This was a VERY difficult one for me. Historical Fiction is one of my absolute favourite genres. I was never a fan of history in school. The teachers I had were the type that told you to read 50 pages of a text book then come back to class and answer questions. Boring!! I couldn’t be less interested in learning in that way. So historical fiction was a way for me to learn about events and periods of time in a very interesting way. Here are 5 that I would recommend to anyone looking at taking the first steps into the genre or someone who is already in love with it!
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THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak. You had to know this one was coming! This book was so unique in many ways. First of all, it’s told from the perspective of death. That was a little difficult for me to get into in the beginning but then I found it so intriguing. I loved that this was about a young girl who was so innocent and couldn’t understand why people weren’t all treated in the same way. She was so strong and brave in so many ways. She also had to face so many different obstacles. Seeing her attitudes change and what she learned about herself through all of that was just incredible.
BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by Ruta Sepetys. This was probably one of the hardest hitting books that I’ve ever read. The hardships and horrors were just so overwhelming, but it was the writing style and the descriptions that made this one so vivid and painful. I believe that if anyone wanted an inside look into what it was like to go through being in a concentration/work camp then this is as close as you can get in a fiction novel. Basically anything written by Ruta Sepetys is pure gold. She knows how to grab your emotions and not let go!!
THE WALLED CITY by Ryan Graudin. Ryan Graudin is more well known for her duology Wolf by Wolf. As great as that series is, this one blew me away. This is based on the once real Kowloon walled city. A girl goes in search for her sister who was taken there. A boy is in search of someone who can free him from his secret past. And another girl is trying to find her way out of the sex slave industry. They are all somehow connected, and escaping this city is their common goal. This book was a bit darker than the Wolf by Wolf series, yet the writing was so beautiful. I found myself stopping to reread lines because they took me by surprise. Her descriptions were so powerful that I had this city built in my mind, right down to the alleys and roofs. When I finished reading it, I did some research on the city and when the picture came up I sat there with my mouth wide open. It was exactly how I pictured it!!
THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL by Philippa Gregory. This is the book that started my love affair with historical fiction. I read it many many years ago just out of curiosity. I knew of Anne Boleyn and how her life ended, but I didn’t really know about what brought her to that point. My mother in law is so obsessed with this time period that she can pretty much write down their family trees off by heart! She was explaining this whole story to me one day and I couldn’t get enough. I was asking question after question about Henry and his wives before she finally shove the book at me and told me to read it. This was also the first time that I realized that history can be done in an interesting way! I found it so interesting I went on to read a few more Philippa Gregory books and loved them just as much! I needed to know more!
And lastly, we have CITY OF THIEVES by David Benioff. As soon as I heard the synopsis of this book I knew that I would move heaven and earth to get it!! It’s a WWII historical fiction with a bit of a humorous twist – two men are sentenced to death but can be given a second chance if they find a dozen eggs for a powerful colonel’s daughters wedding cake, in the midst of starving Russia…… yes I’m serious! As outlandish as this sounds, it was SO well written! There was this incredible balance between humour, heartbreak, survival, and strength. The characters were well developed as was the world, and it packed an emotional punch I wasn’t expecting. If you’re looking for an interesting take on the classic WWII historical fiction, I highly recommend this one!!
TOP 5 TUESDAY PARTICIPANTS:
There are still so many historical fiction books that I need to get to! I typically wait until the fall and winter seasons to pick them up so it may be a while before my next historical fiction review. What was your favourite historical fiction read??
Until next time, happy reading!