7 Captivating Historical Novels Full Of Intricate Detail

Writing historical fiction requires a great deal of commitment, because you can't just look around and use your immediate surroundings as inspiration for the setting. These authors have done their homework, creating vibrant stories that leap off the page and into readers' imaginations. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

7 Sensational Works of Historical Fiction

Title Author More by the Author
The Mannequin Makers Craig Cliff A Man Melting Nailing Down the Saint
The Road to Bittersweet Donna Everhart The Education of Dixie Dupree The Moonshiner's Daughter
Water Lily Dance Michelle Muriel Essie's Roses
The Beauty Doctor Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard Temptation Rag
Will Poole's Island Tim Weed A Field Guide to Murder & Fly Fishing
Kydd Julian Stockwin The Silk Tree The Powder of Death
Men of the Cross Charlene Newcomb For King and Country Swords of the King

Donna Everhart Discusses The Education of Dixie Dupree

Vacation Ideas For Lovers Of American History

Location Key Attractions
Ste. Geneviève, MO Missouri's oldest town, with classic homes, a trolley, the Green Tree Tavern, and The Sainte Genevieve Museum Learning Center
Boston, MA The USS Constitution, Old North Church, the Commonwealth Museum, Fenway Park, and tours featuring the sites of the Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere's House, and Freedom Trail
Alexandria, VA Mount Vernon, the Carlyle House, the National Inventors Hall of Fame and Museum, and excursions like the Original Ghost & Graveyard Tour
Cabarrus County, NC The Charlotte Motor Speedway, Reed Gold Mine, North Carolina Music Hall of Fame, and the Billy Graham Library
Grand Rapids, MI Historic homes, bridges, and lighthouses, Nelis' Dutch Village, the Great Lakes Naval Memorial & Museum, and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum
Plymouth County, MA Plymouth Rock, the Richard Sparrow House Museum, the Salem Witch Museum, and the Myles Standish Monument

5 Tips For Writing Historical Fiction

In Depth

A great work of historical fiction will transport you to another time and place, putting you in the middle of medieval Europe or the Antebellum South. This list, structured in no particular order, looks at historical novels rich with the kind of period detail that readers crave.

At #1, it's The Mannequin Makers, a novel by Craig Cliff. Unfolding over a period of time between 1859 and 1974, the book tells the story of window dresser Colton Kemp, who, inspired by a travelling Vaudeville company, decides to raise his children to be living mannequins after the sudden death of his wife. Most of the plot takes place in the final decade of the nineteenth century, the first few years of the twentieth century, and 1919.

Called one of the best books of 2013 by both The Hoopla and The Listener, The Mannequin Makers has also been translated into Romanian. It has been praised by publications all over the world, from the Otago Daily Times in Cliff's native New Zealand to the New York Times, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and Publishers Weekly in North America. The author's other works include the novel Nailing Down the Saint and the story collection A Man Melting.

It has been praised by publications all over the world, from the Otago Daily Times in Cliff's native New Zealand to the New York Times, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and Publishers Weekly in North America.

For #2, we've got the novels of Donna Everhart, which take place in the Carolinas and elsewhere in the South over the course of the mid-twentieth century. These are stories of family hardship and troubled times in a bygone era. The Road to Bittersweet follows the Stamper family as they leave the Appalachian Mountains for the hill country of South Carolina during the 1940s.

In The Education of Dixie Dupree, Everhart tells the story of a girl in 1969 Perry County, Alabama who has become an expert liar by the time she is eleven years old. The Forgiving Kind, called the author's best by The Historical Novels Review, is set in 1950s North Carolina and finds another young heroine confronting family demons and battling trauma.

At #3, Water Lily Dance and Essie's Roses are works of historical fiction by Michelle Muriel. Prior to picking up the pen, Muriel was an actor for over twenty years, doing theater, voice-over, and commercial work. Water Lily Dance follows the lives and secrets of three brave women, centuries apart, connected by French Impressionist artist Claude Monet.

Water Lily Dance follows the lives and secrets of three brave women, centuries apart, connected by French Impressionist artist Claude Monet.

Essie's Roses follows four women in the years leading up to the Civil War, and depicts the brutal social world of the Antebellum South and its supposed elegance. The novel won praise from Readers' Favorite, Book Nerd, and Feathered Quill Book Reviews.

Coming in at #4, the novels of Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard are award-winning efforts in historical fiction. The Beauty Doctor is a suspenseful tale that takes place in the early days of cosmetic surgery, when the world of medicine was a bit like the Wild West and beauty doctors were the newest breed of outlaw. Bernard previously worked in communications for the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

In Temptation Rag, Bernard draws upon the world of ragtime as a backdrop for a story about the price of freedom, the longing for immortality, and the human need to find forgiveness. This fictionalized historical saga is populated by a cast of real-life characters who range from vaudeville's greatest stars to the geniuses of early African American musical theater.

This fictionalized historical saga is populated by a cast of real-life characters who range from vaudeville's greatest stars to the geniuses of early African American musical theater.

The #5 entry is Will Poole's Island, a novel by Tim Weed. Set in Colonial New England of the 1640s, the book's plot concerns a young man from a village of settlers who, while hunting in the forest, encounters Squamiset, an English-speaking native with whom he will set off on a journey that will change his life forever.

Weed is a Vermont-based writer who serves on the core faculty of the Newport MFA in Creative Writing and as an instructor at GrubStreet, the country's largest independent creative writing center. His short story collection A Field Guide to Murder & Fly Fishing brings together tales first published in journals such as Colorado Review, Gulf Coast, and Glimmer Train.

On our list at #6, it's the historical fiction of Julian Stockwin, a veteran of both the UK Royal Navy and the Royal Australian Navy. Appropriately enough, many of his novels are set amid major episodes in maritime history. He's best known for the Kydd Series, which tells, over the course of more than twenty volumes, the story of a sailor's journey from pressed man to Admiral in the early modern Age of Sail.

He's best known for the Kydd Series, which tells, over the course of more than twenty volumes, the story of a sailor's journey from pressed man to Admiral in the early modern Age of Sail.

Stockwin is the author of another series, called The GameChangers, stories that examine so-called "turning points" of history. The Silk Tree takes place in the Roman Empire of the 6th century, while The Powder of Death brings readers to England over the course of the 13th and 14th centuries, as the discovery of gunpowder remakes war. Stockwin has also published a non-fiction compendium of maritime miscellany.

Wrapping things up at #7, we've got the Battle Scars series by Charlene Newcomb. It's made up of three novels set in the 12th century that feature gay protagonists. The first, Men of the Cross, brings together two men who embark on the Crusades as strangers and become more than friends. In book two, For King and Country, traitors to the crown pit our heroes against dangerous enemies. Swords of the King completes the trilogy.

Newcomb has supplemented the series of historical novels with Passages, a series of short story e-books. A Knight's Tale is a prequel to Men of the Cross, introducing us to protagonist Stephan l'Aigle. Renegade picks up the action after the events of Swords of the King. In addition to historical fiction, the author writes sci-fi and stories set in the present day.