Best Victorian Historical Fiction Set In Britain

The best historical fiction set in Britain during Queen Victoria's reign (1837-1901).

Note: historical fiction being defined as follows -
"To be deemed historical (in our sense), a novel must have been written at least fifty years after the events described, or have been written by someone who was not alive at the time of those events (who therefore approaches them only by research)." (definition from the Historical Novel Society)
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3.89 avg rating — 103,164 ratings
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3.96 avg rating — 67,294 ratings
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3.92 avg rating — 109,589 ratings
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3.82 avg rating — 206,140 ratings
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3.64 avg rating — 5,328 ratings
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3.50 avg rating — 14,650 ratings
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3.71 avg rating — 15,221 ratings
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3.73 avg rating — 17,448 ratings
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3.77 avg rating — 15,339 ratings
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25

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3.99 avg rating — 3,674 ratings
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3.90 avg rating — 16,408 ratings
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4.43 avg rating — 457,535 ratings
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28

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3.90 avg rating — 21,677 ratings
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29

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4.19 avg rating — 32,869 ratings
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30

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4.06 avg rating — 12,233 ratings
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31

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3.97 avg rating — 11,279 ratings
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4.56 avg rating — 353,000 ratings
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3.99 avg rating — 37,284 ratings
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3.98 avg rating — 8,407 ratings
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38

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4.18 avg rating — 33,908 ratings
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39

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3.99 avg rating — 42,246 ratings
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40

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41

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3.44 avg rating — 2,437 ratings
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42

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3.95 avg rating — 10,367 ratings
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43

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4.04 avg rating — 14,753 ratings
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44

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4.05 avg rating — 32,171 ratings
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45

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4.13 avg rating — 34,054 ratings
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46

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3.64 avg rating — 14,170 ratings
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47

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4.07 avg rating — 6,386 ratings
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48

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4.01 avg rating — 3,054 ratings
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49

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50

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3.86 avg rating — 26,184 ratings
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51

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52

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4.14 avg rating — 22,528 ratings
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55

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56

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3.22 avg rating — 4,295 ratings
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3.94 avg rating — 1,102 ratings
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59

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4.13 avg rating — 6,501 ratings
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3.93 avg rating — 10,275 ratings
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61

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4.11 avg rating — 29,007 ratings
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3.83 avg rating — 15,532 ratings
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63

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3.32 avg rating — 1,140 ratings
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65

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4.10 avg rating — 5,667 ratings
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66

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66

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3.90 avg rating — 172 ratings
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68

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3.99 avg rating — 64,719 ratings
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3.67 avg rating — 1,358 ratings
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70

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4.13 avg rating — 13,665 ratings
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71

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3.97 avg rating — 40,244 ratings
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3.87 avg rating — 241 ratings
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3.66 avg rating — 740 ratings
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3.87 avg rating — 205 ratings
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80

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3.58 avg rating — 45,372 ratings
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81

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3.26 avg rating — 267 ratings
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82

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liked it 3.00 avg rating — 207 ratings
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83

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3.77 avg rating — 681 ratings
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84

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3.88 avg rating — 2,637 ratings
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85

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4.10 avg rating — 97,561 ratings
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86

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3.80 avg rating — 1,460 ratings
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87

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3.85 avg rating — 430 ratings
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88

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3.92 avg rating — 1,757 ratings
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89

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3.73 avg rating — 49,472 ratings
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90

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3.88 avg rating — 378 ratings
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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 967,768 ratings
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92

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4.47 avg rating — 178,824 ratings
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93

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3.36 avg rating — 2,656 ratings
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93

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4.08 avg rating — 2,876 ratings
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93

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3.99 avg rating — 134,648 ratings
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96

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3.75 avg rating — 1,274 ratings
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96

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3.94 avg rating — 3,288 ratings
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98

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3.69 avg rating — 4,976 ratings
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3.71 avg rating — 2,126 ratings
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3.24 avg rating — 8,458 ratings
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270 books · 623 voters · list created November 12th, 2009 by Ashley (votes) .
291 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Ashley 1208 books
44 friends
Dr. 0 books
1 friend
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads 3243 books
861 friends
Denidevine 1136 books
37 friends
Greyweather 2660 books
71 friends
Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) 545 books
367 friends
Mick 893 books
3 friends
Judy 876 books
7 friends

More voters…


Comments Showing 1-31 of 31 (31 new)

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message 1: by Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) (last edited Nov 12, 2009 06:46AM) (new)

Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) "Slammerkin" is a great book; it's not set in the Victorian Age, though, but roughly a century earlier ...

ETA: Similarly, Brecht's "Threepenny Opera" is an early 20th century adaptation of an 18th century (not Victorian!) ballad opera, namely, John Gay's "Beggar's Opera."

And on yet another note: My understanding of "historical" fiction is that it is "historical" (i.e., lying in the past) from the point of view of the WRITER, not merely his/her readers. I.e., any- and everything by Dickens and other writers actually living in the Victorian Age should not qualify for inclusion in this list, either.

Ashley, you created the list -- can you comment on the above?


message 2: by Ashley (last edited Nov 12, 2009 02:04PM) (new)

Ashley I took Slammerkin off, and I'll get rid of Threepennny Opera as well, thanks for the heads up on these!

