If you’re a fan of historical fiction, then you know that it takes a special kind of author to bring the past to life in a compelling way. But the best historical fiction authors transport you completely, creating unforgettable works that transport readers to a different time and place. Whether you’re new to the genre or just looking for your next great historical fiction read, this article is for you! This list of auto-buy historical fiction authors celebrates all the drama, complexity, and excitement of the past. Get ready for a journey through centuries of history that will leave you wanting more!
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Hannah’s work is POWERFUL. She always packs a big punch in the gut, leaving readers (myself included) sobbing into the pages by the end of the book. Her most famous books, The Great Alone, The Four Winds, and The Nightingale, are Bookstagram favorites, and for a good reason. She has a talent for creating characters that tug at every heartstrings. If you’re looking for a heart-wrenching read, Kristin Hannah should be on your radar.
Taylor Jenkins Reid
There are some out there who will argue that Taylor Jenkins Reid (also known as TRJ) doesn’t belong on this list. Some of her books (Malibu Rising and Carrie Soto is Back for example) are set in decades past, but are they old enough to be considered historical fiction? My vote is yes! Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones weren’t based on historical events, but it’s fair to say they are based on definitive eras in history (therefore, historical fiction, my friends). To me, her books stand out because of the way she portrays modern feminism. Her characters are strong, emotionally complex, and unafraid. Reid does a wonderful job portraying the power struggles women experienced both in history and currently, layering her plots with societal expectations.
Kate Quinn is the QUEEN of WWII fiction in my mind. She has mastered the subgenre and deserves all the hype she gets. It’s hard to say exactly what it is about Quinn’s books, but I’ll venture to say it’s her no-holds-bar characters. What’s amazing is that she applies her working formula to different periods within WWII, spotlighting a factual event or person in a way that’s exciting and inviting. I’ve dedicated much of this blog to Mrs. Quinn, so be sure to deep dive into my archives for more on her extraordinary work!
No one (and I mean no one) can write a book quite like Diana Gabaldon. Her Outlander series is the perfect blend of action-packed historical fiction and salacious romance. I will never forget wanting to hug the woman who told me to read Outlander. She changed my life in many ways. Her name was Mom. 🙂 But seriously, don’t be intimidated by the size of the novels. You’ll want to take your time with this story anyway. Jamie and Claire deserve your attention!
Hint: these are wonderful audiobooks! Narrated by Davina Porter, the Outlander series makes for a wonderful escape from the everyday commute, washing dishes, or just about anything!
Other Great Historical Fiction Authors
Though I’ve only read one of her books, I would be remiss not to include Noelle Salazar on this list. Her sophomore novel, Angels of the Resistance was my favorite read in 2022, and I’ve not shut up about it since finishing the last page. It truly is one of the best books I’ve ever read, and I cannot wait to see what else Salazar has up her sleeve!
One of the most prolific authors on this list, Beatriz Williams has a knack for dramatic historical fiction. Her characters are flawed but endearing, and their lives are usually full of twists, turns, and trysts that keep readers hooked from the first pages. I’ve fallen hard for her storytelling style, and I’m sure you will, too!
Another prolific historical fiction author, Fiona Davis’s novels often center around New York and are painstakingly researched. Her novels often have an air of mystery that adds to the suspense and tension she creates between her characters. Get lost in the lush descriptions Davis is known for, like those in The Magnolia Palace!
After just one book I knew Adriana Trigiani would be on my list of the best historical fiction authors. Bold statement, I know! But her masterful web weaving in The Good Left Undone hasn’t left me since finishing the book more than a year ago.
Sumptuous and full of emotion, Kristin Harmel’s books are simply a treat. Her novels have a way of sweeping up the reader, and before you know it you’re on the last page. Often strong and resilient, Harmel’s leading ladies are up there with Quinn’s strong-as-steel female protagonists.
Want more great Historical Fiction?
I’ve got tons of great historical fiction recommendations here on the blog, and even more on Bookstagram and BookTok. Be sure to check out my blog archives and subscribe for email updates about hot new historical fiction releases!