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#5OnMyTBR | LGBTQ+ Historical Novels

#5OnMyTBR is a bookish meme hosted by E. @ Local Bee Hunter’s Nook and you can learn more about it here or in the post announcing it. It occurs every Monday when we post about 5 books on our TBR.


I’m posting 5OnMyTBR a day early because tomorrow I am reviewing a novel for a Write Reads blog tour. The topic this week is LGBTQ+ Historical novels – fiction or non -fiction. I found these wonderful books for you to consider if you’re in the mood for a historical fiction novel. They are the top 5 on Amazon for LGBTQ+ Historical fiction and contain books with sub-genres such as Mysteries, Thrillers, and Literary fiction. I think they all sound amazing and am not surprised that they are the top 5. I hope you find something that interest you.


Historical Mystery

#1 The Companion by Kim Taylor Blakemore

Genre: Historical Mystery

Book Description: They say she’s a murderess. She claims she’s innocent. But Lucy has been known to tell lies…

1855, New Hampshire. Lucy Blunt is set to hang for a double murder. Murderess or victim? Only Lucy knows the truth.

In the shadow of the gallows, Lucy reflects on the events that led to her bitter downfall—from the moment she arrived at the rambling Burton mansion looking for work and a better life to the grisly murders themselves.

In a mysterious household of locked doors and forbidden affections, Lucy slips comfortably into the shadows, where she believes the indiscretions of her past will remain hidden. But when Lucy’s rising status becomes a threat to the mistress’s current companion, the delicate balance of power and loyalty begins to shift, setting into motion a brewing storm of betrayal, suspicion, and rage.

Now, with her execution looming closer, Lucy’s allies fight to have her sentence overturned as the tale she’s spinning nears its conclusion. But how much of her story can we trust? After all, Lucy’s been known to bend the truth…


Historical Literary Fiction

#2 Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

Genre: Historical Literary Fiction

Selected by Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of the century and called “Evelyn Waugh’s finest achievement” by the New York TimesBrideshead Revisited is a stunning exploration of desire, duty, and memory.
The wellsprings of desire and the impediments to love come brilliantly into focus in Evelyn Waugh’s masterpiece — a novel that immerses us in the glittering and seductive world of English aristocracy in the waning days of the empire.
Through the story of Charles Ryder’s entanglement with the Flytes, a great Catholic family, Evelyn Waugh charts the passing of the privileged world he knew in his own youth and vividly recalls the sensuous pleasures denied him by wartime austerities. At once romantic, sensuous, comic, and somber, Brideshead Revisited transcends Waugh’s early satiric explorations and reveals him to be an elegiac, lyrical novelist of the utmost feeling and lucidity.
“A genuine literary masterpiece.” —Time“Heartbreakingly beautiful…The twentieth century’s finest English novel.” —Los Angeles Times


Historical Thriller

#3 Fingersmith by Sarah Waters

Genre: Historical Thriller

“Oliver Twist with a twist…Waters spins an absorbing tale that withholds as much as it discloses. A pulsating story.”—The New York Times Book Review  

The Handmaiden, a film adaptation of Fingersmith, directed by Park Chan-wook and starring Kim Tae-Ri, is now available.

Sue Trinder is an orphan, left as an infant in the care of Mrs. Sucksby, a “baby farmer,” who raised her with unusual tenderness, as if Sue were her own. Mrs. Sucksby’s household, with its fussy babies calmed with doses of gin, also hosts a transient family of petty thieves—fingersmiths—for whom this house in the heart of a mean London slum is home.

One day, the most beloved thief of all arrives—Gentleman, an elegant con man, who carries with him an enticing proposition for Sue: If she wins a position as the maid to Maud Lilly, a naĂŻve gentlewoman, and aids Gentleman in her seduction, then they will all share in Maud’s vast inheritance. Once the inheritance is secured, Maud will be disposed of—passed off as mad, and made to live out the rest of her days in a lunatic asylum.

