Genre Guide for Beginners: Chapter 13: Historical Fiction

Posted May 8, 2019 by Suzanne in Front Page, Reading on the Dark Side, Under the Covers / 5 Comments

Do you know what some of the most commonly asked questions are? Genre questions. Either asking us what genre a certain book or series is in, or what exactly is that genre. After spending so much time immersed in the world of romance, it has become second nature to instantly catergorise books into their respective genre, or sub-genre. Just a glance at the blurb, or even just the cover then I can tell you what genre it will be. Of course, not everything is black and white and not every book is so easy to label, but a majority are.

We have previously done a very concise guide about genres giving an overview of each, but we decided to take each genre and do a more general and indepth guide. In this, we will tell you the definition of the genre, what types of characters you may expect to see, popular troupes within a genre, some of our favourite authors and series within this genre. And anything else we can think of! By the end of the guide you should be able to tell what book is what and have a few recommendations to pick up.

The ninth chapter in this guide is *drum roll please*


A historical fiction is similar to a historical romance in that it is set in the past. The difference being that the romance is optional and when it is present it isn’t necessarily the driving force behind the story and you aren’t guaranteed a happily ever after. Instead the story will focus on the main characters(s) journey, which may or not not contain romance.

The Basics

Essential characteristic of historical fiction:

  • The time period of the book will be before the 1940s
  • It will reflect the technology and historical facts of the time i.e. there has been no concerted effort to change history or technology. If there has, it may be a steampunk.
  • There will be no paranormal elements.
  • The main characters will be adults – although it could have a reflections or sections with memories or thoughts from childhood.

A historical fiction novel must have all the above characteristics.

Historical fiction can often based on real live historical events and figures. It will tell the stories of people who have lived through a famous event or been part of them in some way or/and they have a connection to a historical figure. Of course, this isn’t always the case, but it is a frequent theme in historical fiction novels.

UTC Required Reading List

Here are some of the historical fiction novels we have enjoyed:


For more of our historical fiction reviews click here!

What are your favourite historical fiction books?


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Gosh, we all seem to be admitting our ages…and I hate that I am at the point in life when admitting my age is a “thing”…whodda thunk it? I was kind of hoping I would remain 21 forever. However, I have moved out of that New Adult stage of my life and am now strictly in the Contemporary Romance age zone of 28. I would prefer to be in an Urban Fantasy arena, but I don’t think I own enough black leather. However, I could probably squeeze into some PNR, I am fully prepared to give a horn job to my favourite demon, or suck on my sexy vamps…fangs and I am definitely up for some heavy petting with some fine looking shifters. Than again their’s always Sci Fi…I am fully prepared to do the right thing and help some poor alien race with more 6 packs than a supermarket repopulate their planet. Not that I am loose woman or anything.

Annnnnd I will stop myself there, before I start waxing lyrical about my love of historical romance and fantasy as well; no one needs to know about my elf fantasies. As you can tell, I adore and day dream about most romance genres, and my three big loves are 1) reading about romance 2) writing about romance and 3) talking about romance with my gals. Which, is why I love Under the Covers so much, I get all my bookish needs satisfied and don’t get judged when I talk about my favourite characters like they are real people. Which they are right?
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To name a few: the canaan trilogy by marek halter, the dublin saga by edward rutherford, anything by steven saylor, the last kingdom series by bernard cornwell, the borgia bride by jeanne kalogridis. the widow of the south by robert hicks…edward rutherford and bernard cornwell have other series that are good as well.

Sophia Rose
Sophia Rose

I was a fan of historical fiction before historical romance. I can definitely appreciate the main distinctions that you make. One of my favorite historical fiction authors is Stephanie Thornton. I also like old-school Jean Plaidy, Sarah Lark, Diana Gabaldon, CS Harris, Allison Pataki, Elizabeth Loupas, and Alexander Piers.


I like the ones by Karen White. And, I like the books she has which span a few generations, too.


What The Wind Knows and The Nightingale

Amy R
Amy R

Thanks for the post, what always gets me are the exact years for Regency, Victorian, Tudor ect.