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Tags: historical fiction | novels | best | books | review

Newsmax's Top 5 Historical Novels of the Last Decade

Newsmax's Top 5 Historical Novels of the Last Decade

By    |   Thursday, 09 January 2020 12:44 PM

An historical novel is defined as any work of fiction that takes place in the past, and is generally written at least 30 to 50 years after the event or time period has taken place.

To remain true to the genre, historical fiction should pay close attention to the manners, social conditions, and other details of the period depicted.

Here are Newsmax’s favorite historical novels, listed in no particular order. Scan the list, check what your most trusted reviewer has to say and make your choice.

Then sink down into your favorite chair and take yourself back to another place and another era.

All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr (2017)

Set in occupied Europe during World War II, “All The Light” became a New York Times bestseller the moment it hit the shelves.

It tells the story of Marie-Laure LeBlanc, a blind French girl, and Werner Pfennig, a German boy of the same age whose paths cross. “Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another,” according to Goodreads.

Writes one Goodreads reviewer, “This book has the most hauntingly beautiful prose I've ever read. It's brimming with rich details that fill all five senses simultaneously. It's full of beautiful metaphors that paint gorgeous images. I didn't want this book to end, but I couldn't put it down.”

The Bourbon Thief” by Tiffany Reisz (2016)

Set in the United States during 1900s, Cooper McQueen wakes to discover he’s been robbed of a bottle of bourbon that’s worth a fortune. The apparent thief is the beautiful stranger named Paris with whom he’d spent the evening.

Paris, however, claims the bottle is hers, given that the label says property of the Maddox family, which owned and ran the distillery that produced the bourbon.

According to a Goodreads reviewer, “'The Bourbon Thief' is storytelling at its best. I was completely enraptured with this story from start to finish. The narrator for the Audible edition was fabulous, adding a richness to the characters and story. I put my headphones on and got lost in this book for the day. Everything else ceased to exist. It was that good.”

Bring Up the Bodies” by Hilary Mantel (2012)

Set in 16th century England, “Bring Up the Bodies” deals with “one of the most mystifying and frightening episodes in English history: the downfall of Anne Boleyn,” according to Goodreads.

Boleyn loses the favor of Henry VIII as his second wife, with her sharp intellect and wit, and her failure to give him an heir.

As Jane Seymour stands waiting in the wings to become the king’s third wife, Boleyn finds herself trapped in a conspiratorial web.

Writes one reviewer, “Mantel is such an excellent writer; her prose is eloquent and artistic, beautiful even.. Few writers have such skill. She uses every grammatical tool at her disposal to give her novel a strong individual sense of stylistic flair. And that’s just the surface level of her sentences; she also uses metaphor and constant allusions to take it to another level entirely. ”

A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles (2016)

Set in Russia’s newly-formed Soviet Union during the early 1920s, “A Gentleman” tells the story of a former Russian nobleman, Count Alexander Rostov, who was found guilty of being an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal.

As a result, he’s been sentenced to house arrest in an attic room at the Metropol, a luxurious hotel situated across the street from the Kremlin.

“Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count's endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose,” according to Goodreads.

The Sympathizer” by Viet Thanh Nguyen (2016)

Set in 1975 in Vietnam and the United States, this marks the debut novel by the Vietnamese American professor. “The Sympathizer” in this case is a South Vietnamese captain whose sympathies lie with the Viet Cong.

He works as an aide to a South Vietnamese general in Saigon while the city is in chaos during the closing days of the Vietnam War. Everything he learns from the general is reported to “The Sympathizer’s” communist handlers.

“The Sympathizer” was an auspicious first novel for Nguyen; he was awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for fiction for this work.

“Viet Nguyen has style,” writes one reviewer. “He's really funny, in a smart unpredictable way. And I think he's is going to get a lot of awards and all that when word really gets out. Deservedly so because it touches all the big points of Vietnamese American history while never getting bogged down in being a historical lesson.”

© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

An historical novel is defined as any work of fiction that takes place in the past, and is generally written at least 30 to 50 years after the event or time period has taken place.
historical fiction, novels, best, books, review
Thursday, 09 January 2020 12:44 PM
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