I've been reading a lot recently, but because I'm in the middle of both historical and contemporary romance projects most of it hasn't been romance. During times like this, one genre I lean on heavily is historical fiction. I get the same transported-to-another-era effect that historical romance gives me, but the focus of the books is different enough that I don't worry about getting sidetracked while writing my own work. Here are five of my favorite works of historical fiction and why you should give the a shot:
Rules of Civility, by Amor Towles
I have a thing for books about single women living in New York City from the 1920s to the 1950s. I can't exactly explain it, but something about them draws me in every time. Rules of Civility is one of the best examples about this. It follows Katey after she and her friend meet a handsome banker in a bar on New Years Eve, and that's about all I'm going to tell you because it's worth discovering for yourself why it's one of a handful of books I recommend every time someone is looking for something to read.
The Pursuit of Happiness, by Douglas Kennedy
The Pursuit of Happiness isn't that Will Smith movie you're thinking of. Instead it's a coming of age story that follows a young woman's move to New York City in the fall of 1945 (see, I told you I have a thing for these books). The book describes Sara's romantic involvements and career through several decades of her life, but mostly it's about her growing into herself as a woman. I adore it (and not only because I would love to own Sara's Upper West Side apartment).
Katherine, by Anya Seton
My mother gave me my copy of Katherine for Christmas a few years ago, and I gobbled it up in a couple sittings. Katherine Swynford was the married mistress of John of Gaunt and their love affair endures war, plague, and political machinations. It's one of those books I read with a family tree bookmarked on my phone because of the complexities of the relationships and shifts in power, and it's a wonderful way to sink into another era.
Although I had to read these as they were released and waited years between between them, I think the deserve to be talked about as a unit. The books follow the rise of Thomas Cromwell at Henry VIII's court, particularly during the dissolution of the king's marriage from Catherine of Aragon, the establishment of the Church of England, and his marriage to Anne Boleyn. The language is exquisite and the ever-shifting relationships between characters are fascinating. Now it's your turn. I want to hear what your favorite works of historical fiction are and what I should read next!
Also don't forget to preorder my upcoming release The Governess Was Wicked for just 99c. It comes out on Sept. 12 and will be here before you know it!