15 Best Historical Fiction Book Club Books You’ll Read This Year

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If you’re on the lookout for some best historical fiction book club recommendations, you’ve come to the right place.

I’ve compiled a list of top historical novels that are going to  to spark lively discussions in your book group. These popular historical fiction books are not only must-reads for book clubs but also perfect for analysing  during group reading sessions. From gripping wartime fiction to poignant narratives of social change, these must-read historical fiction novel selections offer plenty to explore and discuss.

I really hope these historical fiction book club picks can lead into some  thought-provoking conversations at your next meeting.

15 Best Historical Fictions For Your Book Club

The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese

The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese is a historical fiction book club book

The first book in the list is Abraham Verghese’s period drama The Covenant of Water. Spanning the years 1900 to 1977, the novel is set in Kerala and tells the story of a malayali family.

 It follows three generations of a family where a peculiar affliction plagues them – in every generation, at least one person dies by drowning .The storytelling in this book is just incredible. It takes you on a journey through the life of this girl who later becomes Big Ammachi, the matriarch. You’ll experience her life with all its ups and downs, but her faith and love never waver.

I definitely think it’s one of the best historical fiction books of the last 10 years. In fact I am sure it’s one of the best 2023 historical fiction book club.

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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid is a good historical fiction book club book

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid is one of those books that just grabs you from the start. It’s all about Evelyn Hugo, this iconic Hollywood actress who’s been hiding her secrets for years. When she decides to spill the beans, she picks Monique Grant, a somewhat down-and-out magazine reporter, to write her biography. I think this is the kind of historical fiction that every book club would love to read. This book has all these layers of secrets and drama that will keep you hooked. It’s a wild ride from the ’50s to the ’80s. From Seven husbands,  drama secret to mystery there is so much to discuss. Also Book club Questions For The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

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The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah is one of the best historical fiction book for reading group

Next we have The Great Alone by one of the best historical fiction authors. I am a huge fan of Kristin Hannah’s novel that often focuses on survival and love in the face of nature’s challenges. 

The Great Alone is a gripping adventure set in 1970s Alaska. It’s also semi-autobiographical, which really moved me to tears for hours The novel follows The Allbright family’s journey to Alaska. Their new life is filled with tension and resilience. It’s mainly seen through the eyes of 13-year-old Leni, caught between her parents’ tumultuous relationship.

As the family faces the harsh Alaskan winter, the real dangers come from within their cabin. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions, portraying both human strength and fragility against the unforgiving wilderness. Another great historical fiction that gives you so much to talk about with your reading group.  I really loved the setting of Alaska and the heartwarming moments throughout the book. 

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Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

Lessons in Chemistry  by Bonnie Garmus is one of the best historical fiction books last 10 years

Lessons in Chemistry  is undoubtedly the best historical fiction book of all time. I really enjoyed reading this fabulous book. The captivating story transports you to the early 1960s and introduces you to Elizabeth Zott, a remarkable chemist who defies the norms of her time. She navigates a male-dominated world at Hastings Research Institute, where gender equality is far from a priority.

There are so many reasons why Lessons in Chemistry would be a great history fiction book for book club. It’s not only filled with humor but also offers keen insights, and its diverse cast of characters brings the story to life. It’s another great book with a strong  protagonist. Also read discussion questions Lessons in Chemistry

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Tom Lake by Ann Patchett

Tom Lake by Ann Patchett is a great historical fiction for book club in 2024

Tom Lake is set in the spring of 2020 where Lara’s daughters persuade her to recount her past romance with actor Peter Duke at Tom Lake theater company.

I have to say it’s not a typical historical fiction novel. As it intertwines past and present beautifully, with Lara reminiscing about her theater days and her daughters reflecting on their lives in the spring of 2020. The book also touches on the social backdrop of its time, providing a glimpse into the theater world and the dynamics of relationships during that era. So the book has so many elements that make it an ideal pick for lively discussions in any book club. Check out discussion questions and snack ideas for Tom Lake

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Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah is must-read historical fiction book club

As I mentioned earlier, Kristin Hannah is one of my favorite writers, so I had to include another one of her historical fiction novels to this book club suggestions. Winter Garden follows Meredith and Nina Whitson, two sisters who couldn’t be more different. Meredith stayed home to take care of the family’s apple orchard and raise her children, while Nina pursued her dreams as a globetrotting photojournalist.

But when their father becomes seriously ill, they reunite alongside their cold and unsupportive mother, Anya. The only thing that connected them as kids was a Russian fairy tale that Anya used to tell them. On his deathbed, their father extracts a promise that the fairy tale will be told one last time, revealing a hidden side of their mother’s life in war-torn Leningrad.

The story unfolds in two timelines, bouncing between the past and present. As Meredith and Nina hear the shocking truth about their mother’s past, it shakes the very foundation of their family and challenges their own identities. Winter Garden is an emotional family drama with  an historical mystery. It’s a powerful, heartrending and utterly beautiful book.

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The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel

The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel is a great book club suggestion historical fiction

If your discussion group loves more historical fiction set in World War II The Book of Lost Names is another good book.

The story follows Eva Traube Abrams, a semi-retired librarian in Florida, who stumbles upon a photograph of a book she hasn’t seen in 65 years—the titular “Book of Lost Names.” This book is connected to Eva’s past when she was a graduate student forced to flee Paris. She, along with a mysterious forger named Rémy, forged identity documents for Jewish children escaping to Switzerland, recording their real names in the book. If your book club members  have enjoyed stories like The Lost Girls of Paris and The Alice Network, they’ll likely appreciate The Book of Lost Names for its themes of resilience and the human spirit in the face of adversity. 

