6 Obscure Historical Fiction Book Recommendations

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Ever since I was young, I have been obsessed with books, particularly historical fiction.

6 Obscure Historical Fiction Book Recommendations | A Cheerful Life Blog

I grew up loving to read, my earliest memories include Little Golden Books and Dr. Seuss. But when I was introduced in elementary school to the Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, my passion was founded! It was history, romance, and drama for me from then on out. And to this day, at 31 years old, it is the only genre that can truly satisfy my wandering, time-traveling thirst for escape. 

I hope to have a Beauty and the Beast library one day, FULL of just books, shelves and shelves of historical fiction - and maybe some true crime and biography selections. I'll also settle for a library like what's in the Biltmore Estate in Asheville. A huge library is definitely dream goals! 

But for now, I have to be content with a couple of book shelves tucked away in a makeshift bedroom office, full of old favorites and some awaiting prospects. I have a small collection of both modern and classics, which I've built over the years. And yes, most of them are historical fiction.

Side note: I did try to switch over to electronic books several years ago - I even owned a Barnes and Noble Nook device and amassed a huge collections of e-books. But there is just something about the tangible nature of a paper book that really makes the reading experience for me. Maybe it's because I'm just old and that I grew up only with paper, I'm not sure. But it's just what I prefer! I acquire most of my books from Amazon, or Half Priced Books

I thought it might be fun to share some of my favorite historical fiction books with you, just in case you're on the search for a good read during these last few days of winter. Since it's my favorite genre, I have strong feelings about these. And these selections are not just current favorites - they are 6 of my ALL TIME, out-of-all-the-books-I've-ever-read favorites!. And while I recently haven't been taking the time to read as much as I would/should lately, I have plowed my way through quite a few novels in my day. I'm not an expert, but I am experienced! 

So without further adieu, in no particular order........


The Coalwood Way

By Homer Hickam. I first read this book in high school, and I've revisited it many times since. It is a memoir of the author and is the sequel to the book Rocket Boys [you may remember that popular movie, October Sky, in 1999 with Jake Gylenhaal? One and the same!].  Mr. Hickam writes beautifully in detail of his coming-of-age in a 1959 West Virginia mining town. Family drama, portraits of a rural Appalachian town, life lessons, a little romantic dabbling - it's very charming and the best of his memoir trilogy. I always enjoy this book every time I read it! 



By Julie Donaldson. BE STILL MY HEART! Never have I read a romantic book that swept me away more than this one! Labeled as "a proper romance", it's a clean read, but oh so gothic, heavy and completely heartbreaking. Which weirdly, is how I prefer things! I related to the main character in a lot of ways, the prose was magnificent, and the man in this book....**insert eternal sighing here**. This is for the true romantic, who prefers something dark and dramatic and intriguing and gut wrenching. You will cry. You will cheer. You will wish you were Kate and that Henry existed. It truly is a read that is worth getting caught up in! [also recommended, its predecessor not related, Edenbrooke!]


The Dress Lodger

By Sheri Holman. Easily the most controversial on this list, this was the most unique book I had ever read. It plunged me deep into the seedy underbelly of early Victorian England and the lengths in which doctors had to go for medical advancements. Although it wasn't a true story, the premise of the book is very factual. The writing switches points of view often, which can be confusing, but does give a well-rounded sense of motives and consequences of decisions for all characters. Not only does it give the dismal physical depictions of the time period, but also dives deeply into morality and its limits. It was very interesting, and that's why I enjoyed it so much. This one would not be anyone who enjoys feel-good stories, but who likes darker tales and is not offended by crude depictions of dead bodies and moral decay. 


The Heretic Queen

By Michelle Moran. Ancient Egypt has always been a thing with me - I love learning about the customs and culture of their time. Michelle Moran is a fantastic author who has written two other Egyptian themed books - Cleopatra's Daughter, and the subject book's predecessor, Nefertiti - both of which are great. [She's wrote many other historical novels, also!] But the Heretic Queen - the tragic story of Nefertiti's daughter - was the one I enjoyed the most and that I keep at the forefront of my shelf.

Moran pens stories so straightforward and without frills, giving lots of details about Ancient Egypt, while also weaving a story that totally transports. A nice, historic packed experience! 



Love's Pursuit

By Siri Mitchell. I won't deny, the title seems a little much. However, this story stretches far beyond a romantic love.  The reason I loved this book to my core is three fold. It's well written - Siri Mitchell composes a story very beautifully. The expounding details of the world of the Puritans was history I was not deeply familiar with, and I loved learning about in this book. And finally, this book made me think. It was up and down and around, and then when I felt like I wanted to throw the book, I realized that everything that happened HAD to happen, and thus the title became so much more than what seems like a romantic entanglement. I highly recommend this for faith-based readers! 


Celia Garth

By Gwen Bristow. I checked this book out from the local library when I was in 7th grade. I remember it distinctly, because my Mom said that she also read it when she was about my age, which I thought was super cool. I devoured this book! Revolutionary war, spies, secret passages, dressmaking, rich people, historical figures and happenings - all of these elements made me even more cemented in my love for historical fiction. I still wish to this day they would make a movie about this heroine and her story of love, loss, danger, triumph and maturing during the years of the American Revolutionary War. I would even take a mini-series. Anything, please? :) 


I just recently became re-obsessed with Goodreads! Are you familiar with it? I had signed up and used it long ago, but forgot how great it is! It's a site dedicated to the art of reading. You can track books you're reading, create lists of what you have read [and rate them] and also create wish lists of books you want to read in the future. You can create virtual shelves, assemble book list recommendations, connect with other readers and enter free book giveaways! It's amazing! And since I want to get back into reading on the regular, I feel like this will be a motivating resource for me. 

I am currently reading, liking, and about half completed with.... 

Currently Reading | A Cheerful Life Blog


Up next, I'll be reading.....

Reading Up Next | A Cheerful Life Blog

I love Michelle Moran! 

If they make the cut, I will let you know my thoughts on these books in my monthly favorites - or you can check for yourself my rating on Goodreads, where I will rate them when I get finished! [connect with me here

If you're already familiar with one or more of these historical fiction picks that I've suggested, or maybe you have a book recommendation for me....I would LOVE to know your thoughts in the comments! 

6 Obscure Historical Fiction Book Recommendations (Info) | A Cheerful Life Blog