Best 2021 Historical Fiction Books For Your TBR List

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Best historical fiction 2021

From “Dear Mrs Bird” and “The Book of Lost Names” to “The Great Alone and City of Girls“, I have read numerous historical fiction and loved them dearly.   

And I’m so thrilled to get my hands on these new 2021 historical fiction reads.

Just like previous years, most authors have chosen the backdrop of WWII for their novels. At first glance, these novels may seem to have the same theme. But once you get into them, each novel represents individual journies of hardships and survival.

I always look forward to reading historical novels including WW2, as it gives an immense understanding of how lives in each country were different and their determination and conviction to fight the war. 

So let’s get started.

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The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah 

The story of survival is set in Texas during the Dust Bowl and The Great Depression.

The story follows Elsa Wolcott who marries Rafe Martinelli after getting pregnant with his child. Soon she is abandoned by her own family as they didn’t approve of Martinellis. Shortly, Elsa finds a new home with her husband and family;

However, when the severe drought hits the farm, she is forced to leave her beloved farm with her children. 

A  poignant story of survival, family and love. 

“A warrior believes in an end she can’t see and fights for it. A warrior never gives up. A warrior fights for those weaker than herself. It sounds like motherhood to me.”

The Rose Code by Kate Quinn

A terrific World War II story that focuses on three women from different backgrounds. All of them carry distinctive personalities and develop a close friendship while working for the British allied code-breaking operation during the second world war.

But, soon after they tear apart due to secrets and disloyalty. 

A thrilling historical read with memorable characters. 

You don’t know how men sometimes use women. How they use and then leave women they never intended to marry. Nice boys do that. Gentlemen do that. Even princes. – The Rose Code

The Women of Chateau Lafayette by Stephanie Dray

Stephanie Dray’s new novel is based on historical facts. The story is set in three time periods in France and follows three women -a French Mother, a WWII school teacher and a socialite. All of them are somehow connected to Chateau Lafayette. 

An epic novel about love, courage and freedom. 

“Many exchange vows, rings, and kisses, but let us exchange hearts. That way you will never be alone; I will always be with you, for you will have, and be, my own dear heart.”

Our Darkest Night by Jennifer Robson 

This survival story is inspired by the true events during World War II. Set in 1943 the book follows a young Jewish-Italian woman, Antonina Mazin. The way of survival is to leave the family with a young Christian priest, Nico Gerardi.  Their future depends on convincing everyone that they are a happily married couple. 

A remarkable story that describes the resilience of the human spirit. 

Your actions today will make a difference. To this man, and also to his family. To all the people he will go on to help in the months to come. And it’s by such actions that you tip the scales in our favor. A few grams today, a few more tomorrow. That is how we will prevail. 

Last One Home by Shari J. Ryan 

USA Today Bestselling Author Shari J. Ryan’s new novel is inspired by the real story of the Pearl Harbour attack on December 7, 1941and World War II.

Set in the alternating timelines, 2018 and 1941, this is the coming-of-age story of Elizabeth Salzberg.  Having grown up in a strict military family, she has a profound desire to do something meaningful with her life. That’s why when fate separates her from her great love, she joins the Army Nurse Corps.

A spellbinding story of everlasting love, courage and determinations. 

The Last Bookshop in London by Madeline Martin

Inspired by the survival story of bookshops during the Blitz, “The Last Bookshop in London” is an enduring story of love and literature. When Grace Bennett moved to London with her best friend Viv, little did they know that their life would never be the same. Soon after Grace finds a job in a bookstore even though she has never read a book in her life. But when the war is announced she discovers a sudden urge to immerse herself in literature and serve the country as an ARP warden.

 A beautiful book novel that describes how books bring joy in the darkest times of the history.

“Reading is…” His brows knit together and then his forehead smoothed as the right words appeared to dawn on him. “It’s going somewhere without ever taking a train or ship, an unveiling of new, incredible worlds. It’s living a life you weren’t born into and a chance to see everything coloured by someone else’s perspective. It’s learning without having to face consequences of failures, and how best to succeed.” He hesitated. “I think within all of us, there is a void, a gap waiting to be filled by something. For me, that something is books and all their proffered experiences.”

