Skip to Main Content (Press Enter) Toggle side nav
mobile banner image
The ReadDown

Essential Historical Fiction Books for Your Summer Reading List

Plan your sunny and book-filled summer reading! Pick up your next story to transport you to another era.

  1. 1
    Hour of the Witch Book Cover Picture
    Hour of the Witch Book Cover Picture

    Hour of the Witch

    by Chris Bohjalian

    A young Puritan woman—faithful, resourceful, but afraid of the demons that dog her soul—plots her escape from a violent marriage. A twisting, tightly plotted novel of historical suspense, Hour of the Witch is a timely and terrifying story of socially sanctioned brutality and the original American witch hunt.

    Hour of the Witch Book Cover Picture
    Hour of the Witch Book Cover Picture

    Hardcover
    $28.95

    Also available from:

  2. 2
    Utopia Avenue Book Cover Picture
    Utopia Avenue Book Cover Picture

    Utopia Avenue

    by David Mitchell

    Utopia Avenue is the strangest British band you’ve never heard of. David Mitchell’s kaleidoscopic novel tell the unexpurgated story of the band’s turbulent life and times; of fame’s Faustian pact and stardom’s wobbly ladder; of the families we choose and the ones we don’t; of voices in the head, and the truths and lies they whisper; of music, madness, and idealism. 

    Utopia Avenue Book Cover Picture
    Utopia Avenue Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $18.00

    Also available from:

  3. 3
    The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba Book Cover Picture
    The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba Book Cover Picture

    The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba

    by Chanel Cleeton

    At the end of the nineteenth century, three revolutionary women fight for freedom in this captivating new novel inspired by real-life events and the true story of a legendary Cuban woman—Evangelina Cisneros—who changed the course of history.

    The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba Book Cover Picture
    The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba Book Cover Picture

    Hardcover
    $27.00

    Also available from:

  4. 4
    Eternal Book Cover Picture
    Eternal Book Cover Picture

    Eternal

    by Lisa Scottoline

    Elisabetta, Marco, and Sandro grow up as the best of friends. But in the autumn of 1937, all of that begins to change as Mussolini aligns with Hitler’s Nazis, altering the very laws that govern Rome. Unfolding over decades, Eternal is a tale of loyalty and loss, family and food, love and war—all set in one of the world’s most beautiful cities at its darkest moment.

    Eternal Book Cover Picture
    Eternal Book Cover Picture

    Hardcover
    $28.00

    Also available from:

  5. 5
    The Women of Troy Book Cover Picture
    The Women of Troy Book Cover Picture

    The Women of Troy

    by Pat Barker

    Troy has fallen and the victorious Greeks are eager to return home with the spoils of an endless war—including the women of Troy themselves. Largely unnoticed by her captors, the one time Trojan queen Briseis forges alliances where she can, all the while shrewdly seeking her path to revenge.

    The Women of Troy Book Cover Picture
    The Women of Troy Book Cover Picture

    Hardcover
    $28.00

    Also available from:

  6. 6
    How Much of These Hills Is Gold Book Cover Picture
    How Much of These Hills Is Gold Book Cover Picture

    How Much of These Hills Is Gold

    by C Pam Zhang

    An electric debut novel set against the twilight of the American gold rush, two siblings are on the run in an unforgiving landscape—trying not just to survive but to find a home. Both epic and intimate, blending Chinese symbolism and reimagined history with fiercely original language and storytelling, How Much of These Hills Is Gold is a haunting adventure story and an unforgettable sibling story.

    How Much of These Hills Is Gold Book Cover Picture
    How Much of These Hills Is Gold Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $16.00

    Also available from:

  7. 7
    Hamnet Book Cover Picture
    Hamnet Book Cover Picture

    Hamnet

    by Maggie O’Farrell

    A luminous portrait of a marriage, a shattering evocation of a family ravaged by grief and loss, and a tender and unforgettable re-imagining of a boy whose life has been all but forgotten, and whose name was given to one of the most celebrated plays of all time, Hamnet is mesmerizing, seductive, impossible to put down—a magnificent leap forward from one of our most gifted novelists.

