I feel like it’s been a lifetime since my last Saturday Book List post so I’m squeezing one in tonight!
I thought it would be fun to share a few of my favorite historical fiction titles that have unique settings. I’ve shared some of my favorite WWII novels which is probably my favorite historical time period. And I share a lot of 19th century British set books with my Classics Club reading. But tonight I am sharing a few books with unique historical settings that I really love. Enjoy!
With Every Breath by Elizabeth Camden // The first author I think of who writes in unique historical time periods is always Elizabeth. Her beautifully crafted stories of men and women fighting for progress, change, and goodness in unique periods of history are some of my favorites. Set in 1890s Washington DC, this novel focuses on Kate Livingston who joins the fight to eradicate tuberculous with her once rival Trevor McDonough. It’s beautiful, it’s tragic, it’s a powerful read.
Bonus Read: Until the Dawn also by Elizabeth Camden (I recommend everything by Elizabeth!)
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant // I am overdue on a reread of this book that I last read in college sometime. This novel tells the story of Dinah — the only mentioned daughter of Jacob turned Israel in the Bible. A story rich in historical detail and familial emotion, I have never read anything quite like this. Emotional, raw, and extremely powerful. I’m convincing myself of the reread necessity even more now.
The Ringmaster’s Wife by Kristy Cambron // I love everything I read from Kristy and this one is no exception. Following the stories of both Rosamund Easling (a trick horse performer) and Mable Ringling (wife of the famous John Ringling of Ringling Brothers Circus), this novel is a beautifully crafted adventure through their experiences at the circus and the ways these women shaped their circus family. A beautiful account of a fascinating time in American history.
Girl with the Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier // This is another novel I would love to reread soon. It tells the story of the woman behind the famous Johannes Vermeer painting of a girl with a pearl earring. We get to know Griet, the servant girl who sat for the portrait and begin to understand the complexities of her experiences and the 1660s Dutch historical setting in which this story is told.
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare // One of my most popular posts on my blog is my review of this novel. It definitely sits in my top 3 Newbery winners read so far. It tells the story of Kit, a young woman who goes to live with her Puritan relatives in 17th century New England. She befriends the local outcast, Hannah, who everyone thinks is a witch. When Kit finds herself accused of witchcraft as well, everything changes and she must decide what is worth fighting for.
The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman // This is a fun, quick read set in (I think) something list Medieval England. The whipping boy is always punished for Prince Brat (nickname, not real name) until one day he finds himself running away with Prince Brat and an hilarious adventure ensues! This would be a fun one to read a loud with older kids, especially boys.
The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly // Another favorite Newbery winner of mine is this clever novel set in Medieval Poland. It follows the myth of the Great Tarnov Crystal which powerful men will do anything to attain and also follows the journey of one family who become part of the trumpeters of Krakow and must seek refuge in that city and also save it from destruction. A fascinating piece of history!
What are some of your favorite unique historical settings?
6 thoughts on “7 Books to read with Unique Historical Settings”
I completely agree with you about The Red Tent – it made me look at the story of Jacob etc. in a completely new light, amazing!
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So glad you’ve read it, Jane! I really need to reread that one. It’s been too long!
I’ve read a few of these books, but I’ve never heard of Elizabeth Camden or Kristy Cambron. It sounds like they both write the kinds of novels I like. I’ll definitely check out both. Thanks for the recs!
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You’re welcome, Susan! Again, love everything I’ve read from both Elizabeth and Kristy. Hope you enjoy them!
I love this list! I’ve wanted to read The Trumpeter of Krakow for years, but haven’t gotten around to it yet.
I remember reading Frances Hardinge’s A Skinful of Shadows and being amazed it is set during the English Civil War. Not a common setting!
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The Trumpeter of Krakow is really neat! Hope you find time to read it soon 🙂
And wow that sounds fascinating!