With dreams of paying back the kindness of her adopted family, Sue agrees to the plan. Once in, however, Sue begins to pity her helpless mark and care for Maud Lilly in unexpected ways…But no one and nothing is as it seems in this Dickensian novel of thrills and reversals.


Historical fiction (1600’s Norway)

#4 The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Genre: Historical Fiction (1600’s Norway)

After the men in an Arctic Norwegian town are wiped out, the women must survive a sinister threat in this “perfectly told” 1600s parable of “a world gone mad” (Adriana Trigiani).
Finnmark, Norway, 1617. Twenty-year-old Maren Magnusdatter stands on the craggy coast, watching the sea break into a sudden and reckless storm. Forty fishermen, including her brother and father, are drowned and left broken on the rocks below. With the menfolk wiped out, the women of the tiny Arctic town of Vardø must fend for themselves.
Three years later, a stranger arrives on their shore. Absalom Cornet comes from Scotland, where he burned witches in the northern isles. He brings with him his young Norwegian wife, Ursa, who is both heady with her husband’s authority and terrified by it. In Vardø, and in Maren, Ursa sees something she has never seen before: independent women. But Absalom sees only a place untouched by God, and flooded with a mighty evil. As Maren and Ursa are drawn to one another in ways that surprise them both, the island begins to close in on them, with Absalom’s iron rule threatening Vardø’s very existence.
Inspired by the real events of the Vardø storm and the 1621 witch trials, The Mercies is a story of love, evil, and obsession, set at the edge of civilization.

One of the Best Books of the Year: USA Today and Good Housekeeping

Historical Fiction (Middle Eastern)

#5 Disoriental by Negar Djavadi

Genre: Historical Fiction (Middle Eastern)

National Book Award Finalist: “A multigenerational epic of the Sadr family’s life in Iran and their eventual exile . . . Full of surprises” (The Globe and Mail).

Winner of the 2019 Albertine Prize and Lambda Literary Award

Kimiâ Sadr fled Iran at the age of ten in the company of her mother and sisters to join her father in France. Now twenty-five and facing the future she has built for herself, as well as the prospect of a new generation, Kimiâ is inundated by her own memories and the stories of her ancestors, which come to her in unstoppable, uncontainable waves. In the waiting room of a Parisian fertility clinic, generations of flamboyant Sadrs return to her, including her formidable great-grandfather Montazemolmolk, with his harem of fifty-two wives, and her parents, Darius and Sara, stalwart opponents of each regime that befalls them.

It is Kimiâ herself—punk-rock aficionado, storyteller extraordinaire, a Scheherazade of our time, and above all a modern woman divided between family traditions and her own “disorientalization”—who forms the heart of this bestselling and beloved novel, recipient of numerous literary honors.

“Where initially Disoriental seems focused on Kimiâ’s father and his pro-democracy activism—first against the Shah, then the Ayatollah Khomeini—this is truly Kimiâ’s story of disorientation—national, familial and sexual—and finding herself again.” —The Globe and Mail

“A tour de force of storytelling . . . Djavadi deftly weaves together the history of 20th-century Iran [and] the spellbinding chronicle of her own ancestors. . . . Perfectly blends historical fact with contemporary themes.” —Library Journal

“Riveting . . . Djavadi is an immensely gifted storyteller, and Kimiâ’s tale is especially compelling.” —Booklist (starred review)

“A wonder and a pleasure to read.” —Rivka Galchen, author of Atmospheric Disturbances

WINNER 2019 ALBERTINE PRIZE
WINNER 2019 LAMBDA LITERARY AWARD
FINALIST 2018 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD
FINALIST 2019 CLMP FIRECRACKER AWARD
FINALIST 2019 BEST TRANSLATED BOOK AWARD
WINNER LE PRIX DU ROMAN NEWS
WINNER STYLE PRIZE
WINNER 2016 LIRE BEST DEBUT NOVEL
WINNER LA PORTE DORÉE PRIZE
ONE OF THE GLOBE & MAIL’S BEST BOOKS OF 2018

Do you think any of these sound compelling?

Categories: 5 on my TBR Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

Tessa Pulyer

See my “About me” on my site.

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