For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, we share our ten favourite books in X-genre. I’m choosing historical fiction because a) I like it and b) there seems to be an assumption that historical fiction HAS TO BE historical romance.
P.S. CHOOSING ONLY TEN WAS REALLY HARD – and it ended up being more a list of recently read historical fiction favourites.
The Last Brother by Nathacha Appanah
Near the end of WWII, a boatload of Jewish refugees arrived on the island Mauritius after being denied entry to then-British Palestine. The Last Brother is the fictionalised account of a local boy befriending a Jewish boy his age, and their intersecting lives. It is a tangible historical tale.
Krik? Krak! by Edwidge Danticat
I know very little about the history of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and although this collection of short stories don’t exactly teach you about it, it is a heart-breaking gateway into their history, told by a talented story-teller.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I dislike including “obvious” entries, but the reason this one has to make it is this: it is a WWII tale set in Germany, but the protagonist is not Jewish. There is no doubt in my mind that little stories such as Liesel’s and Rudy’s played off all the time, but it is a side we rarely see.
In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner
Another history that is often neglected in history-teaching is Cambodia’s. Nothing in this book is made up, but a lot of it is fictionalised. It is tragic but beautifully told.
Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
A young adult then-and-now kind of plot interweaving the French Revolution, personal tragedy and music. I adored it.
We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo
This is so recent that I hesitate calling it historical fiction. I was a little girl in grade school when news of the suffering and atrocities in Zimbabwe reached us. It became part of our South African lives, as we urged our president to drop the quiet diplomacy shpiel (he didn’t, and neither did his successor) and as Zimbabwean refugees fled in droves to our borders. It is recent history, but it is history nonetheless – and one that is at risk of being overlooked.
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Another “obvious”, but female spies and fighter pilots in WWII? Give me more of that!
Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
To prevent spoiling anything: crystal clear representations of times gone by. Read it.
The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh
This is an EPIC, and well worth the read. Romance and wear across Singapore, Burma and India. I suggest keeping a scribble pad by your side while reading this.