Sandsone Press Logo

On The Blog

5 Stunning Historical Novels for Book Clubs

There's something for everyone in this list, whether historical fiction is usually your go-to genre or not. All five books are perfect for book clubs, with plenty to discuss.

1) Freedom is a Land I Cannot See by Peter Cunningham

1924. In the dangerous first years of the Irish Free State, beautiful Rose Raven, having lost her sight and her first love, is living quietly with her brother. But Ultan is involved in anti-government propaganda. As the net tightens, Rose is the only person who knows where the shameful truth is hidden – a truth so incendiary, it threatens the new Ireland itself.

‘A masterful novel that will never leave you.’ -Julia Keller, winner of the Pulitzer Prize


2) What We Did in the Dark by Ajay Close

1904. Cathie longs for adventure. A whirlwind romance with soldier and artist Herbert Jackson offers this and more, but Herbert is violently jealous and she is soon fighting for her freedom – and her life. A fictionalised account of Catherine Carswell’s first marriage, What We Did in the Dark is a compelling portrait of a trail-blazing writer.

‘Profound and moving... Beautifully told. I couldn’t stop reading it.’ -James Robertson


3) Blasted Things by Lesley Glaister

WW1 is over. As a nurse at the front, Clementine has found and lost love, but has settled for middle class marriage. Vincent had half his face blown off, and wants more than life offers now. Drawn together by their shared experiences at the Front, they have a compulsive relationship, magnetic and parasitic, played out with blackmail and ending in disaster for one of them.

‘Glaister is a sensitive but unflinching writer who knows exactly how to beguile the reader into turning the pages.’ -Hilary Mantel


4) Wait for Me, Jack by Addison Jones

Jack and Milly get together in 1952, determined to live the American Dream. As America moves into the modern age, so do they, but love isn’t easy to maintain for sixty years. Warm, funny and devastatingly perceptive about men and women, Wait for Me, Jack follows the fortunes and failures of Jack and Milly and reveals a few truths about love and marriage.

'Uplifting and astute, this should save marriages.’ -Sunday Times


5) Finer Things by David Wharton

London: 1963. The lives of a professional shoplifter and a young art student collide. Delia must atone for a terrible mistake; Tess is desperate to be a real artist. With the threat of the criminal underworld encroaching, only their friendship can save them from disaster.

‘Unfolds with all the style, pace and drama of a British New Wave movie. It is a very fine thing indeed.’ -Jonathan Taylor

Peter Cunningham

Peter Cunningham

Addison Jones

Addison Jones

Ajay Close

Ajay Close

David Wharton

David Wharton

Lesley Glaister

Lesley Glaister