Lists of the best are in the eye of the beholder, but I generally find them interesting (if a subject I'm interested in). Also, this is by the book editor of The Observer. One thing I found immediately interesting is that historical fiction is classed as a novel set in a time period which is, at least, just sixty years prior to the publication date of the book. Jeez - I'm a historian. Another thing which interests (and chagrins) me is that I have read only one of these books. And there is a book by George Eliot, Romola, which I have never heard of.
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The 10 best historical novels
It's not just about the Tudors – delve into Renaissance Florence or 1950s Brooklyn
Romola by George Eliot
The great Victorian novelist’s foray into historical fiction is a sprawling epic about Renaissance Florence, which centres on Tito Melema, an Italianate-Greek scholar who becomes a conniving politician, and his wife Romola. The novel takes in many key figures of the time, including the Dominican friar Savaranola and Machiavelli. Critics have stressed the resemblances between Eliot’s Florence and Victorian Britain (also a society in a state of flux) as well as parallels between Romola and her creator: both women of formidable learning who led unconventional lives.