24 New Historical Fiction Novels to Read Now

Posted by Cybil on April 15, 2020


Sometimes the best place to visit as a reader is the past. Luckily for you, this year is already seeing fantastic new historical fiction ready to transport you to many other times and distant story lines. 

We rounded up some of the new books Goodreads members have been loving so far this year. These novels explore the California gold rush, a Norwegian fishing village in the 1600s, the flight of immigrants to Chile in the 1930s, Laos in the 1960s, and many more eras and destinations. Be sure to add the books that pique your interest to your Want to Read shelf!


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Have a great historial fiction recommendation for your fellow readers? Please share it with us in the comments!

Check out more recent articles:
Curated Reading Recommendations from Authors You Love
The 100 Most Popular Mysteries and Thrillers on Goodreads
April's Most Anticipated New Books

Comments Showing 1-50 of 84 (84 new)


message 1: by Sophie (new)

Sophie Things In Jars by Jess Kidd belongs on this list as a must read.


message 2: by Dipankar (new)

Dipankar Sangma cambridge connection english ,dipanwita roy


message 3: by JD (new)

JD My personal all-time favorite is this: I, Claudius. Great miniseries, too!

Thanks for starting this thread.


message 4: by Jasmine (new)

Jasmine Remembrance sounds interesting.


message 5: by Kusum (new)

Kusum The German Heiress looks interesting.


message 6: by Erin (last edited Apr 15, 2020 11:06AM) (new)

Erin I’m looking forward to reading The Mountains Sing and Tales of Ming Courtesans this year!


message 7: by Jane (new)

Jane Giardino Just finished The Garden of Evenings Mists: Malaysia in the post-war years, enjoyed it.


message 8: by T (new)

T Sophie wrote: "Things In Jars by Jess Kidd belongs on this list as a must read."

Absolutely agree.


message 9: by Sarbashis (new)

Sarbashis Sarkar Just finished Lockdown by Peter May.


message 10: by Mairy (new)

Mairy I read The Yellow Bird Sings earlier this year.. gripping! I highly recommend it!

I really want to read Conjure Women.


message 11: by Kwana (new)

Kwana Resistance Women - Jennifer Chiaverini!!!


message 12: by Alexia (new)

Alexia MyBookVision I love historical fiction ! Thanks for this selection 🙌🏻


message 13: by Eileen (new)

Eileen Iciek The description of Remembrance was confusing - is it a collection of short stories, or a multiple time line novel or what?


message 14: by Kevin (new)

Kevin A Long Petal of the Sea and The Night Watchman were both excellent! Little Gods could be on this list and of course American Dirt. That one was incredible.


message 15: by Mairy (new)

Mairy I would not classify American Dirt under the historical fiction genre. This is rather adult fiction.


message 16: by TMR (new)

TMR Such a good collection. I’m eager to read them all.


message 17: by Linda (new)

Linda Lafferty Sophie wrote: "Things In Jars by Jess Kidd belongs on this list as a must read."
I agree!


message 18: by Christine (new)

Christine The Mercies was excellent. Read it in one sitting.


message 19: by Sofia (new)

Sofia Silverchild I recommend the whole Century Trilogy by Ken Follett.


message 20: by Brenda (new)

Brenda G ermmm africa and middle east don't have histories ??!!- c'mon goodreads editors!


message 21: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Hurley In 'September Will Tell' read about the existential threat to the independently-minded young female teacher in early 19th century Ireland by orthodox innovation and and its champions. Available on
Kindle for a song!


message 22: by Gordon (new)

Gordon Ralph I am a BIG Fan of the "Eagle Series" from Simon Scarrow !, Such an amazing historical series of the adventures of two Roman Soldiars from all around the Roman Empire .The writing is so good it makes me feel as though i am there with these two friends Macro and Cato,i am on the 18th book in the series"Traitors of Rome", which is a lot i know, but each time the book ends i cant wait for another !!


message 23: by Yvonne, (new)

Yvonne, I.M.M.Weekers I didn't read any of these special 'works', but I look eager to read any of your written books : i've no money to buy the books: perhaps downloading? but a fysic (paper) - book is perhaps more accountable then a n internet version? I'm jalous that you can read these trofees!. i'm be you.


message 24: by Aoiffe (new)

Aoiffe Hughes The Hungry Road by Marita Conlon McKenna. A moving tale set in Ireland during the years of the great famine


message 25: by C.Collins (new)

C.Collins Gordon wrote: "I am a BIG Fan of the "Eagle Series" from Simon Scarrow !, Such an amazing historical series of the adventures of two Roman Soldiars from all around the Roman Empire .The writing is so good it make..."

