The delight of great historical fiction is the journey backward into a fully realized world, a specific time and place—the best of it working like the Wardrobe into Narnia, a kind of magic of imagination. It shows us a past both active and alive, full of human beings being. As I grew from a reader into a writer, I found myself writing that sort of novel and poising those types of questions. "People are trapped in history," James Baldwin wrote, "and history is trapped in them." The best historical fictional books break the distance between now and then, asking us to consider our own faces in history's mirror: Who would we have been, or how would we have behaved, then? And what does that mean for us, now?

Read the full story here: 24 of the Best Historical Fiction Books


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