8 Diverse Historical Fiction Novels

Empty Vows by Mary Monroe

Secrets and lies are bound to catch up to the teller in this scandalous follow-up to the Depression-era tale Mrs. Wiggins, when a woman schemes to make it to the altar as the second wife of Hubert Wiggins after the tragic death of his first wife and son. But when marriage doesn’t prove as satisfying as she hoped it would the new Mrs. Wiggins sets her sights on a new man…

After Francesco by Brian Malloy

Set in the midst of the AIDS crisis this story follows Kevin Doyle, the man left behind, who is sick and tired of attending funerals, especially the one for his beloved Francesco. Kevin is getting by but he isn’t living. Realizing he needs to make a change and buoyed by family and a surviving partners support group, Kevin attempts to move on with his life until a betrayal, and the news of his friend fighting for his life, will force him to make a defining choice.

A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby by Vanessa Riley

After her husband’s mysterious suicide and her own false imprisonment, Patience Jordan, a West Indian heiress in Regency England risks everything to return to her son. If only his new guardian, the Duke of Repington, weren’t quite so attentive. As the two grow closer they’ll learn they have even more in common than love for her son and a determination to find out the truth behind her late husband’s death…

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

A complex and moving story of family and love, this tale begins in Korea in the early 1900s when a woman becomes pregnant and learns her lover will not marry her. After being proposed to by a different man she accepts and makes her way to Japan with him, leaving her family behind. This epic follows her family’s journey through generations in Japan and their place in this new world.

An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole

Elle burns, a freed former slav,e risks it all traveling to the deep South in the midst of the Civil War to spy for the Union Army. Working with a fellow spy, a detective for Pinkerton’s Secret Service, they learn of a plot that could mean victory for the South. Together they must terminate this plan, even if it means losing each other!

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Tracing a family’s journey from the 1950s through the 1990s this novel tells the tale of two twin sisters growing up together in a tightknit black community in the South. They separate when one sister begins to pass for white and moves out to California. The sisters lives will continue to come together and separate in surprising ways over the decades.

Wild Women and the Blues by Denny S. Bryce

Told in the parallel timelines of 2015 and 1925, this stunning historical follows the progress of an ambitious chorus girl in jazz age Chicago, and a film student in contemporary Chicago who sees this ex-chorus girl as his link to the past, but in his research he may find more than he was expecting…

The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi

Running away from an abusive marriage in the 1950s, Lakshmi becomes one of the most sought-after henna artists in Jaipur. As she learns the hidden truths and scandals of the wealthy who employ her she knows she must keep her own secrets or risk endangering herself, until one day her husband finally tracks her down after years apart, and brings a surprise in tow…