2021 has seen some out of the box, wonderful historical fiction. There are known names like Taylor Jenkins Reid and Kristin Hannah, but also promising newcomers such as Melody Razak. Today, we have compiled a list of our favourite and best historical fiction books of 2021 So Far.
Best Historical Fiction Books of 2021 So Far:
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid
The newest historical fiction from the author of ‘The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo’ and ‘Daisy Jones and The Six’ is one of the most anticipated novels of the year. It is the portrait of three siblings who are the children of famous parents. Set in Malibu of the 1900s, the plot follows Nina’s annual party and the backdrop of the siblings against it. Nina herself is dealing with a troubled marriage, Jay is awaiting a lovelorn encounter at midnight and Kit has secrets pertaining to uninvited guests.
The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
Set in the Dust Bowl of Texas, when droughts ravaged the country and the economy took a backseat, this tale of resilience and strength follows Elsa Martinelli. She is faced with a choice – to say in her homeland and brave the drought or go westward to California in search of a better life. Reminiscent of Hannah’s other great historical fictions like ‘The Nightingale’, this one draws on feminine strength to paint a portrait of love, loss and indomitable spirit.
Fragile Monsters by Catherine Menon
This novel is told from the perspective of two women of two generations – Durga and her grandmother Mary. As the war rages on, the duo must face buried family secrets pertaining to it – the cost of war on the members of the family, what happened to Durga’s mother and more. This book is a study in the subjectiveness of truth and the role that perception plays in it.
Dangerous Women by Hope Adams
This novel takes place aboard the seafaring ship Rajah, sailing from Australia to England in 1840. The women on these ships are all petty criminals, harbouring deep secrets, who want to flee from justice. On their three month voyage, they form a peculiar and strong friendship. That is until a woman is brutally harmed by a murderess on the ship. Now each is called for questioning and a thrilling story follows.
Moth by Melody Razak
Set in Delhi during India’s partition, ‘Moth’ probes into the life of a Brahmin family reeling from the independence and partition. Surrounded by political turmoil and a fractured society, Ma and Bappu are liberals who teach at the university. Their daughters are starkly different – Alma is a to-be bride obsessed with shoes and Roop is a wild child obsessed with death. As the communal tension tears apart the city where diversity has always existed, the women of the story bear the silent burden together. Razak portrays this burden with stunning simplicity.
The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner
This novel follows a woman in the 1790s who sells poison to other women who have been wronged by men. This woman is Nella, and on her doorstep arrives twelve year old Eliza. The duo forms a beautiful bold, which sets into motion a series of events which threaten Nella’s livelihood. In present day, historian Catherine discovers an apothecary vial. This leads her into an investigation of the apothecary murders of the 18th century and a stunning drama ensues.
China by Edward Rutherfurd
The historical fiction novel is a holistic analysis of a country that has shaped the world and has an incredibly rich history. Rutherford takes China and delves into her very roots, exploring her depths over a range of time – from the Opium War, through the Mao period and up to today. There are characters whose romances and struggles we devour. At the same time. we look at whole countries and economies as they negotiate the tides of history. Tackling this microcosm and macrocosm with a fine balance, Rutherford’s China is definitely a book to watch out for.
A Thousand Ships by Natalie Hayners
This is a retelling of the Iliad, but it explores the cost of the Trojan War on its women. In fact, the story is the perspective of its women and the men take a backseat. It’s narrated by the Goddess of Epics, Calliope, and is a collection of stories within stories within stories. From the Amazonian princess who fought the legendary Achilles to Penelope who lay resilient in wait for Odysseus, this is a portrait of feminineness during a war.
The Rose Code by Kate Quinn
Set during the peak of the second world war, this book follows three British women join a British workforce that intercepts and deciphers German codes. Osla is a sought after woman with riches and beauty, Mab is a poor girl in search of a better life and Beth is a timid spinster. They all put their skills to use and become a translator, codebreaker machine worker and cryptanalyst respectively. As they brave challenges that threaten their country and their friendship, a delicious drama of historical fiction ensues.