20 Best Historical Fiction Books of 2019

best historical fiction books 2019 books to read new release

2019 has been a great year for historical fiction, with a great range of books coming out about different facets of history. There were also a lot of very popular titles from well-known writers that explore the past, such as Summer of ’69 by Elin Hildebrand or City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert. I thought City of Girls was wonderfully atmospheric, but ran a bit long.

Plus, depending on your tastes, there’s more action-oriented titles like The Huntress or more serious titles like The Nickel Boys. I liked both those books, with The Huntress being my first Kate Quinn book and an author I’m definitely keen to revisit. Meanwhile, Nickel Boys was one of my favorite reads of 2019 so far.

All in all, there are a lot of great titles to choose from. This list has been compiled based on a mix of books I’ve read, reviews (on Amazon and Goodreads and blogs, etc.) from other readers, and recommendations from friends.

The Huntress
Kate Quinn | William Morrow Paperbacks

What It's About: From the author of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling novel, THE ALICE NETWORK, comes another fascinating historical novel about a battle-haunted English journalist and a Russian female bomber pilot who join forces to track the Huntress, a Nazi war criminal gone to ground in America.

In the aftermath of war, the hunter becomes the hunted…

Bold and fearless, Nina Markova always dreamed of flying...

See the Full Summary and Review of The Huntress

Publication Date: February 26, 2019

The Island of Sea Women
Lisa See | Scribner

What It's About: A new novel from Lisa See, the New York Times bestselling author of The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, about female friendship and family secrets on a small Korean island.

Mi-ja and Young-sook, two girls living on the Korean island of Jeju, are best friends that come from very different backgrounds...

Publication Date: March 5, 2019

Meet Me in Monaco
Hazel Gaynor | William Morrow Paperbacks

What It's About: Set in the 1950s against the backdrop of Grace Kelly’s whirlwind romance and glamourous wedding to Prince Rainier of Monaco, New York Times bestselling author Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb take the reader on an evocative sun-drenched journey along the Côte d’Azur in this page-turning novel of passion, fate, and second-chances...

Publication Date: July 23, 2019

City of Girls
Elizabeth Gilbert | Riverhead Books

What It's About: From the # 1 New York Times bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love and The Signature of All Things, a delicious novel of glamour, sex, and adventure, about a young woman discovering that you don't have to be a good girl to be a good person.

Life is both fleeting and dangerous, and there is no point in denying yourself pleasure, or being anything other than what you are...

See the Full Summary and Review of City of Girls

Publication Date: June 4, 2019

The Secrets We Kept
Lara Prescott | Knopf

What It's About: A thrilling tale of secretaries turned spies, of love and duty, and of sacrifice—inspired by the true story of the CIA plot to infiltrate the hearts and minds of Soviet Russia, not with propaganda, but with the greatest love story of the twentieth century: Doctor Zhivago.

At the height of the Cold War, two secretaries are pulled out of the typing pool at the CIA and given the assignment of a lifetime...

Publication Date: September 3, 2019

Daughter of Moloka'i (Moloka'i #2)
Alan Brennert | St. Martin's Press

What It's About: DAUGHTER OF MOLOKA′I is the highly anticipated sequel to Alan Brennert’s acclaimed book club favorite, and national bestseller, MOLOKA′I. It’s a companion tale that tells the story of Ruth, the daughter that Rachel Kalama—quarantined for most of her life at the isolated leprosy settlement of Kalaupapa—was forced to give up at birth...

Publication Date: February 19, 2019

American Princess
Stephanie Marie Thornton | Berkley

What It's About: A sweeping novel from renowned author Stephanie Marie Thornton...

Alice may be the president's daughter, but she's nobody's darling. As bold as her signature color Alice Blue, the gum-chewing, cigarette-smoking, poker-playing First Daughter discovers that the only way for a woman to stand out in Washington is to make waves--oceans of them...

Publication Date: March 12, 2019

What the Wind Knows
Amy Harmon | Lake Union Publishing

What It's About: An Amazon Charts and Washington Post bestseller.

In an unforgettable love story, a woman’s impossible journey through the ages could change everything…

Anne Gallagher grew up enchanted by her grandfather’s stories of Ireland. Heartbroken at his death, she travels to his childhood home to spread his ashes...

Publication Date: March 1, 2019

The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna
Juliet Grames | Ecco

What It's About: For Stella Fortuna, death has always been a part of life. Stella’s childhood is full of strange, life-threatening incidents—moments where ordinary situations like cooking eggplant or feeding the pigs inexplicably take lethal turns. Even Stella’s own mother is convinced that her daughter is cursed or haunted...

Publication Date: May 7, 2019

Park Avenue Summer
Renée Rosen | Berkley

What It's About: Mad Men meets The Devil Wears Prada as Renée Rosen draws readers into the glamour of 1965 New York City and Cosmopolitan Magazine, where a brazen new Editor-in-Chief--Helen Gurley Brown--shocks America by daring to talk to women about all things off limits...

