Share 14 Favorites from a Bestselling Historical Fiction Writer

14 Favorites from a Bestselling Historical Fiction Writer

Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Kathleen Grissom is now happily rooted in southside Virginia. She is the author of THE KITCHEN HOUSE and GLORY OVER EVERYTHING. You can visit her website at KathleenGrissom.com.

Prepare to be transported to another time and place with these fourteen stunning novels, memoirs, and essays. These favorites come straight off the shelf of Kathleen Grissom, the bestselling historical fiction author of GLORY OVER EVERYTHING and THE KITCHEN HOUSE. We’ve collected her recommendations in the list below.


West with the Night
by Beryl Markham

If the first responsibility of a memoirist is to lead a life worth writing about, then Beryl Markham succeeded beyond all measure. Her life of adventure and beauty included living in East Africa as an adventurer, a racehorse trainer, and an aviatrix―she became the first woman to fly solo east to west across the Atlantic. If you’re a fan of Paula McLain’s novel, CIRCLING THE SUN, we think you’ll like Markham's memoir, too.

West with the Night
Beryl Markham

If the first responsibility of a memoirist is to lead a life worth writing about, then Beryl Markham succeeded beyond all measure. Her life of adventure and beauty included living in East Africa as an adventurer, a racehorse trainer, and an aviatrix―she became the first woman to fly solo east to west across the Atlantic. If you’re a fan of Paula McLain’s novel, CIRCLING THE SUN, we think you’ll like Markham's memoir, too.

MENTIONED IN:

14 Favorites from a Bestselling Historical Fiction Writer

By Kathleen Grissom | April 18, 2016

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Gap Creek
by Robert Morgan

Julie and Hank are creating a life together in the valley of Gap Creek in the last years of the nineteenth century. Their struggles with nature, with work, with the changing century, and with the disappointments and triumphs of their union make GAP CREEK a timeless novel of a marriage.

Gap Creek
Robert Morgan

Julie and Hank are creating a life together in the valley of Gap Creek in the last years of the nineteenth century. Their struggles with nature, with work, with the changing century, and with the disappointments and triumphs of their union make GAP CREEK a timeless novel of a marriage.

MENTIONED IN:

14 Favorites from a Bestselling Historical Fiction Writer

By Kathleen Grissom | April 18, 2016

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City of Women
by David R. Gillham

During the height of the Second World War, with the men away at the front, Berlin has become a city of women. On the surface, Sigrid Schröder is the model German soldier’s wife, but behind this façade she holds secrets that keep her torn between what is right and what is wrong—and what falls somewhere in the shadows between the two.

City of Women
David R. Gillham

During the height of the Second World War, with the men away at the front, Berlin has become a city of women. On the surface, Sigrid Schröder is the model German soldier’s wife, but behind this façade she holds secrets that keep her torn between what is right and what is wrong—and what falls somewhere in the shadows between the two.

MENTIONED IN:

14 Favorites from a Bestselling Historical Fiction Writer

By Kathleen Grissom | April 18, 2016

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The Madness of a Seduced Woman
by Susan Fromberg Schaeffer

Agnes is on her way to Montpelier when she sees a young man rescue a girl from a burning building. Agnes falls in love with this man, a local stonecutter, but the hero is also a betrayer, the apex of a love triangle that eventually leads Agnes to commit murder.

The Madness of a Seduced Woman
Susan Fromberg Schaeffer

Agnes is on her way to Montpelier when she sees a young man rescue a girl from a burning building. Agnes falls in love with this man, a local stonecutter, but the hero is also a betrayer, the apex of a love triangle that eventually leads Agnes to commit murder.

MENTIONED IN:

14 Favorites from a Bestselling Historical Fiction Writer

By Kathleen Grissom | April 18, 2016

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After a Funeral
by Diana Athill

AFTER A FUNERAL is a multidimensional memoir that explores the years of friendship between Diana Athill, a British editor and writer, and the man she calls Didi. Athill fell in love with Didi instantly, and out of love just as fast. Didi’s quirks, which at first appeared so charming and sweet, soon revealed a darker side.

After a Funeral
Diana Athill

AFTER A FUNERAL is a multidimensional memoir that explores the years of friendship between Diana Athill, a British editor and writer, and the man she calls Didi. Athill fell in love with Didi instantly, and out of love just as fast. Didi’s quirks, which at first appeared so charming and sweet, soon revealed a darker side.

MENTIONED IN:

14 Favorites from a Bestselling Historical Fiction Writer

By Kathleen Grissom | April 18, 2016

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Fortune's Rocks
by Anita Shreve

This magnificent novel transports readers to the turn of the twentieth century, where the worlds of a prominent Boston family and the social orbit of a spirited young woman collide. When a passionate, illicit affair occurs, the results are cataclysmic.

Fortune's Rocks
Anita Shreve

This magnificent novel transports readers to the turn of the twentieth century, where the worlds of a prominent Boston family and the social orbit of a spirited young woman collide. When a passionate, illicit affair occurs, the results are cataclysmic.

MENTIONED IN:

14 Favorites from a Bestselling Historical Fiction Writer

By Kathleen Grissom | April 18, 2016

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The Accidental Empress
by Allison Pataki

In 1853, Emperor Franz Joseph is Europe’s most powerful ruler of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. THE ACCIDENTAL EMPRESS tells the little-known and tumultuous love story of “Sisi,” the woman who became Franz Joseph’s wife, and the Austro-Hungarian Empress, when she was just fifteen.

