Top Ten Tuesday | Stories that made me love historical fiction


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 a Valentine’s Day/love freebie, so today I thought I’d talk about the books, films and TV shows that first got me hooked on historical fiction! Being a history nerd I was always bound to love historical fiction, but there are certain stories that were so formative for me and even though I wouldn’t like some of them now, I still have a real nostalgic fondness for them.

The Mummy (1999)

I don’t care how cheesy this film is, it’s still one of my favourite films of all time and I never get bored of watching it. My love for it is second only to the Disney’s 1991 version of Beauty and the Beast. The Mummy is the very first time I encountered a nerd, who remains a nerd, at the centre of an action film and, to this day, Evie is one of my favourite heroines. Also her and Rick are my ultimate OTP, so I have a lot of love for this film.

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)

There are so many different versions of the Robin Hood story, but this one is my favourite and has been since my childhood. Yes, it can be a little cheesy in parts, but, for a film that came out in 1991, Marian feels like a fleshed out character with her own personality and Alan Rickman’s portrayal of the Sheriff of Nottingham is perfection. Is Kevin Costner far too American? Yes, and yet I don’t care. I bloody love this film.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

I’ve loved this film since I was 12-years-old and my big sister came to visit with a DVD for me about pirates that she thought I’d love. She was right. This film is still such a comfort watch for me, and it’s one of the few stories that does the childhood friends to lovers trope well.

Braveheart (1995)

Mel Gibson is trash and this film is so very historically inaccurate, but I’ve loved it since I was probably too young to be watching it. I prefer much more accurate historical fiction these days, but I still have this film to thank for my love of stories about rebellions and bittersweet love—and for teaching me about a figure from Scottish history I never would have learned about at school!

Titanic (1997)

This is another film I’ve seen so many times, and one I’ve watched since I was little, and even though I know the outcome I still hope things might be different every time I watch it. I cry every single time.

Henry VIII (2003)

This two-part TV drama is… trash. Looking back, very little is accurate—it shows Jane Seymour dying mere seconds after the birth of Edward VI and Catherine Parr being present at the death of Henry VIII, for example—but it has a special place in my heart for being the very first drama about Henry VIII and his wives that I ever saw. Ray Winstone can’t act, bless his heart, but he certainly looks the part.

The Prince of Egypt (1998)

This film is stunning. It has a gorgeous soundtrack and the animation is so earthy and beautiful and I’ve loved it since I first saw it when I was around seven-years-old. When the theatres in London reopen, I’m planning to go and see the musical!

Pirates! by Celia Rees

Celia Rees has a lot to answer for when it comes to my love for historical fiction. Her novels Witch Child and Sorceress inspired a lot of my own writing, but Pirates! was the very first novel by her that I read and I still love it a lot. I’d love to re-read it, but I’m scared I won’t love it as much as I did when I was 12.

Charles II: The Power and the Passion (2003)

2003 was clearly a year of influential TV historical dramas for me, because I can still remember being fascinated by this one and particularly on its focus on Charles’s wife and his many mistresses. Shirley Henderson did a brilliant job as Catherine of Braganza.

A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson

Eva Ibbotson wrote several historical novels that would now be classed as YA, and even though I read this one almost 15 years ago now I still remember so much of it so clearly and I had the best time reading it. If historical romance is something you want to explore but you’re not into reading sex scenes, I’d suggest giving Eva Ibbotson’s work a go. I still have a real soft spot for the couple in this book.

What did you talk about this week?

52 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday | Stories that made me love historical fiction

  1. dinipandareads says:

    Omgoodness, I think The Prince of Egypt is probably one of the most underrated animations ever! It’s SO beautiful. I was just listening to the soundtrack again yesterday (one of my favourites lol) and it made me want to rewatch the movie again asap! Also totally agree with you about The Mummy. Loved the cheese 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dedra @ A Book Wanderer says:

    So many great ones here! I love the first Pirates of the Caribbean, too. And Titanic! I’m always hoping for a different outcome, as well. 😉 And I love Eva Ibbotson’s historical romance! I’ve read all of them but one. I think I keep saving it because I know there won’t be any more. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rhosymedre (@Rhosymedre) says:

    OK, this post is so fantastic IDK where to start.

    1. I saw The Mummy Returns first, so that one is my ride-or-die favorite (not least because OTP-wise, I’m always gonna take the one where they’re in love the whole movie over the one where they have to get there), but I will definitely watch either one any time, anywhere. It comes on TV? Bam. We’re watching this, cancel your plans.

