination. The Maxwell Vendetta by Carl R. Brush will pull you in and keep you mesmerized right to the end. As a result, you’ll eagerly want to read the sequel to this spectacular read.
The Heiress: The Revelations of Anne de Bourgh by Molly Greely
In this spellbinding historical novel based on Pride and Prejudice, Molly Greely reimagines the life of the mysterious Anne de Bourgh, Fitzwilliam Darcy’s original betrothed. Set just after the Austen book ends, the novel gives readers an insight into this minor character usually forgotten about. This is an extraordinary tale of one woman’s liberation. The Heiress reveals the darkness and light in Austen’s world, with wit and a deeply compassionate understanding of the human heart. Molly’s expert imaginings reveal the hidden depths of Anne de Bourgh’s mysterious character and highlight the societal restrictions of 19th-century women. The Heiress is an inventive novel that will draw you in until the very end.
Eternal by Lisa Scottoline
Eternal is a sweeping and shattering epic of historical fiction fueled by actual events. Lisa explores the shadow of fascism and friendship that war destroyed. This nuanced take on WWII is all set in one of the world’s most beautiful cities at its darkest moment. Lisa offers a variety of perspectives, but at its heart, it is a love story, with heroes lost being warmly remembered and love conquering all. Her novel captures the tragic beauty of wartime through the eyes of unforgettable characters with whom readers will cheer and mourn for. This moving novel will be forever etched in the hearts and minds of readers.