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The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman

The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman is best historical fiction books based on true story

The Home for Unwanted Girls is set in 1950s Quebec and follows Maggie Hughes, a young unwed mother, and her daughter Elodie. Life takes a tough turn when Maggie is forced to give up her baby for adoption. The historical backdrop of Quebec, with all its complexities between the French and English-speaking folks, adds this fresh layer to the story.

The Home for Unwanted Girls was also really emotional book for me. What really got me was how Elodie ends up in the orphanage system, dealing with all the challenges brought on by a new law. You can practically feel the struggles Maggie and Elodie go through jumping off the pages. I believe there is so much serious discussion material for a book club such as love, secrets, and how far you’ll go to reunite with your loved ones. 

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The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn is a perfect historical fiction for reading club

The Alice Network chronicles the stories of two women, Eve and Charlie, from different time periods and backgrounds. In 1915, Eve Gardiner becomes a spy in occupied France during World War I, trained by the enigmatic Lili, code-named Alice. Their mission is to run a secret network of agents behind enemy lines. Fast forward to 1947, and we meet Charlie St. Clair, an American college girl who embarks on a quest to find her cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during World War II. This is also another great book club recommendation for a history fiction novel with a strong female lead. 

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A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum

A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum is a good historical fiction book club read

A Woman Is No Man is a powerful and thought-provoking novel that delves into the lives of a conservative Arab family living in America. The story follows two generations of women, Deya and her mother Isra, and explores the complexities of their lives within their community. If your book club enjoys stories that show what life’s like in different cultures and how tough it can be for women in traditional communities, A Woman Is No Manis a great pick. It dives deep into these topics and gives you lots to talk about with your book club buddies. You’ll discuss identity, tradition, and more – trust me, it’ll lead to some really interesting conversations among your club members.

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The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi

The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi is good book club read if you love historical fiction

The Henna Artist is another fanatic book club choice if you love historical fiction with a strong female protagonist. It was also one of Reese’s book club pickI have read and enjoyed the whole The Jaipur book series and I can’t recommend this enough. It all starts with 17-year old Lakshmi who makes her way to the vibrant 1950s Jaipur after escaping from her abusive marriage. Shortly after she becomes the most highly requested henna artist. The characters of The Henna Artist are absolutely wonderful and well-developed. It’s one of the best immersive books that transported me to another time and place. The way Alka Joshi weaves together themes of tradition, modernity, and women’s empowerment is absolutely wonderful.  

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Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau

Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau is a good book club pick

I absolutely adored Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau. It’s one of my favorite historical fiction audiobooks. The book perfectly captures the essence of the 1970s. The music, culture, and changing societal norms, is just fantastic. The story mainly follows bookish teenager Mary Jane whose life changes drastically after taking up a summer job. Honestly, listening to this audiobook felt like a journey back in time, even though I wasn’t even born in the ’70s myself. I really enjoyed it, and I believe your book club friends will like it too.

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Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly is a charming historical fiction book club book

Martha Hall Kelly’s Lilac Girls is a powerful and captivating novel that is  inspired by the true story of Caroline Ferriday, a New York socialite.

Caroline’s life takes a dramatic turn when Hitler’s army invades Poland in 1939. She’s not just dealing with her duties at the French consulate; there’s also a new love interest in the mix. Meanwhile, on the other side of the ocean, we have Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager who gets involved in the underground resistance. The tension in her life is palpable, with danger lurking around every corner. So why this is a good book club suggestion you ask, well there absolutely so many reasons to read this book with your group.

First of all, an unforgettable story of unsung heroines. It really focuses on the resilience of women during wartime. Plus , it’s set against the backdrop of World War II.

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The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner is a must- read book club book

If you love a compelling historical fiction book set in England, The Lost Apothecary is another good book. It weaves together two parallel stories, transporting readers to 1791 London, where Nella secretly dispenses poisons to women seeking liberation, and to present-day London, where Caroline, an aspiring historian, stumbles upon a connection to the unsolved apothecary murders of the past.

The intricate storytelling and complex characters offer ample discussion material for your book club meetings. You can explore the themes of secrets, betrayal, and the enduring impact of history on the present. The way the narratives collide in a stunning twist of fate keeps you guessing until the very end.

So, if your book club is on the lookout for a gripping historical fiction novel that will keep everyone engaged and excited, this is a great book. Read book club questions for The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner.

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The Winemaker’s Wife by Kristin Harmel

The Winemaker's Wife  by Kristin Harmel is a book club suggestion for historical fiction lovers

The Winemaker’s Wife is another incredible book that I absolutely loved. The book is set in Champagne, France, during World War II and in New York in 2019.

In the 1940s, you follow  Inès, who’s just married the owner of a champagne house when the Germans invade. Her husband gets involved with the Resistance, and things get intense as secrets and danger start swirling around.

Then, in 2019, Liv Kent, who’s going through a tough time, ends up in France with her quirky grandmother. There’s a mysterious family history to uncover. There are so many  intriguing discussion points in the book. I think your reading group would love to talk about family secrets and the connection between past and present.

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Best Historical Fiction Book Club Books FREE PDF

Download the list of 15 books to discuss in your book club

Conclusion:

There you have the some awesome book club suggestions for historical fiction lovers.

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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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