YA Historical Fiction for Downton Abbey Fans

Updated from the original post on Read.Breathe.Relax.com

As we have some waiting to do until Downton Abbey Season 5 premieres, let's get our fill of rich period dramas elsewhere. Like with some delightful YA historical fiction.

YA Historical Fiction for Downton Abbey Fans


Aristocratic England
  • Cinders and Sapphires by Leila Rasheed -- I adored this YA version of Downton Abbey (a tagline for the book is "At Somerton"). It's probably the closest YA fans will get to reliving a Downton Abbey type time and period setting.
  • Gilt by Katherine Longshore -- Fans of the Tudor era, will love this take on King Henry VIII's court. Oh, the intrigue...
  • The Season by Sarah MacLean -- Full of coming out parties and tons of frilly dresses, The Season is set in Regency England. If you're needing an aristocratic fix, then check it out.
  • Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan -- A young girl working for Queen Elizabeth as a spymaster? Royal service has never been this exciting or dangerous.

The 20s
  • The Diviners by Libba Bray -- There is so much sass in this New York City set 20s book. The era-specific sayings and the spunk of the main character Evie will make you think you've accidentally slipped into a speakeasy.
  • Born of Illusion by Teri Brown -- Absolutely loved this book. Harry Houdini, spooky seances and jazz music create a gorgeous backdrop for the mystery and magic in this YA historical fiction novel.
  • Vixen by Jillian Larkin -- Channeling The Great Gatsby to the max, Vixen follows three girls' lives as they deftly navigate their way during the Roaring 20s. Cigarettes and bobbed hair included.

Historical Fantasy
  • Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers -- This book is set in an altered medieval England and places the characters beside the gloomy and ancient convent of St. Mortain. Definitely an atmospheric read.
  • Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard -- It's late 1800s in Philadelphia. And zombies are loose in the city. The historical landmarks in the city are fun to pick out...during all the eating of brains.
  • Chantress by Amy Butler Greenfield -- Set in England during the 1600s, Chantress is about Lucy's powerful and magical ability to sing and ensnare. Some reviews says this is more of a middle grade reading age, so make sure you're ok with that before jumping in.
  • The Falconer by Elizabeth May -- This was one of the best books I read last year. The setting is interesting and unique (Scotland, 1844). And, the set-up is killer: Aileana is fighting the trappings of her privileged life to...kill faeries. You'll want to read this one for sure.

Set in Paris
  • The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan -- This is a gorgeous tale of gargoyles and ancient vows, all set in the city of lights. I didn't realize how many YA historical fiction books were set in Paris, but I'm thanful!
  • The Académie by Susanne Dunlap -- Set with some real historical depth, this book is set in Paris around the time of the French Revolution. Exciting and deadly.
  • Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross -- This book combines intrigue and friendship amid the trappings of finery and danger of gossip in France.

New in 2014

  • A Mad, Wicked Folly by Sharon Biggs Waller -- I really appreciated how closely the author followed the actual suffragist events outlined in this book. It's a great tale about woman fighting for the right to vote, and one girl discovering just how far she'll go for her independence.
  • Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman -- In 1930s Munich, Gretchen has a dangerous relative. And his name is Adolf. If that doesn't hook you already, I don't know what will.
  • Manor of Secrets by Katherine Longshore -- This is another read with a very close feel to the Downton Abbey series. We've got the classic dual upper crust/working class perspectives. Cue the scandalous secrets and mixing of social classes!
  • Tsarina by J. Nelle Patrick -- A sort of retelling of the Romanov's and Russia's breakdown of the ruling class, Tsarina is a beautiful story about wealth, status and changing loyalties.

What are your favorite YA historical fiction books?