The Paris Dressmaker by Kristy Cambron

This beautifully written historical fiction takes you to 1930s and 40s Paris, to the defiance of Parisian women towards the Nazi occupation in World War II. Lila is a dressmaker for Coco Chanel but once the Germans soldiers take over the city, she joins the La Resistance. While in 1943, Sandrine Paquet is a wife and mother, but once her husband goes to fight in the war, she is forced to work for the Nazi. Later on, she helps the underground French resistance. 

A well researched-story of brave women and their resistance to Nazis. 

“Maybe that’s the point. Beauty changes as we change, doesn’t it? The things we thought we were supposed to do and be once upon a time, they evolve as we do.”

Yellow Wife by Sadeqa Johnson

Yellow Wife is an African-American historical fiction inspired by Mary Lumpkin and Lumpkin’s jail in Richmond, Virginia. Pheby Delores Brown is born as a daughter of a plantation owner. Although her father had promised to free her once she was eighteen, that day never comes. Instead, she ends up in the infamous Devil’s Half Acre Jail, as a mistress of a brutal man, Rubin Lapier.

A fast-paced novel that will take you back to the heart-wrenching lives of slaves. 

“Who could whip a woman until she lost her child? Only a monster.”

After Francesco by Brian Malloy 

Brian Malloy’s new novel is set in the 1980s, during the peak of the AIDS epidemic in New York and Minneapolis. After losing his partner for AIDS, twenty-eight-year-old Kevin Doyle is still living in the memory of Frankie. As everyone around him advises to move on, Kevin simply can’t ignore his good times with Frankie.

An emotional tale filled with wit and compassion. 

I love the feel of the bar, the pressure of the weights on each end. It makes me feel like I’m Atlas, able to hold the world in place, preventing disaster for just one more day.

The Bohemians by Jasmin Darznik

The Bohemians is a  biographical historical fiction that takes you through the life of photographer Dorothea Lange, from 1918 to 1920 in San Francisco. When Dorothea Lange arrives in San Francisco to start a new life, she arrives with her camera and a great appetite for success. When she struggles to find existence in the new city, she meets Caroline and many others who change her life forever.

A powerful story that depicts a young woman’s transformation in the backdrop of an iconic era.  

“Live every day as if you might be struck blind–that was the rule I made for myself now. In those first few days after the quarantine was lifted, we went around marvelling at the smallest things, as if the Spanish flu had rendered us all blind & we’d suddenly gained our sight again. Every detail seemed suddenly as sharp as if seen for the first time. Life returned to SF, and it had never been more precious.”

Best new historical fiction 2021

The Social Graces by Renée Rosen

The USA Today Bestseller is a witty and delightful portal of the lives of Manhattan’s high society during the Gilded Age. The story follows two women, Caroline Astor and Alva Vanderbilt. When the most celebrated hostess meets the newlywed Alva, there is an unstoppable rivalry. 

The Social Graces is an engrossing novel that discusses the majestic lives of women.  

Tomorrow and the next day, and the day after that, we’ll be right back here, in this very spot. All will be the same, save for our finery.

The Last Green Valley by Mark T. Sullivan 

From the New York Times, the bestselling author returns with an astounding WWII historical fiction that follows the Martel family of German Heritage in Ukraine. They decide to leave Ukraine and find a better life in the West.  But the journey is much more dangerous and horrifying than they expected. 

A gripping tale of resilience, courage and love. 

“Try to be grateful for every setback or tragedy, because by living through them, you become stronger.”

When Stars Rain Down by Angela Jackson-Brown

This timely read is a coming-of-age story set in 1936, Georgia. Young Opal and her Granny work for Miss Peggy and live a peaceful life in the village, known as “Colored Town”. But when the Ku Klux Klan arrives in the town, tragedy strikes and the families are torn apart.

A powerful read that discusses the series themes of racism, KKK and relationships. 

