Some books never go out of style. They are read and re-read. Historical novels about people and places of the past, reveal the vibrant personalities and thrilling events that created our modern world. Novels make history accessible to everyone, sometimes even to people who would never normally show any interest in it.
Over the course of 15 years as a book seller customers requested these more than any others, to read, re-read and given to friends.
History in Fiction – Well-loved Books
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett – recently re-released and made into a tv movie, this book has been constantly on request at libraries and bookstores since it was first published in 1989. It’s a gripping story about the generations-long building of a great Cathedral in the Middle Ages, and the people who built it.
Sacajawea by Anna Lee Waldo tells the story of the Indian girl who led explorers Lewis and Clark on their journey through wild, unmapped territories to the Pacific Ocean. Excellent for history buffs, and frequently read over and over until it wears out, it has inspired thousands to follow the trail they forged.
Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd tells the fascinating history of a family and a village in England from prehistory to modern times. Another book perpetually in print.
The Source by James Michener follows an archeological dig in the Holy Lands – each level reached reveals a piece of history, and tells a story that gives context to each level, and to the turbulent history of the region.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, has reached cult status. The romantic story of a WWII-era nurse who travels back to the time of the Highland Clearances, this book and its sequels have never lost their popularity with romance lovers.
River God by Wilbur Smith gave Smith a whole new readership. This is a total departure from his South Africa novels. Set in ancient Egypt, it thrills readers male and female of all ages with an authentic setting that makes the mystery come alive. A sequel set in modern times followed.
Most of these books are very long (Sacajawea is 1474 pages) and will keep the reader enthralled for days. Many of these authors have multiple, well-researched books to entice history buffs of all types and periods. The best part is that they are available new and second-hand, making purchasing well-within any budget.