If you read (and loved) our post on Outlander, you’ve already gotten the first hint about our September reading theme. Would you believe it if I told you that historical fiction is the fifth most popular genre of fiction overall?
With a readership comprised of mostly women in their fifties, historical fiction books offer readers a creative view of historically accurate events and settings. A survey asking readers why they choose to read historical fiction revealed that most fans of the genre want to experience and appreciate how people lived at various points in history. The majority of readers polled reported their favorite setting was Europe, followed by Great Britain, and the United States, with the Renaissance and Tudor eras as the most popular.
Here are a few fun facts AuthorSource staff member Clay found out about historical fiction. Click the link to order the books and add them to your TBR list this Fall:
- Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ may be the best selling historical fiction novel of all time, with roughly 50 million copies sold since its original publication in 1880.
- Although classified as an epic poem, Homer’s The Iliad – which takes place during the Trojan War – could technically be called the first example of historical fiction ever written.
- Scottish playwright Sir Walter Scott is widely considered to have invented the modern historical fiction genre movement with his Waverley Novels, a fictional account of life in the time of the Jacobite uprising of 1745.
- Three of China’s Four Classics – Nai’an’s Water Margin (14th-century), Guanzhong’s Romance of the Three Kingdoms (14th-century) and Cheng’en’s Journey to the West (16th-century) – are considered to be some of the oldest works of historical fiction on record.
- In the early 19th century, Charles Dickens started a new educational movement in historical fiction with novels such as A Tale of Two Cities, in which he strove to accurately portray the social conditions of the working class. [AWESOME BOOK DEAL: UNDER $7]
- William Faulkner’s classic novel Absalom, Absalom!, !, a piece of historical fiction about three families living in the American South during the Civil War, was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as containing the “Longest Sentence in Literature.” The sentence is 1,288 words long and can be found in Chapter 6.
- Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter Letter is one of the most frequently adapted works of historical fiction to date, having been remade for the screen over a dozen times and served as the basis for more than 20 hit songs, 18 operas and 5 plays. [AWESOME BOOK DEAL: UNDER $6]
- James Fenimore Cooper’s novel The Last of the Mohicans is widely credited as having reinvented public perception of Native Americans in popular culture, with its sympathetic depiction of Native nobility growing to replace outdated and stereotypically villainous conceptions of Native characters in early popular fiction of the 19th century. [AWESOME BOOK DEAL: UNDER $6]
- The Hunch-back of Notre-Dame Dame by Victor Hugo was such a huge hit in France upon release that the novel inspired a historical preservation movement across the country, ushering in a revival of Gothic-styled architecture and even inspiring a 19th century restoration project at the real-life Notre-Dame in Paris.
Top-15 Best-Selling Contemporary Historical Fiction novels Historical fiction is more than dated books from yesteryear. Contemporary historical fiction covers a wide range of settings from Alaska to Tuscany, and varied topics from love, to adventure. Here are the top 15 best-selling contemporary historical fiction novels according to our search on Amazon. Those with links we were able to add to our online bookstore for your shopping pleasure:
- The Storyteller’s Secret – Sejal Badani
- At the Water’s Edge – Sara Gruen
- Hotel Sacher – Rodica Doehnert
- Beneath a Scarlet Sky – Mark Sullivan
- Lies She Never Told Me – John Ellsworth
- The Tuscan Child – Rhys Bowen
- The Royal Nanny – Karen Harper
- Exit West – Mohsin Hamid
- A Quiet Life in the Country – T E Kinsey
- Deceived & Honoured: The Baron’s Vexing Wife – Bree Wolf
- Forbidden – Jo Beverley
- The Island Villa – Lily Graham
- The Girl in the Letter – Emily Gunnis
- The Great Alone – Kristin Hannah
- Before We Were Yours – Lisa Wingate