Monday, October 31, 2016

10 Childhood Favorites: Historical Fiction

photograph by me

 It is no secret that historical fiction is my favorite genre. I devour it in pretty much any form I can get it— historically set films and television included. This deep love of historical fiction and history was sparked by my mother. Some of my favorite childhood memories are of her reading aloud to my siblings and I as we sat outside the library building waiting for book sales to open. Historical fiction was our main reading diet and the books she read to me and I read at that early age are responsible for what I write today. Many of these books are considered classics of their genre, but sadly are becoming increasingly lesser known as times passes. So, today I want to scratch the surface and tell you about ten of my childhood favorite works of historical fiction. (And just you wait, this time I plan on sticking to the afore set number.)

The Chosen Ten (In No Particular Order, Except Maybe Timeline)

The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare
No list of my favorite historical fiction would be complete without mentioning this book. This novel, the characters, and their stories are extremely near and dear to my heart. Set in Israel during the times of Jesus, this is a poignant story of revenge, grace, and forgiveness.

The Church History Series by Emma Leslie
This one entered my life as I entered my early teen years, so maybe it does not quite fit into the childhood category, but this series has firmly found a place in my list of favorites. The books follow the early days of the Christian church in Rome through the days of the Reformation. Yes, the more you read of the series the more you notice its cliches and tropes, but it shines light on sometimes forgotten but nonetheless important times in Christian church history.

The Black Fox of Lorne by Marguerite De Angeli
I do not actually remember the plot of this one in detail, just specific scenes with such great distinctness that they have never left my memory. It takes place in Scotland/England (I cannot remember which specifically) and follows Viking born twin brothers who somehow become separated. I would recommend pretty much anything by De Angeli. Another favorite is The Door In the Wall.

In Freedom's Cause by G. A. Henty
I do not believe any other book has quite influenced my childhood like this Scottish saga of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. This book instigated a fascination with Scotland and their fight for freedom against England that carried well into my early teens. I highly recommend it!

How Sleep the Brave by J.H. Hunter
Think the Scarlet Pimpernel meets the Scottish Covenanters and you will have a fairly accurate idea of what this book is like. It is pure Scottish adventure and fun!

Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
This story of Boston during the early days of the American Revolution was another favorite. I remember listening to an audiobook of this almost on loop. It was another one that truly captured my imagination.

The Little Maid Series by Alice Turner Curtis
What the American Girl books were to other girls my age is what this series was to me. Young girls being a part of history during the American Revolution and generally accidentally being in the thick of things. I do not care if some of the scenarios are highly implausible. It did not matter to my imagination. All in all, this series is just pure fun.

In the Reign of Terror by G. A. Henty
Another of my all time favorite Henty stories, Harry Sandwith finds himself the champion and protector of the aristocrat family that had taken him in during the French Revolution.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
I remember my mother reading this aloud to us and I reread it a few years back. Set in the South during the 1930s, it vividly portrays the racial divide that has haunted America through the eyes of young Cassie Logan and her family.

Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan
A group of Norwegian children find courage and bravery as they resist the Nazis by helping transport their nation's treasury out of the country. I highly recommend!

 I feel as if I have left so many other favorites off this list. *deep sigh* Oh well, I hope to make something of a series out of posts similar to this: 10 Favorite something-or-other. What do you think?

Have you read any of these? What are some of your favorite historical fiction books that you read as a child?


  1. Oh hooray! And I can't believe I've only read three of the books on your list - THE BRONZE BOW and of course the two Hentys.

    I really enjoyed a lot of Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson growing up, as well as classics like HEIDI and BEN-HUR and so on.

    1. Only three?!? I am shocked. Please tell me you have read other Marguerite De Angeli books, if not The Black Fox of Lorne. You should read How Sleep the Brave, it is just the sort of swashbuckling fun I think you would enjoy. :)

      I enjoyed Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe and a few of RLS's books, but I did not read those until I was well into my teens. Methinks, I need to do a list of favorite historical fiction from my teen years. Ben-Hur is amazing and wonderful. I love that book and— as much as I love the Charlton Heston film— it is so much better than the movie.

  2. Historical fiction has always been my favourite. :) I've only read two on your list though (The Bronze Bow and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry), so I'll have to check the others out. Snow Treasure sounds particularly interesting! Thanks for sharing! :)

    1. Snow Treasure is so good! I have lost count how many times I have read it.

      Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment!


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