6 Best Historical Fiction Books About London

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Dive into the most beautiful city in the world!

Read These 6 Historical Fiction Books Before Visiting London

It's hard to fathom even an attempt to capture the rich, savory history of London, England.

However, we've found some noteworthy books that fans of historical fiction will agree come pretty close.

Touching on the Victorian era, to World War II and beyond, the story of London is best enjoyed through these exciting books.

While these books might emphasize the cruelty and hardships felt through the growing city, they equally highlight the magic of it. London has been known to foster some of the greatest love stories we've ever known. Not to mention, the music and literature planted by the city has been admired by the entire world.

You won't want to pass up these historical fiction books set in London. Whether you've made the trip across the pond yet or not, every thoughtful reader will find a reason to appreciate at least one of these stories.


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1. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

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Set in both London and Paris in the midst of the French Revolution, A Tale of Two Cities depicts the many unflattering social parallels between both worlds. At its heart, it's the story of a beautiful woman and the two men who compete for her love—a Frenchman and an Englishman. Embellished with rich historical details, its greatest achievement is the intimate moments shared by these characters who demonstrate great courage to see past the chaos.

2. The Night Watch by Sarah Waters

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The Night Watch takes place in 1940s London, before and during World War II. Its plot follows the lives of four people whose lives are interconnected in the strangest of ways. Tragedy, stunning surprises, and exquisite turns shape the story against the backdrop of the war with its never-ending night watches.

3. White Teeth by Zadie Smith

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Two World War II veterans and their families become agents of England's irrevocable transformation. These unlikely friends, Archie Jones and Samad Iqbal, advance through the exciting hodgepodge of modern life against London's racial and cultural setting. Exploring themes of disaster, confounding expectations, and lighthearted comedy of daily life, White Teeth is a literary masterpiece.

4. London by Edward Rutherford

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Edward Rutherford brings London's extensive and nobel history to life through his saga of fortunes and fates that span across many generations. The families featured in the novel take on the passion, struggle, wealth, and verve of this magnificent city. From the age of Julius Caesar to the 20th century, the author sheds light on London's rich and vibrant roots.

5. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

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Reflecting on his own experience of Victorian London's unspeakable squalor, Dickens creates a realistic depiction that links destitution and crime. The grand adventure takes shape when young Oliver runs away to London in order to escape his miserable servitude. There, he unwillingly but inevitably joins a band of thieves, creating a tale of the struggle between hope and cruelty.

6. The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber

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Taking us back to 1870s London, the author narrates the story of a troubled young woman named Sugar who struggles to escape to a better life. She comes across a host of lovable, maddening, and unforgettable characters that drive the storyline. When a woman who is deemed to be her complete opposite is introduced, their lives are juxtaposed around an egotistical perfume magnate, William Rackham.

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