top 5 recommendation | historical novels

I’m not the hugest lover of historical novels, but every now and again I find myself in need of a bit of an escape from the modern world. (I also went through a massive Georgette Heyer phase when I was a teenager, so trying to recapture that experience is also super fun!) So, here’s my list of 5 great historical novels.

  1. Pulp by Robin Talley – Half set in 1955, half set in the modern day, Pulp looks at lesbian pulp novels, and how attitudes towards queerness have changed in the past decades. I thought that the part set in the 50s was a lot stronger than the modern setting, but I still found it a very interesting read.
  2. A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi – At what point does a book become historical? This contemporary YA is set in 2002, and looks at what life was like for Muslim Americans a year after 9/11. This book was a bit uneven, but I thought that the main character Shirin was absolutely incredible.
  3. Unfit to Print by K.J. Charles – Set in 1875 London, this is a queer romance between a lawyer and a bookseller who makes his living from the sale of erotica. This book shows a side of Victorian London that I’ve never read about before – in many ways the Victorians were quite progressive in their porn, it seems! I know I’ve talked about this book before but it really is one of my faves.
  4. Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss – Another book that I’ve mentioned before, this book is set in the 80s (so historical in its own right), but it also heavily features what life would have been like for ancient Britons. Strange and full of dread, this made me look at bog bodies in a way that I hadn’t before.
  5. Bingo Love by Tee Franklin – This is a queer graphic novel that follows the love story of Hazel and Mari from the time they meet in the 60s to the present day. Short and sweet, this is a second-chance romance that I absolutely fell in love with.


Some (semi) historical novels that I want to read include:

  1. Fingersmith
  2. Pachinko
  3. The Kitchen God’s Wife
  4. The Hours
  5. The Penelopiad

What are your favourite historical novels? Give me some recs!

5 thoughts on “top 5 recommendation | historical novels

  1. CrazyCatLadyReads says:

    I’m planning to pick up Ghost Wall from my library at my next visit! Excited to check it out. I love the Hilary Mantel books Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. Her last one in that series comes out next year, I believe, so I’m looking forward to it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. whatthelog says:

      It’s very good – though I might be biased because I was taught by the author at university!
      Ooh I’ve never tried Hilary Mantel – I might have to look into them, I’m really interested in that period of history.


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