History was never my favorite subject. But a good historical fiction series? You’ve got my attention.
Important dates evaded my memory. Events blurred together. It all frustrated me (and my teacher—my mom!) to no end.
I loved to read, however.
I was often found with a book in hand hours before breakfast. To me, having to do my schoolwork before I got to read a book was the cruelest and most unusual punishment a day could hold.
Twenty-plus years later, grade school seems like distant history. I can’t remember much at all that I learned in my history textbooks. But the history that I can still see in living color is what I absorbed in story form through the pages of my beloved books.
Below are a few old favorites and some delightful new discoveries. (I love the fact that I can pick up a historical fiction series as an adult and still learn about a time I never knew existed.)
Historical Fiction Series to Enjoy!
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Keys to the Kingdom series by Virginia Ann Work
(The Crusades, 1200s)
Knights and castles, buried treasure and daring quests, loyalty to God and king–it’s the stuff every medieval tale is made of. And yet, this series shows not only the years of research behind it but the heart of a Bible teacher, too. Virginia teaches important biblical lessons on pride and grace in the pages of this gripping medieval fiction.
- Sirocco Wind from the East
- Mistral Wind from the North
- Zephyr Wind from the West
- Lavento Wind from the South
Don’t miss Prince Alexius, His Crown and His Curse: A Tale of Ancient Byzantium by Virginia Ann Work, as well.
Lapis Lazuli for Hope by Ella Wren
I didn’t know what an illuminator of religious manuscripts was until I read this story of a novice nun illuminator who was turned out of the convent–the only life she’d ever known. A beautiful, wholesome, and absolutely fascinating tale set in the time of Martin Luther.
Steadfast Love series by Rachelle Rea Cobb
(England & Holland, 1560s, The Protestant Reformation)
I don’t ever remember reading about the Iconoclastic Fury in a textbook, but I’ll never forget it after reading the story of Dirk and Gwen. Love and honor are at war with mystery and intrigue in this delightful love story that will transport you into another time and place.
The Stonewycke Trilogy and The Stonewycke Legacy by Michael Phillips and Judith Pella
I fell in love with Scotland through the works of George MacDonald. But I learned so much more about the rich tapestry of Scotland’s history in these books set in nineteenth-century Scotland. My journals are filled with scribbled quotes from the Stonewycke books. They contained food for my head, as well as for my heart.
- The Heather Hills of Stonewycke
- Flight From Stonewycke
- The Lady of Stonewycke
- Stranger at Stonewycke
- Shadows Over Stonewycke
- Treasure of Stonewycke
The Williamsburg Novels by Elswyth Thane
There’s something especially intriguing about reading vintage historical fiction. When I happened upon Elswyth Thane’s books in my great grandmother’s library, I was instantly drawn into the sights and sounds of historical Williamsburg. The series of seven books—written in the 1940s and 1950s—follows two fictional families from the Revolutionary War through World War II. Though not written from a Christian perspective, Elswyth’s storytelling is delightful, and her attention to historic detail impeccable.
The Codebreakers series by Roseanna M. White
This series is a fascinating glimpse into Room 40, where encrypted messages were intercepted and interpreted to aid the Allies during WWII. Friendship, sisterhood, and even the Spanish Flu round out this series with intriguing characters and riveting storylines.
Halstad House by Christy Martenson
(Washington state, 1920s)
How many young wives and mothers were left alone by the Great War, fighting their own battles at home, struggling to make ends meet while mourning loved ones? You won’t soon forget the story of Grace Halstad.
For a glimpse into the tuberculosis epidemic in America in the early 1900s, don’t miss Christy Martenson’s Love, Mary Elisabeth.
Vintage National Parks Novels by Karen Barnett
(United States, 1920s-1930s)
Visit Mt. Rainier National Park with a young naturalist in 1927, Yosemite with a Flapper artist in 1929, and Yellowstone with a ranger’s daughter in 1933. (Each storyline stands alone, so the novels do not need to be read in order.) Karen Barnett’s thorough research and inclusion of actual people and historical facts will educate you beyond the National Park Service pamphlets; her vivid descriptions will make you want to spend more time getting to know God and His creation.
For a look at Prohibition in the 1920s, check out Mistaken by Karen Barnett.
The Chronicles of the Spanish Civil War by Tricia Goyer
(Germany & France, 1930s)
I didn’t know anything about The Spanish Civil War until I read Sophie’s story. Traveling to Spain to marry the man she loves seems like the answer to all her dreams–until she finds herself in the midst of war-torn Spain, alone and confused. Like many of Goyer’s novels, these follow multiple storylines but bring to life a tumultuous time in history.
For more fascinating historical fiction by Tricia Goyer, check out The London Chronicles series, The Liberator series, The Gabi Mueller series, as well as Remembering You and Songbird Under a German Moon.
Sunrise at Normandy series by Sarah Sundin
(England & United States, 1940s)
A shocking sibling feud is one Texan family’s prelude to World War II. Jealousy, grief, and shame separate the Paxton brothers, who each end up in three different branches of military service. Will D-Day bring them closer to God and to each other or bring an end to their story?
Wings of the Nightingale series by Sarah Sundin
(Europe & North Africa, 1940s)
Friendship and rivalry. Love and betrayal. Even an anonymous letter-writing campaign! All are part of the stories of three flight nurses working for the Air Evacuation Transport during World War II.
The London Restoration by Rachel McMillan
How many couples served separately during World War II, only to finally be reunited and find each other so very changed by the war? Rich with the history of London’s churches, this is the fictional story of one couple’s rebuilding, redemption, and restoration–a process that can’t be rushed.
Things We Didn’t Say by Amy Lynn Green
(United States, 1944)
Have you ever thought about the people who were responsible for translating and censoring the mail of POWs? What about the Japanese-American families who were sent to the internment camps after Pearl Harbor was bombed? Read compassion, love, and patriotism between the lines in this riveting epistolary novel.
War-torn Prussia. Nazi Germany. The Iron Curtain. The Berlin Wall. Phrases I knew. Places I’d heard of. But suddenly, it was the home of one of my favorite fictional heroines that was threatened. I learned so much about recent history as The Secret of the Rose series follows Sabina von Dortmann from World War I through the end of the Cold War. But the lessons that Baron von Dortmann taught his daughter about love and trust are ones that will be forever ingrained on my heart.
Do you have a favorite historical fiction book? I’d love to hear about it!
P.S. If you’re looking for even more titles, check out these posts:
- Not a History Fan? Thrilling Medieval Christian Fiction You’ll Love Anyway
- The Best Inspirational Historical Fiction About America in the 1920s & 1930s
- 12+ Historical Novels to Fascinate Any Age
- Seven Historical Romances
Here at Club31Women, we recognize that not everyone has the same taste or point of view on books, music, or movies, but we offer these short reviews for your consideration. Our hope is that you will find something new and wonderful on this list of recommended resources!
~ Lisa Jacobson, Club31Women