Historical fiction is very popular, especially when it comes to new releases. But what about historical fiction backlist books? Those backlist books need attention too.
It is no secret that we love backlist books. We love to find those hidden book gems that have been forgotten about.
The online and social media world is full of new book releases. New books are what tend to get all the attention.
When Grace and I started this site back in 2016 we had a goal to be a little different than the other book sites.
We wanted to share only books that we have read. That is still our goal. Our books lists are books that we have read.
If Grace or I haven’t read them someone else in the family has. Yes, that limits what we share, but it also allows us to share only the books that we can give an honest opinion on.
We also saw a lack of nonfiction and backlist books in the online world. Everyone loves to share new and shiny fiction books. They might mix in a few older releases and nonfiction, but not many.
Our goal was to be different. We wanted to share mainly backlist books and nonfiction books, with a few newer releases mixed in.
Those are still our goals!
We love sharing backlist books and nonfiction books that we have read. Yes, you will occasionally find a newer release that we read, but they are not the majority of what we read.
The good thing about reading a lot of backlist books is that they are easy to find at your library or used book store. No need to buy new when you read books published several years ago.
In our quest to help you find great backlist books, we are going to start sharing backlist book lists. Some will be nonfiction and some will be fiction. All of them will be books that we have read and enjoyed.
We are starting with a list of great historical fiction backlist books.
Historical Fiction Backlist Books
If you love historical fiction I think you will find some great historical fiction on our historical fiction backlist books list.
When the Men Were Gone by Marjorie Herrera Lewis. Published in 2018. This book is based on the real-life story of Tylene Wilson.
Small-town Texas and football just go together. But what happens to football when all the men are off fighting WWII and no one is available to coach the team? An unexpected person convinces people that she can do the job.
This book is for both sports fans and non-sports fans. I don’t care about football, but I loved this inspiring story of football and WWII.
The Last Green Valley by Mark Sullivan. Published in 2021. This book is a newer backlist book. It was published in 2021, but I don’t think it got the attention that it deserved. I saw it on social media when it came out, but I have not seen it a lot since then.
I read this book last year and it is a book that I could not stop thinking about.
This is a great read in light of current events. It is set in Ukraine and Russia. The main timeline is set in 1944, but it also goes back in time to before WWII.
It took me a few chapters to get into this book, but once I did, I could not put it down.
Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry. Published in 2005. If you have never read any of Wendell Berry’s fiction, I highly recommend you start with Hannah Coulter.
This is the first Wendell Berry book that I read. I instantly fell in love with the people of Port William. This feels like a memoir, but it isn’t. It is fiction.
There is not a lot of action or plot and that is why I loved it. I would describe this book as a cozy comfort read.
The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom. Published in 2010. This was a very popular book years ago. I think a lot of people read it ten-plus years ago, but I don’t think it gets a lot of attention now.
It is hard for me to say that I loved this book, but it is a book that I could not stop thinking about and that is a sign of a great book.
This book deals with some very tough subjects. It is about life on a Southern plantation, years before the Civil War. It deals with the difficult issues of that time, which are hard to read about. But those same things are also part of history.
It is hard to say that I loved this book because it was such a tough read, but I am so glad that I read it.
Fire In Beulah by Rilla Askew. Published in 2001. I would describe Fire In Beulah as the Oklahoma, Native American version of The Kitchen House.
Very few people, outside of Oklahoma, know about this book and I think that is too bad. It is another hard-to-read book that you won’t stop thinking about.
This book weaves together The Tulsa Race Riots and the Oklahoma oil boom, with the tension of Native American, black, and white people living and working together in the early 1900s.
This book deals with some tough topics with graphic details, but if you can handle that this book will take you to a time and place you probably know nothing about.
We Are the Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter. Published in 2018. This is one of my all time favorite historical fiction books. Set during WWII it is based on the story of the author’s family.
It is a story of war, family, endurance, courage, and more. If you love WWII historical fiction this is a must-read.
Hotel On the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. Published in 2009. I feel like this has become somewhat of a classic WWII fiction book.
This is historical fiction, but it is based on real events, that many people do not know about. Or at least they do not know a lot about it.
Jamie Ford has crafted a story about WWII, the Japanese Internment Camps, and the history of the Pacific Northwest into an unforgettable story.
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. Published in 2012. This book has been in my to be read stack for a while. I finally picked it up last fall.
The book is set in WWII Lithuania and Siberia. Lina and her family are taken from their home by the Soviet Secret Police. Their life is never the same again.
This book deals with war, starvation, abuse, and more, but Ruta Sepetys deals with it in a way that is so well done. Perfect for adults and young adults.
The Mountains Sing by Nguyen Phan Que Mai. Published in 2020. This is a newer backlist book, but I knew that I wanted to include it on this list. This was a recent read for me and I learned so much by reading this historical fiction book.
This book is about Viet Nam, written by someone from Viet Nam.
It alternates between the 1940s and 1970s Viet Nam. It is based on the experiences of the author’s family and the people she knows.
It was interesting and eye-opening to read about the Viet Nam War from the perspective of someone who lives in Viet Nam.
If you enjoy historical fiction that will take you to a time and place that you know very little about, I highly recommend this one.
It is another book that deals with tough topics, but it is so worth the read.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer. Published in 2008. I almost didn’t put this one on the list because so many people have read this one. But so many people have read this one because it is so good.
This book is about the German occupation of Guernsey, an island in the English Channel, during WWII.
It is a love story, but it is so much more. It is about friends, books, war, the lengths people will go to in order to survive, and so much more.
If you love historical fiction and have not read this one, it is a good one to pick up.