Barnes and Noble’s 50 Best Historical Fiction Books of All Time 

Historical novels are always great to read and there are books about every country and historical event that ever happened. But not every book is worth reading. That is why we decided to look at Barnes and Noble’s 50 best historical fiction books of all time. Keep reading to see which books made their list! 

Barnes and Noble’s 50 Best Historical Fiction Books of All Time
Barnes and Noble’s 50 Best Historical Fiction Books of All Time

Not everyone is a fan of Barnes and Noble. But they have changed how most people perceive them. They have established themselves as a respectable organization that has also made some great lists over the years. You can see the full list below 

 Barnes and Noble’s 50 Best Historical Fiction Books of All Time 

  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr  
  • The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah 
  • Outlander (Outlander Series #1) by Diana Gabaldon 
  • The White Queen by Philippa Gregory 
  • The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick 
  • Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel 
  • The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory 
  • The Red Tent by Anita Diamant 
  • Ahab’s Wife: Or, The Star-gazer by Sena Jeter Naslund 
  • The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown 
  • The Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki 
  • And I Darken (And I Darken Series #1) by Kiersten White 
  • Legacy of Kings (Blood of Gods and Royals Series #1) by Eleanor Herman 
  • Traitor Angels by Anne Blankman 
  • Alex and Eliza: A Love Story (Alex and Eliza Series #1) by Melissa de la Cruz 
  • Longbourn by Jo Baker 
  • Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier 
  • Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel 
  • Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders 
  • Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson 
  • Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier 
  • The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje 
  • Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross 
  • March by Geraldine Brooks 
  • The Tutor: A Nove by Andrea Chapin 
  • The Tea Rose (Tea Rose Series #1) by Jennifer Donnelly 
  • By Marion Zimmer Bradley 
  • 11/22/63 by Stephen King 
  • The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman 
  • Burial Rites by Hannah Kent 
  • Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks 
  • Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood 
  • The March by E. L. Doctorow 
  • The Twelve Rooms of the Nile by Enid Shomer 
  • The Night Watch by Sarah Waters 
  • Arthur and George by Julian Barnes 
  • Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman 
  • Wolf by Wolf (Wolf by Wolf Series #1) by Ryan Graudin 
  • My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand , Brodi Ashton , Jodi Meadows 
  • Da Vinci’s Tiger by L. M. Elliott 
  • Number the Stars: A Newbery Award Winner by Lois Lowry 
  • The Devil’s Arithmetic by Jane Yolen 
  • Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke 
  • Leviathan (Leviathan Series #1) by Scott Westerfeld  
  • Voyage by Stephen Baxter 
  • The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson 
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro 
  • The Pillars of the Earth (Kingsbridge Series #1) by Ken Follett 
  • The Pillars of the Earth (Kingsbridge Series #1) by Ken Follett 
  • When Christ and His Saints Slept: A Novel by Sharon Kay Penman 

Classics and More 

The list includes a lot more recent novels than I would have expected. But their selections were great. Novels like All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr and The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah are deserving of recognition. The list includes some surprised but I like the diversity of the list. 

A novel that I would have loved to see on the list is A Gentleman of Moscow by Amor Towles. But no list is perfect and everyone’s taste is different. Seeing novels like The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown makes me wonder what the criteria is. While the novel is popular, I would argue it isn’t one of the best historical fiction novels of all time. 


That is all for our list of Barnes and Noble’s 50 best historical fiction books of all time. What did you think of the list? What novels would you have included on the list? Let us know in the comments below! 

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15 thoughts on “Barnes and Noble’s 50 Best Historical Fiction Books of All Time 

    1. Anonymous says:

      Why is , The Aztec by Gary Jennings, not on the top of the list. I never see the Aztec mentioned in any of these lists of top books to read, probably the best Historical Fiction ever written. Read it as a must!

      1. JoDee says:

        The list is missing a great historical book Gone with the Wind!

    1. Laurel Burns says:

      A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles should be on there.

  1. Jeff Weiss says:

    Cj Sansom series
    Oliver Potsch hangman series

  2. Richard Burns says:

    So, the WILDLY historically inaccurate and generally mediocre The DaVinci code makes the list, but not Shogun by Clavell or anything by James Michener? Just…wow…

  3. Christine says:

    This is a horrible list. Little thought was given to actual historical accuracy or good plot lines. My suggestions fir a list would include any or all of Dorothy Dunnett’s novels and The Killer Angel’s by Michael Shaara.

  4. David A Tuttle says:

    Kenneth Roberts: Northwest Passage, Arundel, A Rabble in Arms, Oliver Wiswell – all historical fiction set in the Northeastern US, from 1756 – 1781.

  5. ellenblickmanblog says:

    Gone with the Wind (Margaret Mitchell) ; North and South (John Jakes) Ragtime (E.L. Doctrow; New York (Edward Rutherfurd) London (Edward Rutherfurd) – Those are the ones which immediately come to mind.

  6. Barbara M says:

    I certainly agree with Outlander. I’m a big Ken Follett fan also. I’ve read a lot of those books. Something is always left out.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Marguerite Yourcenar became the first woman member of the Academie Francais for her historical novel “The Memoirs of Hadrian”.

  8. Arnold S Klein says:

    It’s a shame you didn’t include “The Killer Angels” by Michael Shaara. It won the Pulitzer Prize and is one of the greatest ever about The Civil War.

  9. cat says:

    This is one of the better lists I’ve seen lately.

    I was pleased to see please with “The Man in the High Castle” along with “Outlander”. Also happy to see “Alias Grace” though I think “A Handmaid’s Tale” is more important. And “11/22/63” is a great choice for Stephen King.

    Definitely confused about including “The Da Vinci Code”. I can think of many dozens of books that would have been a better choice.

    I would have liked something from Edward Rutherford, maybe “London” or “Paris”. And I definitely would have included “Fanny: Being the True History of the Adventures of Fanny Hackabout-Jones” by Erica Jong and “Into the Wilderness” by Sarah Donati.


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