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|Image from Alisonweir.org.uk|
3. Alison Weir - Alison Weir is one of my favorite non-fiction history writers and I was a little shocked when I saw her name in the fiction section for the first time, but her fiction books are so good! Innocent Traitor is my current favorite, but she has an historical fiction book about Anne Boleyn coming out this year so that might not last. But Innocent Traitor is about Lady Jane Grey, the Nine Days Queen, and it is absolutely heartbreaking. Jane's life was so short, and she had very little to do with being put on the throne, I've read several biographies about her and this book really fleshes out the whole story. The Captive Queen, about Eleanor of Aquitaine is excellent also.
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5. Anne Easter Smith - The thing I love most about Anne Easter Smith's books is surprisingly, not the history parts. I love how she describes her setting, it just makes the books so beautiful, and easy to get lost in. My favorite one of her books is A Rose for the Crown, which tells the story of Richard III through the eyes of Kate, his mistress and mother of his illegitimate children. Richard is often portrayed as a monster through history, and is often blamed for the disappearance of his two nephews from the Tower of London (which there is no conclusive evidence for), and this book does a good job of portraying him in a more sympathetic light.
A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner - I wouldn't call this strictly historical fiction because part of it does take place in modern day NYC, but its an excellent book. It is about the experiences of two women, one who witnessed the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in 1911 and one who witnessed 9/11, and how they heal from what they saw and what they lost on those days. Warning; it's a tear-jerker.
Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King by Antonia Fraser - This book is non-fiction but it reads like fiction. It's about Louis XIV and his series of 'Maitresse en Titre' or official mistresses. They were an interesting group of women, some holding an immense of amount of political power and 17th century France is an interesting setting for anything.
Through a Glass Darkly by Karleen Koen - I've seen mixed reviews on this book, it appears you either love it or hate, but I loved it. It takes places in the early 1700's, and most of it goes back and forth between the French and English courts. The main character is a young girl named Barbara who is engaged to a much older man, and there's affairs and politics, and basically all the stuff I love in historical fiction.
The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff - This is the only book I've read by Ebershoff so I couldn't put him as a 'must read' author but this book is a must read! It's about a young woman who's family follows Joseph Smith, the founder and leader of the Mormon church, and her subsequent marriage to Brigham Young, as his '19th' wife. It also follows the story of a young man who has left a polygamist community in Utah and is trying to get his mother out. It really is a must read.
Which books should be added to the list? I'm always looking for new authors to love!