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By: Sir Stephen King-Hall

Diary of a U-boat Commander by Sir Stephen King-Hall Diary of a U-boat Commander

The infamous U boats deployed by Germany in the two World Wars have spawned several works of fiction and non-fiction. These deadly vessels were not just efficient and lethal killing machines, but they were also used very effectively in economic blockades. They were positioned primarily to obstruct the conveyance of fuel, food and other essential supplies which the enemy needed to sustain the war effort. In the Diary of a U Boat Commander, the author, Stephen King-Hall draws upon his vast personal experiences as a naval officer in World War I...

By: Frederick Marryat (1792-1848)

The Children of the New Forest by Frederick Marryat The Children of the New Forest

The children of Colonel Beverley, a Cavalier officer killed at the Battle of Naseby are believed to have died in the flames when their house, Arnwood, is burned by Roundhead soldiers. However, they escape and are raised by Joseph Armitage, a gamekeeper in his cottage in the New Forest. The story describes how the children adapt from anaristocratic lifestyle to that of simple cottagers. The children are concealed as the grandchildren of Armitage. Eventually after Armitage’s death, Edward Beverley leaves and works as a secretary for the sympathetic Puritan placed in charge of the Royal land in the New Forest...

Mr. Midshipman Easy by Frederick Marryat Mr. Midshipman Easy

One of the first novel-length pieces of nautical fiction, MR. MIDSHIPMAN EASY (1836) is a funny and easygoing account of the adventures of Jack Easy, a son of privilege who joins the Royal Navy. The work begins as a satire on Jack’s attachment to “the rights of man” that may try the listener’s patience. But despair not, for the story soon settles down as the philosophical midshipman begins his many triumphs over bullies, foul weather, and various damned foreigners of murderous intent.Caveat audiens: This novel employs racial/ethnic epithets and religious stereotypes, as well as taking a rather sunny view of supply-side economics...

Book cover The Privateersman
Book cover Travels and Adventures of Monsieur Violet
Book cover Snarleyyow

This is a quite amusing nautical tale of the British Navy of the around the year 1700. While, as with much early 'humor', it is somewhat heavy-handed, the sympathies of the author are clear and good, and cruelty is often averted by good fortune or background characters. First published under the title 'The Dog Fiend', the primary characters are an evil captain of a cutter and his dog. The dog seems indestructible, as is the poor cabin boy who is the butt of the captain's ill humor, and who often is chewed on by the dog...

Book cover The Travels and Adventures of Monsieur Violet in California, Sonora, and Western Texas
Book cover Newton Forster The Merchant Service
Book cover The Privateer's-Man One hundred Years Ago
Book cover Newton Forster
Book cover Snarleyyow or The Dog Fiend

By: Myrtle Reed

Old Rose and Silver by Myrtle Reed Old Rose and Silver

The novel follows the lives of Rose and her widowed Aunt, Madame Francesca Bernard, along with young visitor and cousin Isabel, whose lives are changed by the return of an old friend and neighbour Colonel Kent, and his grown son, Allison. Other characters that help shape their lives in significant ways are the Crosby twins, unconventional and uninhibited youths that set society at naught, and an unconventional doctor who specializes in the impossible. Through the limited "wide-scope" descriptions...

By: Fanny Burney (1752-1840)

Cecilia: Memoirs of an Heiress by Fanny Burney Cecilia: Memoirs of an Heiress

The plot of Cecilia revolves around the heroine, Cecilia Beverley, whose inheritance from her uncle comes with the stipulation that she find a husband who will accept her name. This proves impossible, and she gives up her fortune to marry for love. Jane Austen referred to Cecilia and other novels in her novel, Northanger Abbey: “’And what are you reading, Miss — ?’ ‘Oh! It is only a novel!’ replies the young lady, while she lays down her book with affected indifference, or momentary shame...

By: Frances Burney (1752-1840)

The Wanderer by Frances Burney The Wanderer

This is the fourth and final novel by Fanny Burney, the author of Evelina, Cecilia, and Camilla. "Who is "Miss Ellis?" Why did she board a ship from France to England at the beginning of the French revolution? Anyway, the loss of her purse made this strange "wanderer" dependent upon the charity of some good people and, of course, bad ones. But she always comforts herself by reminding herself that it's better than "what might have been..." This is not only a mystery, not at all. It's also a romance which reminds readers of novels by Jane Austen...

By: Henry Fielding (1707-1754)

The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling by Henry Fielding The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling

Tom Jones is considered one of the first prose works describable as a novel. The novel is divided into 18 smaller books. Tom Jones is a foundling discovered on the property of a very kind, wealthy landowner, Squire Allworthy. Tom grows into a vigorous and lusty, yet honest and kind-hearted, youth. He develops affection for his neighbor’s daughter, Sophia Western. On one hand, their love reflects the romantic comedy genre popular in 18th-century Britain. However, Tom’s status as a bastard causes Sophia’s father and Allworthy to oppose their love; this criticism of class friction in society acted as a biting social commentary...

