25 Historical Fiction Novels to Read in 2023

A collage of the covers included in this article

Take a journey to the past—no time travel required! Whether you’re looking to fall for a 1950s reporter, take to the high seas with a legendary pirate, or read tales inspired by true stories, we’ve got a book for you. Below you’ll find 25 historical fiction novels—many of which you can request now on NetGalley. If you were approved for any of these books, you can read them directly in your NetGalley Shelf app. Don’t forget to leave a review!

A History of Burning by Janika Oza

Janika Oza’s debut begins in 1898 and follows a family through five generations as politics and economic struggles drive them to cross continents and oceans searching for a place to call home.

Hotel of Secrets by Diana Biller

One of the NetGalley team’s most-anticipated books of the year takes place in 19th-century Vienna, where Maria Wallner finds love and danger while restoring her family’s hotel.

The Golden Gate by Amy Chua

This historical thriller transports readers to California in 1944. Detective Al Sullivan’s murder investigation regarding a presidential candidate leads him to a cold case from a decade earlier.

The Witches at the End of the World by Chelsea Iversen

A Norwegian witch’s rage manifests in a curse in this novel set in the late 1600s. Minna’s desire for revenge on those who burned her mother boils over when her sister decides to give up magic.

Into the Bright Open by Cherie Dimaline

The YA Remixed Classics series invites authors to reimagine and subvert classic novels through a different cultural lens. The latest is a retelling of The Secret Garden from Indigenous author Cherie Dimaline.

Where Coyotes Howl by Sandra Dallas

Sandra Dallas explores the harsh realities and the quiet beauty of life out West in this novel about a rancher’s wife living in Wyoming in 1916 and the community of women she forms there.

An Island Princess Starts a Scandal by Adriana Herrera

Manuela plans to make her time in Paris at the 1889 Exposition Universelle one to remember, and she can think of no one better to spend it with than the intriguing Duchess of Sundridge.

Broadway Butterfly by Sara DiVello

Inspired by an unsolved murder from the 1920s, Broadway Butterfly follows New York crime reporter Julia Harpman as she investigates the mysterious death of flapper Dot King.

Vampires of El Norte by Isabel Cañas

Isabel Cañas had us hooked at “supernatural Western!” Childhood sweethearts torn apart by tragedy are reunited in 1840s Mexico when a looming war is interrupted by a vampiric attack.

By Any Other Name by Erin Cotter

In this queer Shakespearean YA novel, actor Will Hughes teams up with a handsome lord and becomes a spymaster for the queen after the murder of his mentor Christopher Marlowe.

The Phoenix Crown by Kate Quinn and Janie Chang

Beloved historical fiction authors Kate Quinn and Janie Chang worked together on a story set in 1906 San Francisco, where an antique is the key to helping two women change their fates.

Marry Me by Midnight by Felicia Grossman

Felicia Grossman’s 1832 London romance reimagines Cinderella. Isabelle throws a festival to find a Jewish suitor and along the way falls for Aaron, who she hired to investigate her matches.

A Disappearance in Fiji by Nilima Rao

This debut mystery set in 1914 explores colonialism through the eyes of an Indian police sergeant looking for professional redemption investigating a local disappearance in Fiji.

The Magician’s Daughter by H. G. Parry

Readers who enjoy historical fiction with a touch of magic will be enchanted by this tale of a woman raised on an island who must venture into 1900s England after her missing father.

Queen Bee by Amalie Howard

In this Regency YA novel, Ela disguises herself as an heiress to infiltrate the ton and get back at her backstabbing bestie, but a reunion with the marquess she loves threatens to derail her plans.

Glassworks by Olivia Wolfgang-Smith

Olivia Wolfgang-Smith’s debut takes readers from 1910 through 2015 in the exploration of four generations of a family and how they each grapple with identity, vocation, and their legacy.

Glory and the Master of Shadows by Grace Callaway

Revenge is the only thing on Wei Chen’s mind when he arrives in Victorian London. But when investigator Glory Cavendish asks to be tutored by him in the art of fighting, he can’t refuse.

The Traitor Beside Her by Mary Anna Evans

There’s a spy working at Arlington Hall, someone sabotaging their efforts in World War II and feeding secrets to the German army. Justine Byrne poses as a cryptanalyst to uncover the traitor.

He Who Drowned the World by Shelley Parker-Chan

The conclusion to Shelley Parker-Chan’s Radiant Emperor duology hits shelves this summer and brings readers back to an alternate China in the mid-1300s where Zhu battles for the throne.

Night of the Witch by Sara Raasch and Beth Revis

A witch hunter with a plan to take down those he works for and a witch realize that they’re stronger as allies than as enemies in this young adult fantasy set in medieval Germany.

River Sing Me Home by Eleanor Shearer

You may have spotted this on our most-anticipated reads of 2023 roundup! This debut follows Rachel in the aftermath of the Emancipation Act of 1834 on her search to find her children.

We Could Be So Good by Cat Sebastian

Cat Sebastian is helping us start the summer on a high with this 1950s romance about the son of a New York City newspaper mogul who falls for the local reporter who keeps saving his neck.

Harlem After Midnight by Louise Hare

Louise Hare’s Canary Club Mystery series continues with Lena Aldridge arriving in Harlem in 1936 only to quickly be caught up in a mystery surrounding the death of a singer at the Apollo.

Deep as the Sky, Red as the Sea by Rita Chang-Eppig

All aboard, mateys! Rita Chang-Eppig is taking readers on a high-seas journey to the 1800s where Shek Yeung, a legendary pirate queen, is fighting to command the South China Seas.

Buffalo Flats by Martine Leavitt

This young adult novel draws inspiration from Martine Leavitt’s family history to tell the story of a young girl traveling from Utah to the Northwest Territories of Canada during the late 1800s.

What’s the last historical fiction book you read?

Stuff Your Shelves

Kelly Gallucci

Kelly Gallucci is the Executive Editor of We Are Bookish, where she oversees the editorial content, offers book recommendations, and interviews authors and NetGalley members. When she's not working, Kelly can be found color coordinating her bookshelves, eating Chipotle, and watching way too many baking shows.

1 Comment
  1. I just finished The Last Russian Doll by Kristen Loesch and it was AMAZING! It’s got everything for whatever you like in your historical fiction. It was my BOTM pick for March. I suggest to everyone!

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