On this site you will find lists of historical fiction by women and about women, as well as reviews of books I have read and enjoyed, and occasional author interviews. I include books that put women and girls front and center — not novels that feature one or two women in secondary roles. I emphasize classic and “literary” historical fiction written for adults, and steer away from historical romances or mysteries.
I’m especially interested in well-written historical fiction about underrepresented cultures and time periods. As you’ll see from the lists in the sidebar, many historical novels take place in the 1800’s and 1900’s in the United States, England, and France. China is also popular as a setting for historical fiction. I have found fewer novels by women and about women that take place in earlier time periods or in other parts of the world.
What is historical fiction?
The term “historical fiction” refers to fiction that takes place before the lifetime of the author, and/or at least 60 years before publication. While the story and characters are created by the author, they are underpinned by research about the people, events and lifestyle of a particular place and time period from the past. Historical fiction is, arguably, among the most ancient kinds of fiction. The epics of our first civilizations can be seen as historical fiction, as stories which captured the lives of legendary rulers and heroes. In more modern times, William Shakespeare is one of the most famous writers of historical fiction, with his historical plays.
Much of written history, and therefore historical fiction, is about men. With this web site, I want to shed light on women’s concerns, activities, and heroism.