Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week you compile a list of ten books which coincide with that week’s theme. You can find everything you need to know about joining in here!
This week’s theme is ‘Characters I’d Like To Switch Places With’, and while it is a really fun topic it’s not one that I could think of many answers for. Honestly, as much as I love the sound of an adventure, I’m far too much of a wuss to go through what some of my favourite fictional characters go through.
So as March is Women’s History Month – woohoo! – I thought I’d recommend ten books that fall into the historical fiction category that I think would be great reads this month!
All the Truth That’s in Me by Julie Berry: I will continue to yell about this book until I feel like enough people have read it. It’s set in 19th century America and follows a young woman who is trying to learn how to be a part of her community again when she returns home with her tongue cut out after having been abducted.
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers: Assassin nuns in late medieval Brittany. Do you need any other reason to read this book? I loved Dark Triumph, the second book, even more, but it’s best to start with Grave Mercy.
The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee: I loved this book! Not only is it historical fiction with aro/ace rep, but it has a science girl gang and a heroine who learns to overcome her own internalised misogyny.
Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley: This book is heart-breaking, but I loved it. Set in 1959 when the first black children began to attend previously all-white schools, it follows how despicably these children were treated and explores the life of one girl, Sarah, who, as well as struggling with racism must also struggle with the feelings she develops for another girl.
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland: Want to know how to make me interested in the American Civil War? Put zombies in it. (No offence to the American Civil War and its historians – I just don’t find military history particularly interesting!) This was one of the first books I read this year and I had so much fun with it.
Pirates! by Celia Rees: Celia Rees is the author I have to thank for getting me into historical fiction in the first place, and while I’ll always love Witch Child, Pirates! was the first novel of hers I read and I still remember so much about it despite reading it at least 15 years ago. If you don’t want to read a story about two girls who run away to become pirates, then I can’t help you.
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters: Imagine if Charles Dickens had been a queer woman who could actually write decent women. Can you imagine? Good, because that’s basically Sarah Waters. Fingersmith is her masterpiece and I can’t recommend it enough if you love a story full of twists and turns.
Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough: One of my favourite books of 2018, this novel in verse tells the story of one of my heroines from history, Artemisia Gentileschi. Artemisia was a 17th century painter who was sexually assaulted by another painter her father hired to tutor her and, remarkably for the time, she pressed charges against her rapist. This book was so beautifully written and it deserves more love.
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent: Kent’s debut gives a voice to the last woman to be executed in Iceland in 1830, Agnes Magnúsdóttir. The way she writes the Icelandic landscape is stunning. This book made me cry on a train.
Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks: Another fictional version of a true story, this time in Derbyshire. When the plague swept across England in the 17th century and reached the village of Eyam on some infected cloth from London, the villagers decided to close themselves off from the rest of the country so as not to spread the disease. Their village became their tomb, and those lucky enough to survive had to watch their family, friends and neighbours die around them. I really need to read some more of Brooks’ work, because what I read here, about one woman’s survival, was gorgeous.