Top 5 Historical Fiction Books // 5 Fall Favorites 2022 Day 5

Welcome to Five Fall Favorites day five! How is it already Friday?! This week has flown by, and I hope you have enjoyed it at least half as much as I have. It’s been pretty busy at work, but not unbearably so, and every time I’ve checked in with FFF there has been something new to discuss and more books to add to my TBR list.

In case you haven’t caught the previous posts, Five Fall Favorites is an annual time for the bookish community to celebrate fall and good books. Each day has a genre theme, around which participants share five book recommendations. There is a fall-themed giveaway that you can earn entries toward throughout the week, and several authors offer freebies or deals on their ebooks during this event. If you are looking for a good book or want to revel in the autumnal aesthetic, I hope you will stick around! More details and the giveaway can be found on the host’s site/landing page, Once Upon an Ordinary.

Our theme today is my favorite genre: historical fiction! It was harder for me to choose only five books for this than any of the previous day. I finally decided to try to have a variety of eras (or at least decades), which helped to finalize the list.

Top 5 Historical Fiction Books

Classics count as historical fiction even if it was contemporary when it was first published, right? My first book today is a very well-known classic: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (1847). I finally read this book during the great quarantine of spring 2020 after owning it for years. It’s one of those books that, as an AP student and then English major, most people assume you have already read, but somehow it was never in my curriculum. I do honestly think that I might have enjoyed it even more with guided discussions along the way, even if they were just book club style and not terribly deep. Still, Jane is such a complex and well-developed character that I was drawn in even when the plot was at times almost unbearably mundane. Still, I know that Jane Eyre is far from everyone’s cup of tea, so while I greatly enjoyed it, I have no judgement or disdain for anyone who does not.

Next is a book that I simply adore almost too much to speak coherently about it: Once Upon a Wardrobe by Patti Callahan (2021). This is the epitome of “bittersweet.” The story is beautiful and heartbreaking, and it’s a surprisingly well-written example of a dual timeline narrative. It’s fiction, but it is well researched and positioned comfortably in the reality of C.S. Lewis’ life. We get to know him through the eyes of the fictional protagonist and through the stories he tells her – stories of his childhood, stories he has made up, and stories that have no clear resolution (much like life). This was one of the best books that I read last year, as you can see in my full review here.

We move back in time quite a bit for my next recommendation: Thief of Corinth by Tessa Afshar (2018) is set during the writing of the New Testament. While the story itself is entirely fictional, the apostle Paul makes an appearance and the Gospel has a strong effect on the story and those involved. This is the only book I have read by Afshar, but it will not be the last! I really like how she created characters that are just that – fictional characters – and through them we get to see what conversion might have been like for some of the earliest Christians. We explore the culture, society, and unique individuals with more artistic liberty than a traditional retelling might have.

This next book had to fight Little Women in order to be included, and I’m still not quite sure how it won. Anne’s House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery (1915) is such a darling book, and the lighthouse that Captain Jim lives in has been fixed in my memory since the first time that I read about it, but to beat out my dear Little Women? Alas, since the two have such a similar feel (imaginative protagonists, beautiful lyrical prose, a rosy presentation of traditional values, and enjoyable storylines), only one could stay! I’ve talked about Louisa May Alcott’s books a lot here on the blog before, so this time L.M. Montgomery gets the nod. This is the book in which Anne becomes a wife and a mother, and she deals with a lot of emotional stress because of it. Her new roles are shown to be both incredible blessings and difficulties. While she has already grown up quite a bit from when we first met her, Anne is still learning and maturing.

Finally, my last book for today is a sweet juvenile fiction story which uses John James Audubon as a character: A Nest for Celeste by Henry Cole (2010). The ending is more bittersweet than I would have preferred, but otherwise this book is so good. It’s the kind of book that I found myself sinking into, completely unaware of the world around me. This is an enjoyable exploration of friendship, home, and the world the author created for Celeste. Also, I knew very little about Audubon going into this, so the information about him was appreciated, and led me to want to learn more about him after finishing the book. He’s not treated as a straightforward character, but a complex human who made a substantial contribution to history but didn’t always go about it properly.

More Blog Party Fun

Today’s books were the most difficult to choose because historical fiction is my favorite genre. Also because this is my favorite genre, don’t quote me that these are definitively my 5 favorite historical fiction books of all time – the top tier could very well change with the day and which books are on my mind! Still, these are all very good books. I hope something catches your eye!

If you read historical fiction, do you have a favorite era to read about? Mine is either the late-1800s or 1940s.

Hope to see you back tomorrow for the final day of Five Fall Favorites and the October Spell the Month in Books linkup!

Until the next chapter,


16 thoughts on “Top 5 Historical Fiction Books // 5 Fall Favorites 2022 Day 5

Add yours

  1. Oh, I *love* Jane Eyre!! it’s one of my very favourite books. ❤ I haven't read Tessa Afshar yet but her books do look interesting. House of Dreams is my second favourite Anne book <33 and I grew up on Celeste!! It’s so sweet to see it mentioned here—I can’t believe I never thought of spotlighting it before!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really want to read Thief of Corinth; I’ve read one of Tessa Afshar’s newest books, and I really liked it.

    Historical fiction is my favorite genre, as well. My favorite eras vary from week to week. XD But the Revolutionary War is an era I love, and when I can find a book from the 1600s, I am eager to back that far also. The 1930s/40s is often a go-to era for me, mostly for research purposes.

    CutePolarBear/Hanna Kraft

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really enjoyed Once Upon a Wardrobe. I love this author’s historical books. I haven’t tried any of the contemporary books by her yet. The mouse book also sounds like a book I’d enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

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