Summer Book Recomendations: Five Historical Summer Reads

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SarcAndSpark
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Historical Fiction Book Recommendations

Historical fiction is a favourite genre of mine. I like books that are well researched and really give you a sense of place and time as well as having interesting plots and characters. In this list, I’ve tried to include recs for lots of different sub-genres and time periods, so hopefully you’ll find something that interests you! The list is in (roughly) chronological order, rather than a ranking- I love all these books so much it would be hard to order them!

Cutting this list down to five was very tough- I have read a lot of historical fiction covering a wide range of eras, so if you like the sound of some of these books, but are interested in a different time period (e.g. regency/Napoleonic wars, for example) then do let me know!

1. Clan of the Cave Bear By Jean M. Auel

Available to buy: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Clan-Cave-B...gateway&sr=8-1

Why I love it: This book takes us back in time to when two species of hominids walked the earth! This is the first book in a series of six and covers the main character’s childhood. She’s a Cro-Magnon, but when her family die, she is adopted by a clan of Neanderthals. The book (and the following series) explores this clash of cultures really well, and personally I found Ayla a really compelling character. The work is very well researched, although of course records are limited, but it gave me a real sense of how hunter gatherers might have lived and what their lives might have been like.

Perfect for: Anyone who wants to go right back in time to pre-history!

Warnings: There’s several sex scenes throughout the books, which are described in pretty graphic detail, including non-consensual sex. In some of these scenes, we’d consider Ayla underage, although she’s considered an adult by the people she is living with. For this reason, the book probably isn’t suitable for anyone under the age of 16. There’s also some violence and some hunting scenes where the killing and butchering of animals is described.



2. Dreaming the Eagle by Manda Scott

Available to buy: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Boudica-Dre...s%2C185&sr=8-2

Why I love it: I’ve always been fascinated by Boudica, the Celtic queen who led a rebellion against the Romans during the early occupation of Britain. Not much is known about her early life, but this book, the first in a quartet, imagines what it might have been like. The quartet imagines the early Roman Invasion and occupation of Britain from all angles and gives a real sense of place and culture to the people who are being conquered. Breaca, the girl who will grow up to be Boudica, is again an engaging character, but parts of the story are told from other points of view as well- including her brother, who is taken as a slave by the Romans. Breaca is also fairly explicitly bisexual, which is cool.

Perfect for: Reading about Britain’s legendary warrior queen as she actually might have been.

Warnings: Explicit sex, including mentions of non-consensual sex in later books. Violence, including torture. There’s also some mild fantasy elements based around the religion of the Celts, so if that’s not your thing then it’s a good idea to give this a miss!



3. The Greatest Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick

Available to buy: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Greatest-Kn...gateway&sr=8-2

Why I love it: Elizabeth Chadwick is my favourite writer of historical romance, and this was the first book of hers that I read. William Marshall is a real historical figure, who rose from relative anonymity to be an advisor to kings (and queens). This is the first book in a series about his life. Elizabeth Chadwick writes interpersonal relationships incredibly well, and although she’s writing about real historical figures, she really brings them to life and makes them feel like people with real, complex motivations, which you don’t always get in books about this time. The book is well researched and fast moving, and is a great, light summer read.

Perfect for: Anyone who loves a knight in shining armour.

Warnings: There’s sex and violence in these books, but nothing is very graphically described.



4. The Ill-Made Knight by Christian Cameron

Available to buy: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ill-Made-Kn...s%2C178&sr=8-7

Why I love it: Sorry, this is another medieval era book, with a knight as a central character (also called William), but it’s written in a very different way. This series is incredibly well researched and really gets into the detail of day to day life during the hundred years war, and the crusades (featured in later books). It really made me feel like I was there, experiencing everything alongside William. The characters are well described and well written, and the relationships between William and the people he meets are very compelling.

Perfect for: People who want a novel about a knight with a lot of realism!

Warnings: The violence in these books (including some torture) is described in as much detail as everything else, and there are also mentions of non-consensual sex. At one point, William owns and runs a brothel, so if you’re not cool with that probably best to give these books a miss.



5. Goodbye Picadilly by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

Available here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Goodbye-Pic...ateway&sr=8-14

Why I love it: We’ve jumped a long way forward in time here, but this is another book that really makes you feel like you are there, living these situations alongside the characters. This series takes place during the first world war era but focuses mainly on what life is like for the people that the soldiers leave behind. Over the series, we get everything from suffragettes to romances of all kinds to early aviation to a Viscount in a same sex relationship and beyond. The books are very character driven, and I found them hard to put down.

Perfect for: Anyone with an interest in the first world war era will find something to enjoy in these books, I think!

Warnings: Major character deaths. Unlike many war books, this series doesn’t shy away from the sheer number of people who lost their lives during this period, and many characters you might expect to survive in other books do die. I cried a few times reading these. To go with this, there are also some descriptions and discussions of period typical violence- including soldiers at the front and zeppelin bombs falling on civilians. There’s also a bit of sex although none of it is very graphically described.
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I like this idea thanks for the book recommendations x
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SarcAndSpark
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(Original post by emorgan033)
I like this idea thanks for the book recommendations x
Glad you like the recommendations- if you read any of them do let me know your thoughts!
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