Reading has been a hobby of mine since I got hooked on Little House on the Prairie books as a kid! With life being super busy, it’s hard to find time to sit down and read. So now I’m a HUGE fan of audiobooks. I just signed up for Audible through Amazon and absolutely LOVE IT! Listen wherever you are with the free app. Even if you switch devices, you never lose your place.
I listen to at least one book a week now from my phone while I’m driving, on a plane, cleaning the kitchen, walking or doing laundry. Right now I’m listening to A Man Called Ove and can’t wait to clean so I have time to listen. I never thought I would say those words. ha!
My favorite books are historical fiction. I get asked a lot about the best audiobooks, so I made a list of historical fiction audiobooks for you today.
I’ve listened to a ton of audiobooks, some I couldn’t make it very far because the narrator was so boring. These 10 Best Historical Fiction Audiobooks are chosen not only for the book, but the narrator as well. I love when the narrator can do great voices and transport you into another world. These books will definitely do that!
Let me know your favorite audiobooks as well. Be sure to Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks!
10 Best Historical Fiction Audiobooks
1. The Nightingale
I’m starting with one of my most favorite books of all-time… The Nightingale. It’s an unforgettable tale of two women, Vianne and her younger sister Isabelle, and their courageous story during World War II. I was so sad when this book was over, I never wanted it to end! This audiobook is a must listen to, it will keep you spell bound until the very end.
With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France–a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.
2. All the Light We Cannot See
All the Light We Cannot See was another amazing book centered around World War II! I loved the story of these children and highly recommend it for tweens and teens.
Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is 12, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.
In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.
3. The Outlander
You are either a lover or a hater of these books, and I’m certainly a LOVER! The Outlander is the first book in Diana Gabaldon’s series about a World War II nurse, Claire, who accidentally goes back in time 200 years and falls in love with a Scottish warrior named Jamie. I began the series many years ago with the books, then switched to the audiobooks, because I couldn’t read them fast enough! The narrator, Davina Porter, does each character’s voice so well! She became my favorite voice for the main character Claire. I was so excited that the actress in the STARZ series sounded a lot like her. There are many more books and novellas about their lives, and I’ve read them all. If you haven’t read the books yet or intimidated by how large they are, I highly recommend starting with the audiobook.
Twenty years ago, the journey began: Diana Gabaldon swept readers into her mesmerizing world brimming with history, romance, and adventure. Unrivaled storytelling, unforgettable characters, and rich historical detail are the hallmarks of Diana Gabaldon’s novels. Here is the story that started it all, introducing two remarkable characters: Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser. A spellbinding novel of passion and history, that combines exhilarating adventure with a love story for the ages, The Outlander takes readers on an unforgettable journey.
4. The Pillars of the Earth
The Pillars of the Earth is one of my favorite historical fiction books! I’m fascinated by the middle ages and got hooked on Ken Follett novels after reading this book.
The Pillars of the Earth sweeps through four decades of 12th Century England drawing the listener into the raw, flamboyant middle ages. It is a shining saga of good and evil, treachery and intrigue, violence and beauty. Not-so-noble knights, righteous heroes, valiant heroines and both virtuous and immoral men of God highlight this story. They manipulate, and are in turn manipulated by, the political turmoil and unrest between the reigns of Henry I and Henry II. The listener will cheer on the fates of the virtuous and hiss at the evil-doers. A truly fascinating story that the listener will never forget.
5. The Help
This is such a great audiobook with several amazing narrators who nail the voices and take you back in time.
Set in 1962 Mississippi, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women—mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends—view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don’t.
6. The Book Thief
It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still. Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.
7. Alas, Babylon
I read Alas, Babylon in high school and remember loving it! So to refresh my memory, I tried the audiobook. I loved it just as much today, and highly recommend the audio version if you have never read this classic.
When a nuclear holocaust ravages the United States, a thousand years of civilization are stripped away overnight, and tens of millions of people are killed instantly. But for one small town in Florida, miraculously spared, the struggle is just beginning, as men and women of all backgrounds join together to confront the darkness. Will Patton’s narration paints this classic tale as an ominous picture of the terrible possibilities of the nuclear age.
8. Only Time Will Tell
I have to admit that I loved this series by Jeffery Archer. I got hooked on this series after starting book one, Only Time Will Tell, a story that starts in 1920 about a boy named Harry Clifton. This series is an epic tale of the Clifton family that spans for generations. After book one, I couldn’t stop listening! With several narrators, this audiobook series is really great.
This introductory novel in Archer’s ambitious series The Clifton Chronicles includes a cast of colorful characters and takes us from the ravages of the Great War to the outbreak of the Second World War, when Harry must decide whether to take up a place at Oxford or join the navy and go to war with Hitler’s Germany. From the docks of working-class England to the bustling streets of 1940 New York City, Only Time Will Tell takes listeners on a journey through to future volumes, which will bring to life 100 years of recent history to reveal a family story that neither the listener nor Harry Clifton himself could ever have imagined.
9. Front Lines
I wanted to add a book for kids to my list and this is an audiobook that both of my children (ages 14 and 10) and I enjoyed! My son loves anything about World War II and when searching for books to listen to on a long road trip, I found Front Lines by Michael Grant. It’s a fictional story about what it would be like if women were drafted into the war. I thought this would be a great way to mix WWII and story that my daughter might like as well. Now there is a sequel and I can’t wait to read it!
World War II, 1942. A court decision makes women subject to the draft and eligible for service. The unproven American army is going up against the greatest fighting force ever assembled, the armed forces of Nazi Germany. Three girls sign up to fight. Rio Richlin, Frangie Marr, and Rainy Schulterman are average girls, girls with dreams and aspirations, at the start of their lives, at the start of their loves. Each has her own reasons for volunteering: Rio fights to honor her sister; Frangie needs money for her family; Rainy wants to kill Germans. For the first time they leave behind their homes and families—to go to war.
10. The Invention of Wings
Inspired by the historical figure, Sarah Grimke, Sue Monk Kidd tells a rich story in The Invention of Wings. I love that I learned about real historical events from the 1800’s and gained a deeper understanding of slavery and the women who fought to change and educate society during that time.
Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.
Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.
The Secret Life of Bees is also an excellent audiobook written by the same author!
Here’s one more that I almost forgot about…
The Kitchen House
With several narrators, The Kitchen House was definitely one of my favorite historical fiction audiobooks! If you enjoy stories about plantation life during the nineteenth century, you will want to listen to this book.
More Amazing Historical Fiction Books!
Audiobooks have been a new thing for me in the past few years, so here are some of my favorite historical fiction books. I have not listened to the audiobooks, but I’m sure they are good.
- 11-22-63 – Steven King is one of my favorite authors and when I heard he wrote 11-22-63, about a man going back in time to save President Kennedy from being shot, I read it right away! I can’t wait to listen to the audiobook. The sample sounds amazing.
- The Poisonwood Bible – This might be one of my most favorite books ever! I haven’t listened to the audiobook, but highly recommend reading it. It was just so amazing!
- Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption – Wow! One of the best stories ever. I loved this book.
- Memoirs of a Geisha – I read this a long time ago, but it still remains one of my all time favorite books.
- The Red Tent – I loved this book about Dinah from the bible.
- The Thirteenth Tale – A great story full of surprises!
What are your favorite historical fiction audiobooks?
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