    Hamnet Book Cover Picture
    Hamnet Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $16.95

    Also available from:

  8. 8
    Sunflower Sisters Book Cover Picture
    Sunflower Sisters Book Cover Picture

    Sunflower Sisters

    by Martha Hall Kelly

    In Sunflower Sisters, Martha Hall Kelly tells the story of Ferriday’s ancestor Georgeanna Woolsey, a Union nurse during the Civil War whose calling leads her to cross paths with Jemma, a young enslaved girl who is sold off and conscripted into the army, and Anne-May Wilson, a Southern plantation mistress whose husband enlists.

    Sunflower Sisters Book Cover Picture
    Sunflower Sisters Book Cover Picture

    Hardcover
    $28.00

    Also available from:

  9. 9
    The Lions of Fifth Avenue Book Cover Picture
    The Lions of Fifth Avenue Book Cover Picture

    The Lions of Fifth Avenue

    by Fiona Davis

    In New York Times bestselling author Fiona Davis’s latest historical novel, a series of book thefts roils the iconic New York Public Library, leaving two generations of strong-willed women to pick up the pieces.

    The Lions of Fifth Avenue Book Cover Picture
    The Lions of Fifth Avenue Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $17.00

    Also available from:

  10. 10
    Great Circle Book Cover Picture
    Great Circle Book Cover Picture

    Great Circle

    by Maggie Shipstead

    An unforgettable story of a daredevil female aviator determined to chart her own course in life, at any cost—this book spans Prohibition-era Montana, the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, New Zealand, wartime London, and modern-day Los Angeles. Epic and emotional, meticulously researched and gloriously told, Great Circle is a monumental work of art.

    Great Circle Book Cover Picture
    Great Circle Book Cover Picture

    Hardcover
    $28.95

    Also available from:

  11. 11
    Code Name Hélène Book Cover Picture
    Code Name Hélène Book Cover Picture

    Code Name Hélène

    by Ariel Lawhon

    Based on the thrilling real-life story of socialite spy Nancy Wake, comes the newest feat of historical fiction featuring the astonishing woman who killed a Nazi with her bare hands and went on to become one of the most decorated women in WWII.

    Code Name Hélène Book Cover Picture
    Code Name Hélène Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $16.00

    Also available from:

  12. 12
    Fifty Words for Rain Book Cover Picture
    Fifty Words for Rain Book Cover Picture

    Fifty Words for Rain

    by Asha Lemmie

    The child of a married Japanese aristocrat and her African American GI lover, Nori is an outsider from birth. Her grandparents take her in, only to conceal her. But when Nori glimpses a world in which perhaps there is a place for her after all, she is ready to fight to be a part of it—a battle that might cost her everything. Spanning decades and continents, Fifty Words for Rain is a dazzling epic about the ties that bind, the ties that give you strength, and what it means to be free.

    Fifty Words for Rain Book Cover Picture
    Fifty Words for Rain Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $17.00

    Also available from:

  13. 13
    A Long Petal of the Sea Book Cover Picture
    A Long Petal of the Sea Book Cover Picture

    A Long Petal of the Sea

    by Isabel Allende

    This epic novel spanning decades and crossing continents follows two young people as they flee the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War in search of a place to call home. A masterful work of historical fiction about hope, exile, and belonging, A Long Petal of the Sea shows Isabel Allende at the height of her powers.

    A Long Petal of the Sea Book Cover Picture
    A Long Petal of the Sea Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $17.00

    Also available from:

  14. 14
    The Personal Librarian Book Cover Picture
    The Personal Librarian Book Cover Picture

    The Personal Librarian

    by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

    The remarkable story of J. P. Morgan’s personal librarian, Belle da Costa Greene, the Black American woman who was forced to hide her true identity and pass as white to leave a lasting legacy that enriched our nation.
    The Personal Librarian Book Cover Picture
    The Personal Librarian Book Cover Picture

    Hardcover
    $27.00

    Also available from:

Find other titles in

Related Lists:

Back to Top