Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish.
You guys may or may not know this but I LOVE history and historical fiction. It’s actually what I plan on studying when I go back to University this Autumn and so I was super excited when I saw this topic. Now I haven’t read as much historical fiction as I would have liked to and a lot of them take place around the same time so this might be a little repetitive. Like I’ve mentioned in some posts and videos I’m trying to broaden my reading and historical fiction novels are included in that.
1. France 1939-1945. I have read a couple of books (Code Name Verity, All The Light We Cannot See) that are set during WW2 at least partially in France. Both these books also take place in other countries but the majority of the action takes place in France. I love this setting because, being British, most of my history lessons about World War 2 concerned us, or the opposing side of Germany, and even though France were our allies we never learned too much about the effect of the war on the country even though it suffered so greatly.
2. Germany 1939-1945. See what I mean about repetitive? But I also have always been a bit fascinated with books set in Germany during this time. I’ve read two (The Book Thief and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas) which were both utterly heartbreaking and gave a different perspective on the war than to WW2 novels set in England and much of what my history lessons had given me.
3. New Orleans, 1950. I recently read Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys which I did a review on and loved it. One of my favourite things about the book was the time period and setting. There are a lot of books about World War 2 but not so many about the time immediately after. And New Orleans is a place that fascinates me and that I really wish I had visited when I was in the States.
4. The American South, 1960s. I have read four novels set during this time period in the South (To Kill A Mockingbird, The Colour Purple, The Secret Life of Bees, and the Help) set in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Mississippi respectively. I loved learning about the Civil Rights movement during my brief time studying American Studies at University the first time round and have always found that such wonderful and heartbreaking stories can be told during this period. It was a time of immense change and courage and I absolutely adore any book I’ve read during this period.
5. Gold Rush America, 1848. I recently read the fabulous Walk On Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson which is a YA Historical Fantasy novel and I loved the setting. I had never learned about the Gold Rush before I read this book and only had vaguely heard about it. But whilst having elements of fantasy this book is primarily a historical fiction novel and Carson painted such a rich and diverse world in this historical setting that was accurate and wonderful.
6. Regency England, 1811-1820. I feel like this period gets overlooked a lot as it is followed by Queen Victoria but arguably one of the best books (okay one of my favourite books) is set during this time. Yes, of course I’m talking about Pride and Prejudice. One of my favourite things about this book is how it takes very small, inconsequential problems for the characters such as suitors and family relations and makes them seem like the biggest deal in the world when in fact the Napoleonic wars were occurring at this time.
7. Iceland, 1820’s. Last October I read Burial Rites by Hannah Kent and even though I personally didn’t enjoy reading the book I can acknowledge that it is a very well done book, and the setting in Iceland was probably my favourite thing about it. I thought this book was so atmospheric and the setting of the cold Icelandic winters really added to the depressing and dark tone of the book.
8. Siberian Russia, 1939-1945. Between Shades of Gray is one of my favourite books and the majority of this book is set in concentration camps in the wild land of Siberian Russia. This entire book taught me so much about the fate of the Baltic people during WW2 that I had no inkling about before. The wild and isolated landscape of the time really brought home how hopeless these people felt a lot of the time.
These are all the historical settings I could remember reading about, so my last two will be historical settings I would LIKE to read about!
9. Elizabethan England – This was my absolute favourite time period that I studied at school and I would love to read a book set during this time period. I’ve never gone back this far in historical fiction books so I am definitely interested to see what I think. I love the politics and how rich the history of this period is and would love to read a book set during Elizabeth’s reign.
10. The New World, 15th/16th Century – Again, one of my favourite time periods I studied during my brief time at university was the initial settlement of the America’s, particularly the week we spent looking at Native American culture and how it impacted them. I haven’t ever heard of a book set during this time, but I’m sure one exists somewhere!
So those are my top 10 favourite historical settings! As you can see, I really love history and historical fiction is quite possibly my favourite genre. So many of my favourite books are from that genre and I love how they can transport you not only to a different time but also a different place. I am aware these settings are all very American/European based settings so if you know of any books about South American/African/Asian/ history I would love to know.