You might enjoy "The Last Stoic" my Morgan Wade.


message 26: by C.Collins (new)

C.Collins "Bottle and Glass" and "Paper & Rags", are exciting historical fiction by Morgan Wade that should be included here. I can't wait for the next one.


message 27: by John (new)

John Babb "The Girl Who Had No Shadow" is book two in the "Creole Voices" series, following "Voices of the Dead - Battling the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1878". Many of the characters from book one also populate book two. The story is set in 1880 New Orleans, and is a murder mystery.


message 28: by Drew Mitchell (new)

Drew Mitchell Following an on field tragedy, football was nearly outlawed in the state of GA. Read about it in GRIT, by Drew Mitchell (aka me 😊)


message 29: by John (new)

John Sinclair Winter Soldier by Daniel Mason and Promise by Minrose Gwin.


message 30: by Doug (new)

Doug Kiliman The Orphan of Pitigliano is a great read!


message 31: by Kenneth (new)

Kenneth Munkens Rude Awakening in 1969 at 800 pages may seem daunting, but readers have commented that they found that they experienced this incredible year as they followed a haunting fictional story. Many were sorry when it ended. The Moon landing, Chappaquiddick, Woodstock, the Tate murders, Miracle Mets, and more intertwine with characters you will long remember. Whether you lived it or were born after 1969 the included historical facts will give you insights as to the effects of this transitional year. Rude Awakening in 1969 by Kenneth J Munkens.


message 32: by Sharyn (new)

Sharyn Rosenblum UNIVERSE OF TWO, by Stephen Kiernan (William Morrow, 8/4)
A captivating love story set in 1944 as America is embroiled in the Second World War. Based on the real-life mathematician who was involved in the Manhattan Project—this is a beautiful, heart-tugging novel about two people struggling to heal their consciences and find peace in a world forever changed.


message 33: by Jill (new)

Jill All The Brave Are Forgiven and All The Light We Cannot See.


message 34: by Liz (new)

Liz Sophie wrote: "Things In Jars by Jess Kidd belongs on this list as a must read."

I agree! One of my favorite books of 2020.


message 35: by Reiner (new)

Reiner My favourites are "Augustus" by Williams, Harris's "Imperium" and "An Officer and a Spy".


message 36: by Liam (new)


message 37: by Jmahler (new)

Jmahler I was very disappointed in Conjure Women....I did not even finish it. I would highly recommend the The Winemaker's Wife.....really enjoyed it.


message 38: by Scott (new)

Scott Vitale The Sebstastian St. Cyr Mystery Series, written by C. S. Harris, is one that should not be overlooked. Beginning with_What Angels Fear. Set in Regency England, a member of the aristoctracy steps out of his realm to solve murders...and stir up more skeletons in closets. Excellent reads. Author Harris just published the 15th book in the series. Don't take my word for it....check it out!


message 39: by Pascale (new)

Pascale White Hunger by Aki Ollikainen, translated from the Finnish by Emily & Fleur Jeremiah (yes, Sir!) It's set in 1867, a year of devastating famine in Finland.


message 40: by Whitney (new)

Whitney Duboef A Hundred Suns belongs here.


message 41: by Diane (new)

Diane Delekta I have just started the Book of Lost Friends. Love it so far


message 42: by Verna (new)

Verna I’ve just started reading The Mirror and the Light, by Hilary Mantel. The third in the Thomas Cromwell trilogy. It is just as amazing as the first two, Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies.
It draws you in from the first paragraph. Highly recommended.


message 43: by Maureen (new)

Maureen Kennedy The Shardlake series by C. J. Sansom, start with Dissolution it " is an utterly riveting portrayal of Tudor England"
and also The Secret World of Christoval Alvarez (The Chronicles of Christoval Alvarez Book 1 )
Book 1 of 9 : The Chronicles of Christoval Alvarez | by Ann Swinfen


message 44: by Sophie (new)

Sophie Man of My Time by Dalia Sofer seems like a promising novel
The Woman of a Thousand Names by Alexandra Lapierre is on my radar too!


message 45: by James (last edited Apr 21, 2020 09:10AM) (new)

James Earl High in the Bavarian Alps

Follow the adventures of Southern California chef, Lucas Gary as he travels, works, skis, and plays in the early 1970s in the magical setting of the Bavarian Alps. jamesearl-author-chef.com/


message 46: by Jordan (new)

Jordan Taylor There are so many here that I'm excited to read!


message 47: by Lyn (new)

Lyn Mairy wrote: "I read The Yellow Bird Sings earlier this year.. gripping! I highly recommend it!

I really want to read Conjure Women."


I just finished Conjure Women. It is terrific!!!


message 48: by Philip (new)

Philip Higgins The Shardlake books are a terrific series that immerse you in Tudor England. Any work by Bernard Cornwell and early Wilbur Smith novels are also great adventures.


message 49: by Alejandro (new)

Alejandro One of my favourites is The Josephine Bonaparte Collection


message 50: by Deb (new)

Deb Paulette Jiles, News of the World - taught me things I never learned in school about the aftermath of the Civil War in the American west.

Katharine Govier, Three views of crystal water. A fascinating tale about the pearl trade in the early to mid-20th C - and the "ama" or pearl divers of Japan.


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