The Accidental Empress
Allison Pataki

In 1853, Emperor Franz Joseph is Europe’s most powerful ruler of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. THE ACCIDENTAL EMPRESS tells the little-known and tumultuous love story of “Sisi,” the woman who became Franz Joseph’s wife, and the Austro-Hungarian Empress, when she was just fifteen.

MENTIONED IN:

10 Royal Reads for Fans of “The Crown”

By Kerry Fiallo | March 23, 2017

Strauss Waltzes & Tight Corsets: The Life of an Accidental Empress

By Laurie Lico Albanese | February 10, 2017

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By Off the Shelf Staff | June 7, 2016

14 Favorites from a Bestselling Historical Fiction Writer

By Kathleen Grissom | April 18, 2016

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The Known World
by Edward P. Jones

This daring Pulitzer Prize–winning novel is the story of a black farmer and former slave who works for the most powerful man in Manchester County, Virginia. Edward P. Jones has woven a seeming footnote of history into an epic that takes an unflinching look at slavery in all its moral complexities.

The Known World
Edward P. Jones

This daring Pulitzer Prize–winning novel is the story of a black farmer and former slave who works for the most powerful man in Manchester County, Virginia. Edward P. Jones has woven a seeming footnote of history into an epic that takes an unflinching look at slavery in all its moral complexities.

MENTIONED IN:

14 Favorites from a Bestselling Historical Fiction Writer

By Kathleen Grissom | April 18, 2016

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Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight
by Alexandra Fuller
In DON’T LET’S GO TO THE DOGS TONIGHT, Alexandra Fuller remembers her Rhodesian childhood with candor and sensitivity. Though it is a diary of an unruly life in an often inhospitable place, this memoir is suffused with Fuller’s endearing ability to find laughter, even when there is little to celebrate.
Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight
Alexandra Fuller

In this candid memoir, Alexandra Fuller recounts her childhood spent on a series of farms in southern and central Africa while her father fought on the side of the colonial government in the Rhodesian civil war. Unsentimental, gritty, and often hilarious, it is a captivating portrait of continental and familial unrest.

MENTIONED IN:

A Startling Mosaic of a Life, a Country, a Continent

By Marian Palaia | January 9, 2017

14 Favorites from a Bestselling Historical Fiction Writer

By Kathleen Grissom | April 18, 2016

14 Must-Read Books Set Under the African Sun

By Emma Volk | January 12, 2016

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Euphoria
by Lily King

The engine that propels this juicy, smart novel is desire—sexual and intellectual, essential and existential.

Read Molly Prentiss’s review here.

Euphoria
Lily King

The engine that propels this juicy, smart novel is desire—sexual and intellectual, essential and existential.

Read Molly Prentiss’s review here.

MENTIONED IN:

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By Off the Shelf Staff | February 14, 2017

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By Off the Shelf Staff | December 27, 2016

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By Off the Shelf Staff | December 13, 2016

14 Favorites from a Bestselling Historical Fiction Writer

By Kathleen Grissom | April 18, 2016

A Burning, Brilliant, and Brutal Novel

By Molly Prentiss | March 28, 2016

8 Glorious and Triumphant Novels of Scientific Discovery

By Leora Bernstein | January 21, 2016

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My Southern Journey
by Rick Bragg

Pulitzer Prize–winning author Rick Bragg offers a poignant and wryly funny collection of essays on life in the South. Keenly observed and written with his insightful and deadpan sense of humor, he explores enduring Southern truths about home, place, spirit, table, and the region’s varied geographies.

My Southern Journey
Rick Bragg

Pulitzer Prize–winning author Rick Bragg offers a poignant and wryly funny collection of essays on life in the South. Keenly observed and written with his insightful and deadpan sense of humor, he explores enduring Southern truths about home, place, spirit, table, and the region’s varied geographies.

MENTIONED IN:

14 Favorites from a Bestselling Historical Fiction Writer

By Kathleen Grissom | April 18, 2016

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The Year of Magical Thinking
Joan Didion

“Life changes fast.”

MENTIONED IN:

13 Book Recommendations from the Gilmore Girls Themselves

By Erin Flaaen | November 22, 2016

14 Favorites from a Bestselling Historical Fiction Writer

By Kathleen Grissom | April 18, 2016

11 Literary Biopics We Need Right Now

By Julianna Haubner | September 8, 2015

11 Unforgettable First Lines in Literature

By Sarah Jane Abbott | April 2, 2015

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Miss Emily
by Nuala O'Connor

MISS EMILY reimagines the private life of Emily Dickinson, one of America’s most beloved poets, through her own voice and through the eyes of her family’s Irish maid.

Miss Emily
Nuala O'Connor

MISS EMILY reimagines the private life of Emily Dickinson, one of America’s most beloved poets, through her own voice and through the eyes of her family’s Irish maid.

MENTIONED IN:

14 Favorites from a Bestselling Historical Fiction Writer

By Kathleen Grissom | April 18, 2016

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Balm
by Dolen Perkins-Valdez

This novel of love and healing tells the stories of three individuals struggling to overcome the trauma of the Civil War and the end of slavery. To do so, they must conquer the pain of their past and define their own futures.

Balm
Dolen Perkins-Valdez

This novel of love and healing tells the stories of three individuals struggling to overcome the trauma of the Civil War and the end of slavery. To do so, they must conquer the pain of their past and define their own futures.

MENTIONED IN:

14 Favorites from a Bestselling Historical Fiction Writer

By Kathleen Grissom | April 18, 2016

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