Remember, Remember the Fifth of November!: Historical Fiction Booklist

“Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.”

~John Milton, 1626

Today is known as Guy Fawkes day in Britain, a well-known and celebrated holiday in the country. On November 5th, 1605, Guy Fawkes aimed to blow up London’s House of Parliament and restore Britain’s Catholic monarchy, removing King James I from the throne. Guy Fawkes is a figure known for his actions, and he inspired stories, such as Alan Moores’s comic V for Vendetta, and even appeared on television in a Dr. Who episode.

Guy Fawkes is not the only figure who has influenced stories. Many young adult stories today are riddled with historical figures and events, which may be loosely based and inspired or set in historical time periods. Let’s take a look at a few new and exciting titles that may appeal to historical fiction readers.

A Madness So Discreet
by Mindy McGinnis

Grace Mae lives with madness. She knows how to keep it and her family secrets buried inside her body. She cannot escape them as they trap her in a Boston insane asylum. Exiled to dark cellars and alone with her troubled mind, a visiting doctor recruits her for the new study of criminal psychology, as an assistant at crime scenes. She flees from Boston to an asylum in Ohio, where she finds a chance at friendship and hope. Not only that, she and the doctor discover a killer stalking young women. Grace must find the killer and her sanity, as she wrangles with past secrets.

Wolf By Wolf by Ryan Graudin

In the year 1956, the Axis powers won the world. To celebrate and establish their Great Victory over Britain and Russia, Hilter and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour, an annual motorcycle race across the lands. The winner is awarded an audience with Adolf Hilter at the honorary Victor’s ball. An escaped captive from a death camp, Yael, is determined to win the race and kill Hilter in a plot of revenge. Impersonating last year’s victor, Adele Wolfe, she gets closer and closer to winning the ruthless competition. She only needs to keep the wolves, the other competitors, at bay.

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Great Library, a ruthless and powerful presence in every major city, guarding access to knowledge and information. Alchemy allows the Library to provide access to the greatest works of the world instantly; however, owning books is illegal, even if Jess’s family owns many, many copies obtained in the black market. As a family spy, his values are questioned as he enters the Library’s service and invents a device that changes the world. He uncovers the Great Library’s secrets and realizes the true value of human life and knowledge.

The Wrath and the Dawn
by Renee Ahdieh

Khalid, the eighteen-year-old king of Khorasan, is a monster who takes a new bride each night, only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat in the morning. In the land ruled by this merciless king, each dawn brings another family heartbreak. When Shahrzad’s best friend dies at Khalid’s hand, Shahrzad vows revenge and volunteers to be Khalid’s next bride in order to end his reign of terror. Night after night, Shahrzad tells stories to Khalid to ensure her survival. Night after night, she discovers a wounded man within the monster and begins to find herself falling in love with the king. Exchanging revenge for renewed resolve to discover his secrets, Shahrzad is determined to find the ending to their story.

— Heather Johnson, currently reading The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins


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Heather Johnson

By day, Adult Services Librarian at the Sunnyvale Public Library in Sunnyvale, California. By night, a consumer of enchanting stories and dark chocolate.

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