Personally, I agree with your understanding of historical fiction as well - written by someone who is looking back on that particular point in history, and not living it.

I was curious about this when I noticed one of the more popular lists of historical fiction includes a lot of books written by authors who were writing what was, to them, contemporary fiction. I came across some different definitions, some that included these authors, and most like this one from the Historical Novel Society's website:

"To be deemed historical (in our sense), a novel must have been written at least fifty years after the events described, or have been written by someone who was not alive at the time of those events (who therefore approaches them only by research)."

This was more my intent in creating this list. I'll include that in the description, and try to keep the list to that, I think.

Thanks!


message 3: by Ashley (new)

Ashley I looked into Threepenny Opera a bit, and it does seem to be set in Victorian England - a bit of a blurry line, so I'll leave that one :)


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) You're right about the Threepenny Opera -- it's actually intended to be set right before Queen Victoria's coronation. It occurs to me I've never seen it performed in a Victorian setting, though (early 20th century virtually every single time)! Anyway, yeah, do leave Brecht/Weill by all means in light of this.

Here's a cool website on the piece, btw:

http://www.threepennyopera.org/storyS...


message 5: by Kim (new)

Kim For more on books set in Victorian England check out this blog:

http://thebooklover.wordpress.com/tag...


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Professor and the Madman is non-fiction.


Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) True -- sorry for the oversight. I removed it.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Yep, interesting book, but non-fiction.


message 9: by Aimee (new)

Aimee Keithan Kate Morton's The House at Riverton and The Forgotten Garden are really good... can't quite remember if they are Victorian or Edwardian, but certainly within that era. Also Micheal Cox's sequel to The Meaning of Night called The Glass of Time was really good.


message 10: by Bettie (new)

Bettie The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher is not fiction.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Did you remove it? I went to, and didn't see it.


message 13: by Ashley (new)

Ashley Yeah, I removed it yesterday :)


message 14: by Karen (new)

Karen The Mystery of Charles Dickens isn't a book; it's a recording of a one-man stage show. Also available on DVD.


message 15: by Anna (new)

Anna Are anything of these clean from language and honey-room scenes?


message 16: by Julie (new)

Julie She walks in Beauty takes place in NYC, not England.


message 17: by Ashley (new)

Ashley Deleted, along with a few others that were not set in England or not during the time frame.


Nenia ✨️ Socially Awkward Trash Panda ✨️ Campbell Didn't #82 Year of Wonders take place earlier than Victorian times? I'm pretty sure it was late Medieval.


message 19: by Alex (new)

Alex Pikachu wrote: "Didn't #82 Year of Wonders take place earlier than Victorian times? I'm pretty sure it was late Medieval."

It's set in 1665, so definitely not Victorian.


message 20: by Suzanne (last edited Sep 14, 2012 10:26AM) (new)

Suzanne The Observations and Greyfriars Bobby are set in Scotland not England, unless you mean fiction set in Victorian Britain (which would cover both)?


message 21: by Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) (last edited Sep 14, 2012 10:51AM) (new)

Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) Zee wrote: "Pikachu wrote: "Didn't #82 Year of Wonders take place earlier than Victorian times? I'm pretty sure it was late Medieval."

It's set in 1665, so definitely not Victorian."


I removed it, along with a number of books by authors actually living in Victorian England and writing about their own time (i.e., books not qualifying as "historical fiction") -- most notably, Charles Dickens -- and David Liss's "Benjamin Weaver" series (set in 18th, not 19th century London).

Will leave The Observations and Greyfriars Bobby to Ashley's prerogative as the list creator.


message 22: by Ashley (new)

Ashley Thanks for deleting those Themis-Athena! I hadn't thought about the Britain/England distinction, and I think I will change it to Britain and leave those two on the list :) Thanks for pointing it out Suzanne!


message 23: by Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) (last edited Sep 14, 2012 11:01AM) (new)

Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) No problem, and ETA ... also deleted the books from Anna Godbersen's "Luxe" series, which is set in New York ... AND Bernard Cornwell's "Saxon Story" series (NINTH, not NINETEENTH century England)!


message 24: by Suzanne (new)

Suzanne Ashley wrote: "Thanks for deleting those Themis-Athena! I hadn't thought about the Britain/England distinction, and I think I will change it to Britain and leave those two on the list :) Thanks for pointing it ou..."

You're welcome. A good Scot would have to point that out ;-)


❀⊱RoryReads⊰❀ Removed Dickens, Conan Doyle, Science Fiction and several Regency Romances.


message 26: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear The Diamond of Drury Lane: Cat Royal Series, is set in the Georgian period


message 27: by Konstantin (new)

Konstantin "Remarkable Creatures" by Tracy Chevalier is NOT Victorian, but Regency.


message 28: by Fiona (new)

Fiona Hurley "An Instance of the Fingerpost" (currently #119) is set in the 17th century.


message 29: by D (last edited Jul 15, 2018 01:41PM) (new)

D City of Light is a great book, but it doesn't take place in Great Britain, and it's not Victorian either. It takes place in Buffalo, NY, during the Pan-American Exposition of 1901 (technically, Edwardian by then).


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (current #23) is not Victorian; it is set during the Napoleonic Wars (ended 1815).


message 31: by Konstantin (new)

Konstantin #205 is a duplicate.
#224 isn't set in England.


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