    2. Same story for POTC, especially the first in the trilogy, which admittedly outshines its sequels. Will/Elizabeth = 10,000 hearts.

    3. I love Celia Rees/Witch Child & Sorceress, too. And for what it’s worth, I read Pirates! for the first time at 21 and I loved it the exact same 5-stars amount rereading it 10 years later*, so you may be safe. (*In fact, I read it right after seeing the 3rd and 5th Pirates movies, respectively. I think it pairs nicely with them; it’s always tickled me that Nancy has a childhood friend named William as well. I still like to imagine it being the kind of book Young Elizabeth would have adored.)

    4. I watched Titanic recently for the first time in about 15 years — I was afraid it wouldn’t hold up to my memories, but if anything I love it even more now. Possibly because I’m old enough to, at last, be way less scandalized by the racy parts.

    5. This reminds me that I really need to read more Eva Ibbotson. I loved A Song For Summer but still haven’t gotten around to anything else.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jess @ Jessticulates says:

      Haha thank you! I love The Mummy Returns, too–it’s such a shamelessly fun sequel. The first one will always be my favourite, though. ❤ That's good to know about Pirates!, maybe I should give it a re-read at some point.

      I love Titanic, and it's not even the very end that makes me cry but the part where the Irish mother is putting her two children to bed because she couldn't get to a lifeboat. It gets me EVERY TIME.


  4. Lisa @ Bookshelf Fantasies says:

    What a great post! I love Titanic so much, despite the cheesiness of so many scenes. Still, it makes me cry every time! I have never seen Braveheart, which is a big gap in my movie knowledge… but Mel Gibson makes me cringe so hard that I’m not sure I could sit through it at this point.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jess @ Jessticulates says:

      Thanks Lisa! Yep, Titanic gets me every time. To be honest I’m not sure I’d recommend Braveheart nowadays anyway, despite how much of a nostalgic love I have for it. The historical inaccuracies aren’t minor, they’re pretty big! Wallace meets Isabella of France when she’s an adult, for example, but she was only around 9/10 years old when he died. She also has conversations with her father-in-law, Edward I, who died before she came to England. On top of that all the Scottish men are wearing kilts, even though the kilt first appeared in the 16th century, and there is no bridge present at the Battle of Stirling Bridge…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. iloveheartlandx says:

    I have a love/hate relationship with historical films/TV shows, on the one hand, I’m a big history nerd so obviously I enjoy watching period based stuff but at the same time, I can’t help picking out all of the inaccuracies! Historical fiction is usually a little better for me on that front as book writers seem to take less liberties than TV writers. The only one of these I’ve seen are Pirates of The Caribbean (such a fun film) and Titanic (WAY TOO LONG). I love period TV shows, like Call The Midwife, The Crown, Outlander and more recently the new All Creatures Great and Small remake on Channel 5. I also really love historical fiction, some of my favourites are The Book Thief, Between Shades of Gray, Code Name Verity, Cross My Heart, Enchantee, The Gilded Wolves and The Diviners series.
    My TTT:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jess @ Jessticulates says:

      Yeah I hate glaring historical errors–alas I saw Braveheart before I knew what was and wasn’t accurate–but I don’t mind overlooking minor errors for the sake of a story. I really enjoy Call the Midwife, too, and I keep meaning to try Outlander and The Crown!


      1. iloveheartlandx says:

        I’m definitely more lenient on small details, like if a costume isn’t 100% historically accurate, it doesn’t necessarily bug me that much, but if they get basic historical facts wrong, nah. Honestly my annoyance fully depends on how much I know about the time period, if I don’t know that much then inaccuracies won’t necessarily bother me. I’ve been watching The Great on Channel 4 and it’s SO BAD, but you can tell they’re not even trying to be accurate so it kind of works? Definitely recommend both, The Crown does take its dramatic license, but the acting and the production values are amazing and in terms of accuracy, it’s one of the better historical dramas. Outlander is also great!


  6. Catherine@basedonthebook says:

    Love this list! I was supposed to go and see Prince of Egypt last summer but the pandemic did for that 😦 The songs are so good!! The old Hollywood Robin Hood will always be my favourite though – Olivia de Havilland’s Marian is a strong character for the time, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. lydiaschoch says:

    Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was the first “grown up” movie I ever watched. I loved it and I love the historical fiction genre, too.

    Thanks for stopping by earlier.

    Liked by 1 person

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