Historical Fiction Writers Whose Books You Should Be Reading

Historical fiction is enjoying a resurgence and with good reason. People are snapping up stories of men and women whose lives have become part of our known history. If you haven’t explored this genre yet and would like to start, here are the top historical fiction writers whose books should be on your shopping list.

Kate Alcott

Kate Alcott is the pen name of journalist Patricia O’Brian. Although Alcott had written several novels before using her real name, she later published historical fiction under this pseudonym. Some of her more famous works include “The Dressmaker”, about a young seamstress who survives the sinking of the Titanic, “The Daring Ladies of Lowell”, about a young mill worker who becomes entangled in a fight for better working conditions and romance with the mill owner’s son, and “The Hollywood Daughter”, about the daughter of a Hollywood PR executive who must navigate the complex world of entertainment.

Jean M. Auel

Auel’s work is prehistorical fiction but her novels are nevertheless engrossing and inspiring. Her characters are mostly Cro-Magnon and Neanderthals who interact in some of the most amazing stories of human survival. Her first novel, “The Clan of the Cave Bear”, received numerous nominations for top literary awards and was later made into a film. She followed up this success with five other novels under the Earth’s Children series.

Tracy Chevalier

Chevalier was an editorial assistant for Macmillan and later worked as a reference book editor for St. James Press. She wrote her first novel, “The Virgin Blue”, in 1997. Set in 16th century and modern-day France, the novel tells the story of two women whose lives are irreversibly intertwined. Chevalier’s second novel, “The Girl With the Pearl Earring”, was later made into a film. She has also written notable novels such as “The Last Runaway”, “New Boy”, and “At the Edge of the Orchard”.

Bernard Cornwell

If you love historical fiction with plenty of action, then Cornwell is the author for you. He is best known for the Sharpe series of novels dealing with the Peninsular War. He has also created characters using the historical backdrops of the Hundred Years’ War, the American Revolutionary War, and the Napoleonic Wars, among others.

Philippa Gregory

Many beginners to historical fiction writers discovered Gregory through the film, “The Other Boleyn Girl”, which is based on her novel. The novel was so popular it actually inspired not one, but two film adaptations. Gregory’s novels are usually set during the Tudor period, although she has also written books set in other historical periods. Some of her works include, “The White Princess”, “The Red Queen”, “Three Sisters, Three Queens”, and “The Last Tudor”, among many others.

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