What are your travel plans this summer? Chances are you can easily find a historical fiction book to enhance your visit if you are traveling to Great Britain, Mexico, Australia or Western Europe. Finding good historical novels set in other places is more difficult. Below is a short list of recently-published historical novels that might whet your appetite for exotic lands. Even if you don’t physically leave your backyard, your reading self can explore new vistas!
Out of the Black Land by Kerry Greenwood
Neither mystery nor fully historical fiction, the author of the Phryne Fisher mystery series ventures into the 18th Dynasty of ancient Egypt in this suspenseful tale of the Pharoah Akhnaten and his disastrous plan to change the national religion. His wife, Nefertiti, schemes behind his back to produce an heir. It might have happened this way!
A Spear of Summer Grass by Deanna Raybourn
Exiled to her beloved stepfather’s crumbling estate in Kenya, after her ill-gotten notoriety in Europe, Delilah Drummond falls in love with her new home, the people and especially the land itself as she overcomes tragedy and eventually forms her own self-sufficient identity.
Garden of Evening Mists by Twan Eng Tan
After her incarceration in a Japanese slave labor camp during World War II and her successful legal career, Chinese-Malay Yun Ling Teoh fears an immanent loss of memory and communication skills and returns to her native Central Malaysia. There she discovers a Japanese garden where she can fulfill a promise to herself and redeem her peace of mind. Winner of the 2012 Man Asian Literary Award.
Kashmir Shawl by Rosie Thomas
After her father dies, Mair Ellis discovers her grandmother Narys’ pashmina shawl with an envelope tucked inside, prompting Mair’s trip to Srinagar, Kashmir, to discover more about her family’s veiled past. Filled with lush images from India, both past and present, this romantic story will capture your imagination.
Altai by Wu Ming
Beginning with an explosive fire in Venice and spanning the Continent all the way to Constantinople, this is a story of political intrigue and adventure, as East meets West in the person of Emmanuele De Zante, an enigmatic spy spying on spies in 1569.
For more historical fiction set in exotic places, see our Seattle Quick Picks: Historical Fiction – Exotic Places book list. Whatever your destination, be sure to sign up for our Adult Summer Reading Program for even more reading suggestions.