Diversity Genre Spotlight: Historical Fiction

In hope of A More Diverse Books to read, I thought of posting a list of fiction books by diverse authors. I was more flummoxed with this whole idea as the Fiction genre is huge. Endless books, sub-genres in the main one. How one can compile a list? But then given a thought and said let’s start from history.  Historical fiction is more popular reading genre then fantasy or adult fiction. I don’t say that there are tons of resources out there to help guide you to a book choice, but if you enjoy historical fiction and want to read more diversely. Here it is!!

I’m not including books about cultural difference or immigration or assimilation. Many books are out there like that and I think they are part of the reason people are apprehensive to read diversely all the books sound same. But then there are so many other rich and exhilarating stories out there for one to discover, and I am focusing on those books only.


Any suggestion are welcome. Please feel free to fill the comment section with book of your choice!



If you like John Shors’ Beneath a Marble Skythen read The Twentieth Wife, by Indu Sundaresan, because it’s about a woman who rises to become Empress of the Mughal Court in 17th century India.




If you like Winter’s Tale, by Mark Helprin, then read The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende because she rocks the magical realism in a big old rambling house, too.



If you like Colin Cotterill’s The Coroner’s Lunch about life in Laos under an oppressive Communist regime, then read Malla Nunn’sDetective Cooper series because it features a gloriously conflicted detective in Apartheid South Africa.



If you like The Secret River, by Kate Grenville, then read Benang, by Kim Scott because it talks about the European treatment of Aborigines from the side of the Aborigines.



If you liked the gritty, complicated relationships that populated The Bone People, by Keri Hulme, then read Potiki, by Patricia Grace because it too focuses on how complicated the race situation in New Zealand can be.




If you like Frog Music, by Emma Donoghue, then read China Dolls, by Lisa See about another rollicking time in San Francisco’s history, the 1930s.



If you like Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, by Jamie Ford, then read When the Emperor Was Divine, by Julie Otsuka about life in the American internment camps for Japanese during WWII.



If you like When a Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smithtry Small Island, by Andrea Levy as it also focuses on the tough life of an immigrant family trying to make it in a big city.



If you enjoy CS Forster’s Horatio Hornblower series, try Amitav Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies, the first book in the Ibis Trilogy, set on a huge trade ship during the Opium Wars of the 19th century.



If you like the big, chunky family epics, then try One Hundred Years of Solitudeby Gabriel Garcia-Marquez because it reads like a beautiful, lyrical soap opera across the decades.



If you enjoyed To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, then read The Round House, by Louise Erdrich, which turns the story on its tail and focuses on a Native American woman unable to go after the man who abused her.  Fairly speaking, The Round House is not technically historical fiction, but if you enjoy To Kill a Mockingbird (which was not historical fiction when it was written), then you really should read this one.


If you like the pageantry and court intrigue of Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel, then try Fudoki, by Kij Johnson, set in the pomp and glory of 11th century Japan.



If you like Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind, try Wenchby Dolen Perkins-Valdez for a telling and intense story of what life was like as a slave.





If you like Pearl S. Buck’s Pavillion of Women, then read Peony in Love, by Lisa See for a different look at life as a woman in imperial China.



If you enjoy fairy tale retelling s, then try Boy, Snow, Bird, by Helen Oyeyemi, which is a retelling of  Snow White.  Or try Thorn, by Intisar Khanani, a retelling of  The Goose Girl.  Or The Palace of Illusions, by Chitra Divakarumi, a feminist retelling of the Hindu epic The Mahabharata.


If you enjoy MM Kaye‘s stories about India under the Raj, then read Raj, by Gita Mehta, about life as a member of the increasingly marginalized ruling class in India.