Someone once said “history is written by the victors.” Before I get carried away, let me explain why I’m bringing up this quote.
I’ve been really getting into historical fiction lately. There’s so much source material to draw upon to make an awesome, detailed story! What I really like about historical fiction is that we get a chance to read alternative POVs from people we wouldn’t learn about in school. The history we learn is usually skewed in favor or focuses mostly on a certain segment of people, the “victors,” for lack of a better word. You can find so many differing stories, experiences, and narratives centered on the same timeline of events. This means there’s a lot of books about people who aren’t royalty or men, which is pretty cool, since we hear so little about people like that in the first place.
I’ve categorized some of my favorite historical fiction reads – so far – according to their respective time periods to share with you Buzzers. Feel free to comment along the way and recommend your favorite reads, regardless of time period, back!
For my starter post, I’m sharing my favorite historical fiction about the World Wars:
This steampunk novel is an “alternate” historical account of World War I, or the “Great War” as some call it. The Central Powers (Austrians and Germans), or “Clankers,” are at war with the “Darwinists” (the British). Against the backdrop of steampunk machinery and imaginary animals evolved for warfare is Aleksandar Ferdinand, Prince of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, who’s on the run from assassins, and Deryn a girl disguised as a boy in the British airforce.
This list wouldn’t be complete without the story of Liesel and Markus, would it? World War II and the Holocaust is a more evergreen theme, but it’s a topic that probably will never run out of stories or different scenarios. The Book Thief is written very well, and although not very lighthearted, maintains a glimmer of hope, somehow.
This grim graphic novel makes a twist in depicting life – before and after – and survival in Holocaust camps with anthropomorphic mice as characters. This two-part novel addresses not only the horror and reality of survival, but the trauma and guilt that lingers afterwards for both the survivors and their children.
My jaw dropped when I first read this book. Summer of my German Soldier isn’t racy or graphic, but it was definitely eye opening and provoking. Twelve year old Patty is spending a quiet summer in her small town in Arkansas when she meets Anton, a German POW. Despite her initial wariness about a Nazi soldier, Patty and Anton embark on a friendship that’s doomed for tragedy.
These are only a few of my favorite historical fiction books. I’ll follow up with two more time periods that I enjoyed. What are your favorite historical fiction books that warrant a mention?