New York City is filled with opportunities for single girls like Alice Weiss who leaves her small Midwestern town to chase her big city dreams and unexpectedly lands the job of a lifetime working for Helen Gurley Brown, the first female Editor-in-Chief of a then failing Cosmopolitan Magazine...

Publication Date: April 30, 2019

The Nickel Boys
Colson Whitehead | Doubleday

What It's About: In this bravura follow-up to the Pulitzer Prize, and National Book Award-winning #1 New York Times bestseller The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead brilliantly dramatizes another strand of American history through the story of two boys sentenced to a hellish reform school in Jim Crow-era Florida...

See the Full Summary and Review of The Nickel Boys

Publication Date: July 16, 2019

Téa Obreht | Random House

What It's About: In the lawless, drought-ridden lands of the Arizona Territory in 1893, two extraordinary lives unfold. Nora is an unflinching frontierswoman awaiting the return of the men in her life--her husband, who has gone in search of water for the parched household, and her elder sons, who have vanished after an explosive argument...

Publication Date: August 13, 2019

When We Left Cuba
Chanel Cleeton | Berkley

What It's About: In 1960s Florida, a young Cuban exile will risk her life—and heart—to take back her country in this exhilarating historical novel.

Beautiful. Daring. Deadly.

The Cuban Revolution took everything from sugar heiress Beatriz Perez—her family, her people, her country. Recruited by the CIA to infiltrate Fidel Castro's inner circle and pulled into the dangerous world of espionage, Beatriz is consumed by her quest for revenge and her desire to reclaim the life she lost...

Publication Date: April 9, 2019

Mrs. Everything
Jennifer Weiner | Atria Books

What It's About: From Jennifer Weiner, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Who Do You Love and In Her Shoes, comes a smart, thoughtful, and timely exploration of two sisters’ lives from the 1950s to the present as they struggle to find their places—and be true to themselves—in a rapidly evolving world. Mrs...

Publication Date: June 11, 2019

The Giver of Stars
Jojo Moyes | Pamela Dorman Books

What It's About: Set in Depression-era America, a breathtaking story of five extraordinary women and their remarkable journey through the mountains of Kentucky and beyond, from the author of Me Before You and The Peacock Emporium . Alice Wright marries handsome American Bennett Van Cleve hoping to escape her stifling life in England...

Publication Date: October 8, 2019

Summer of '69
Elin Hilderbrand

What It's About: Follow New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand back in time and join a Nantucket family as they experience the drama, intrigue, and upheaval of a 1960s summer.

Welcome to the most tumultuous summer of the twentieth century! It's 1969, and for the Levin family, the times they are a-changing...

Publication Date: January 1, 1970

Lost Roses
Martha Hall Kelly | Ballantine Books

What It's About: The runaway bestseller Lilac Girls introduced the real-life heroine Caroline Ferriday. This sweeping new novel, set a generation earlier and also inspired by true events, features Caroline's mother, Eliza, and follows three equally indomitable women from St. Petersburg to Paris under the shadow of World War I...

Publication Date: April 9, 2019

The Stationery Shop
Marjan Kamali | Gallery Books

What It's About: A novel set in 1953 Tehran against the backdrop of the Iranian Coup about a young couple in love who are separated on the eve of their marriage, and who are reunited sixty years later, after having moved on to live independent lives in America, to discover the truth about what happened on that fateful day in the town square.

Publication Date: June 18, 2019

Finding Dorothy
Elizabeth Letts | Ballantine Books

What It's About: A richly imagined novel that tells the story behind The Wonderful Wizard of Oz , the book that inspired the iconic film, through the eyes of author L. Frank Baum's intrepid wife, Maud--from the family's hardscrabble days in South Dakota to the Hollywood film set where she first meets Judy Garland...

Publication Date: February 12, 2019

The Last Year of the War
Susan Meissner | Berkley

What It's About: Elise Sontag is a typical Iowa fourteen-year-old in 1943--aware of the war but distanced from its reach. Then her father, a legal U.S. resident for nearly two decades, is suddenly arrested on suspicion of being a Nazi sympathizer. The family is sent to an internment camp in Texas, where, behind the armed guards and barbed wire, Elise feels stripped of everything beloved and familiar, including her own identity...

Publication Date: March 19, 2019

The Golden Hour
Beatriz Williams | William Morrow

What It's About: The New York Times bestselling author of The Summer Wives and A Certain Age creates a dazzling epic of World War II-era Nassau—a hotbed of spies, traitors, and the most infamous couple of the age, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

The Bahamas, 1941. Newly-widowed Leonora “Lulu” Randolph arrives in Nassau to investigate the Governor and his wife for a New York society magazine...

Publication Date: July 9, 2019

Resistance Women
Jennifer Chiaverini | William Morrow

What It's About: From the New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, an enthralling historical saga that recreates the danger, romance, and sacrifice of an era and brings to life one courageous, passionate American—Mildred Fish Harnack—and her circle of women friends who waged a clandestine battle against Hitler in Nazi Berlin...

Publication Date: May 14, 2019

best historical fiction books 2019 books to read new release