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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3.90 avg rating — 91,177 ratings
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4.33 avg rating — 611,925 ratings
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3.97 avg rating — 62,728 ratings
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3.67 avg rating — 14,225 ratings
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15

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3.94 avg rating — 101,013 ratings
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4.07 avg rating — 5,848 ratings
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17

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3.82 avg rating — 183,660 ratings
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18

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3.70 avg rating — 14,232 ratings
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3.49 avg rating — 14,070 ratings
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3.64 avg rating — 5,123 ratings
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21

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3.74 avg rating — 15,749 ratings
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22

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3.78 avg rating — 13,478 ratings
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3.85 avg rating — 13,078 ratings
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24

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4.31 avg rating — 18,938 ratings
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25

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4.20 avg rating — 30,332 ratings
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26

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3.90 avg rating — 15,204 ratings
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27

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4.45 avg rating — 408,685 ratings
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28

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3.99 avg rating — 3,580 ratings
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29

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3.92 avg rating — 19,240 ratings
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30

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4.07 avg rating — 11,358 ratings
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31

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3.97 avg rating — 10,757 ratings
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32

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3.89 avg rating — 11,117 ratings
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33

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4.58 avg rating — 303,902 ratings
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34

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4.01 avg rating — 33,995 ratings
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35

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3.69 avg rating — 3,663 ratings
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3.98 avg rating — 7,937 ratings
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37

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3.51 avg rating — 1,544 ratings
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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 38,798 ratings
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39

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3.91 avg rating — 8,790 ratings
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40

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3.45 avg rating — 2,418 ratings
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41

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4.17 avg rating — 31,381 ratings
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42

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4.05 avg rating — 13,744 ratings
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43

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3.96 avg rating — 9,853 ratings
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44

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4.07 avg rating — 29,132 ratings
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45

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4.13 avg rating — 30,838 ratings
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46

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3.64 avg rating — 13,797 ratings
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47

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4.06 avg rating — 5,998 ratings
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48

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 2,889 ratings
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49

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3.85 avg rating — 24,406 ratings
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50

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3.80 avg rating — 12,843 ratings
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51

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3.97 avg rating — 18,418 ratings
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52

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53

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3.97 avg rating — 38,709 ratings
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54

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4.03 avg rating — 11,651 ratings
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55

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3.22 avg rating — 4,230 ratings
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56

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3.83 avg rating — 3,839 ratings
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57

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4.14 avg rating — 22,091 ratings
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58

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3.93 avg rating — 979 ratings
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59

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4.13 avg rating — 6,093 ratings
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59

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3.93 avg rating — 9,566 ratings
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61

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4.12 avg rating — 25,973 ratings
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62

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3.32 avg rating — 1,107 ratings
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63

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3.85 avg rating — 8,410 ratings
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64

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3.09 avg rating — 13,767 ratings
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65

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66

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4.16 avg rating — 43 ratings
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66

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3.90 avg rating — 173 ratings
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68

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4.02 avg rating — 45,041 ratings
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69

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4.13 avg rating — 10,441 ratings
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70

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3.75 avg rating — 462 ratings
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71

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3.78 avg rating — 719 ratings
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72

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3.87 avg rating — 231 ratings
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73

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4.05 avg rating — 8,207 ratings
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74

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3.67 avg rating — 727 ratings
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74

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76

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76

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78

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3.60 avg rating — 38,871 ratings
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79

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3.26 avg rating — 251 ratings
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80

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81

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4.05 avg rating — 13,863 ratings
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82

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3.76 avg rating — 663 ratings
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83

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3.87 avg rating — 2,293 ratings
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84

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3.80 avg rating — 1,408 ratings
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85

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3.83 avg rating — 402 ratings
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86

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3.93 avg rating — 1,695 ratings
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87

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3.84 avg rating — 355 ratings
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88

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3.37 avg rating — 2,581 ratings
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88

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4.08 avg rating — 2,748 ratings
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90

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3.75 avg rating — 1,197 ratings
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3.94 avg rating — 3,195 ratings
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92

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3.69 avg rating — 4,968 ratings
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93

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3.71 avg rating — 2,121 ratings
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94

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3.24 avg rating — 8,191 ratings
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95

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3.90 avg rating — 6,613 ratings
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96

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3.77 avg rating — 190 ratings
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97

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3.89 avg rating — 17,221 ratings
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98

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3.70 avg rating — 104 ratings
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98

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3.64 avg rating — 59 ratings
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flag this list (?)
269 books · 608 voters · list created November 12th, 2009 by Ashley (votes) .
282 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Ashley 1144 books
44 friends
Dr. 0 books
1 friend
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads 3160 books
831 friends
Denidevine 1127 books
37 friends
Greyweather 2654 books
72 friends
Themis-Athena (Lioness at Large) 546 books
471 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 ⚡ Aspiring Evil Overlord ⚡ 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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