Every girl is looking for husband, honey. Some just look harder than others.

The Paris Library by Janet Skeslien Charles

This New York Times bestseller is a captivating read for bookworms. The book follows two women from two different timelines. The first timeline is set In 1939 and follows Odile Souchet, a librarian at American Library in Paris. During the Nazi occupation of Paris, she joins the resistance with other librarians. The second timeline is set in 1989 and follows Lily, a high school student.

A meticulously researched novel with a good  balance of history and fiction. 

“Books and ideas are like blood; they need to circulate, and they keep us alive.”

The Warsaw Orphan by Kelly Rimmer 

Inspired by the true events in 1940s Warsaw Ghetto, Poland. The young Elżbieta Rabinek is well aware of the German brutalities. However, when she befriends Sara, the nurse, she finds out dangerous secrets. And eventually sets out to be involved in it.

A gripping novel of persistence, suffering and anguish. 

“There are many ways to fight, but striving for justice is always worth the battle.”

Band of Sisters by Lauren Willig 

Band of Sisters is a fascinating tale of a group of women from Smith College who set forth to France in order to help the French civilians. Once graduated from Smith, Kate is working hard to earn a living.  She was too busy to even write frequently to her best friend from college, Emmeline.  But when Emme begged her to join the Smith Relief Unit, she reluctantly agreed to sail to France along with other eighteen women. However, the war in Paris was nothing like they ever imagined. An inspiring tale of courage and bravery.

A captivating novel based on a true story. 

“True friendship isn’t abstaining from hurting one another, but forgiving each other when you do.”

Eternal by Lisa Scottoline

This heartbreaking love story is set in Rome during World War II, follows three friends: Elisabetta, Marco, and Sandro and the love triangle among them. But soon the three of them face the horrific Nazis. When Anti Semitism and World War II proceed to Italy, their life is about to change forever. 

A powerful story of love, loss and loyalty. 

“War was eternal, but so was peace. Death was eternal, but so was life. Darkness was eternal, but so was light. Hate was eternal, but above all, so was love.”

The Venice Sketchbook by Rhys Bowen

Set in dual timelines the story follows English and Italian families. When Caroline Grant receives a letter from her great aunt, she is devastated not just because of her ailing aunt but also her broken marriage. However, soon she travels to Venice to chase the mystery bequest. 

An enchanting novel with elements of romance and secrets. 

Your messages will be sent in code. For example, if you see two destroyers, you might say, “Granny is not feeling well today”.

Our Woman in Moscow by Beatriz Williams 

The New York Times bestselling author of “Her Last Flight” comes with another engrossing novel of courage and adventure. Set in the background of the cold war, the book follows twin sisters; Iris and Ruth. One day Ruth receives a postcard from her sister Iris who had disappeared four years ago. Later, she heads to the Soviet Union to extract her sister and family.

An intriguing novel that involves a mysterious espionage plot .

The second rule is even more important: trust nobody. Trust nothing.

The Last Night in London- Karen White

The Last Night In London is a compelling story set spanning over decades from 1939 to 2019. The story follows two best friends and ambitious models, Eva Harlow and Precious Dubose. Soon Eva gets married to the Royal Air Force pilot. But once Blitz hits London, her life changes forever. In 2019 American journalist Maddie Warner gets a unique opportunity to interview 90-year-old Precious Dubose. She is curious to know more about pre-WWII London and Dubose’s life as a model.

A  thrilling novel with mystery, fashion and family.

Although I suppose it’s about time. Everybody tells me I’m dying, so I figure, I’d better pay attention and tell my story to someone before it’s too late. Maybe I’ve just been waiting for the right person to tell it to.

That’s the list of 20 New Historical Novels releases in 2021.

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Time for your action

Have you read these already? Tell me what are some of your favourites from new releases.

Always curious to hear from you,


More Books to Read in 2021

Stephy George
Stephy George

Hi I am Stephy ! I became a bookworm in my late twenties. So I created this little corner of books online to share my love of reading with YOU! I want to help you find the best books to read so you won’t ever have to worry about your next read!

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