The History of the Life of the Late Mr. Jonathan Wild the Great by Henry Fielding The History of the Life of the Late Mr. Jonathan Wild the Great

This novel is sometimes thought of as [Fielding's] first because he almost certainly began composing it before he wrote Shamela and Joseph Andrews. It is a satire of Walpole that draws a parallel between Walpole and Jonathan Wild, the infamous gang leader and highwayman. He implicitly compares the Whig party in Parliament with a gang of thieves being run by Walpole, whose constant desire to be a “Great Man” (a common epithet for Walpole) should culminate only in the antithesis of greatness: being hanged.

By: Sholem Aleichem (1859-1916)

Jewish Children (Yudishe Kinder) by Sholem Aleichem Jewish Children (Yudishe Kinder)

Although written from a child’s perspective, this is not a kids book but a series of funny, poignant, and sometimes disturbing stories about life in a late 19th-century Russian-Jewish village — the world of my grandparents. Sholem Rabinovich (1859-1916) was born in Pereiaslav, Ukraine and later immigrated to New York. His short stories about Tevye and his daughters were freely adapted into the musical FIDDLER ON THE ROOF. Rabinovich’s will contained the following injunction: “Let my name be recalled with laughter or not at all.” His translator, Hannah Berman, was Irish of Lithuanian descent.Some of these stories may be too intense for younger children.

By: William Morris (1834-1896)

The House of the Wolfings by William Morris The House of the Wolfings

William Morris (1834-1896) was a writer, illustrator and medievalist from the Romantic period and associated with other renowned authors of the time such as Dante Rossetti. His fascination with ancient Germanic and Norse people dominated his writings, the first to be set in an entirely invented fantasy world and which helped to establish the fantasy genre. The House of Wolfings (1890), some argue, is a demonstration of Morris' socialism as the society described, though not an utopia, is clan-based, elects leaders and makes decisions in clan tribal meetings...

Book cover A Dream of John Ball; and, a king's lesson

By: William Dean Howells (1837-1920)

Indian Summer by William Dean Howells Indian Summer

In his novel Indian Summer, William Dean Howells presents a mellow but realistic story that has the complete feel of that delightful time of the year, although the plot actually spans several seasons. The Indian summer aspect applies to a sophisticated gentleman, Theodore Colville, who has just entered his middle years as he returns to a scene, Florence, Italy, that played an important part in his early manhood. It was here twenty years earlier that he first fell in love, seemingly successfully until a sudden and harsh rejection...

By: William Harrison Ainsworth (1805-1882)

Windsor Castle, Book 1 by William Harrison Ainsworth Windsor Castle, Book 1

Book 1 - Ann Boleyn. The focus of the novels is on the events surrounding Henry VIII's replacing Catherine of Aragon with Anne Boleyn as his wife. During Henry's pursuit of Boleyn, the novel describes other couples, including the Earl of Surrey and Lady Elizabeth Fitzgerald, a match Henry does not support. However, some of the individuals oppose Henry and his desires for Boleyn, including Thomas Wyat who wants her for himself and Cardinal Wolsey, who uses his own daughter, Mabel Lyndwood, to lure Henry away from Boleyn...

By: Richard D. Blackmore

Lorna Doone, a Romance of Exmoor by Richard D. Blackmore Lorna Doone, a Romance of Exmoor

“If anybody cares to read a simple tale told simply” … thus opens Lorna Doone, one of the best love stories ever written. The novel has inspired at least ten movies and mini-series. “John (in West Country dialect this is pronounced Jan) Ridd is the son of a respectable farmer who was murdered in cold blood by a member of the notorious Doone clan, a once-noble family now living in the isolated Doone Valley. Battling his desire for revenge, John also grows into a respectable farmer and continues to take good care of his mother and two sisters...

By: Giacomo Casanova (1725-1798)

The Memoirs of Jacques Casanova by Giacomo Casanova The Memoirs of Jacques Casanova

This is the first of five volumes. – Giacomo Casanova (1725 in Venice – 1798 in Dux, Bohemia, now Duchcov, Czech Republic) was a famous Venetian adventurer, writer, and womanizer. He used charm, guile, threats, intimidation, and aggression, when necessary, to conquer women, sometimes leaving behind children or debt. In his autobiography Histoire de ma vie (Story of My Life), regarded as one of the most authentic sources of the customs and norms of European social life during the 18th century, he mentions 122 women with whom he had sex...

By: Robert Barr (1849-1912)

A Prince of Good Fellows by Robert Barr A Prince of Good Fellows

Robert Barr (1849 - 1912) was a Scottish Journalist, editor, humorist and author. A Prince of Good Fellows was published in 1902, and is a series of Historical Fiction stories about the young James V, King of Scots (1512 – 1542). The chapters are full of humor and adventure and portrays a young King who is both wise and adventurous.

By: Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-1865)

Sylvia's Lovers by Elizabeth Gaskell Sylvia's Lovers

The novel begins in the 1790s in the coastal town of Monkshaven. Sylvia Robson lives with her parents on a farm, and is loved by her rather dull Quaker cousin Philip. She, however, meets and falls in love with Charlie Kinraid, a sailor on a whaling vessel, and they become engaged, although few people know of the engagement. But Charlie gets press-ganged and have to leave without a word.

By: William Hope Hodgson (1877-1918)

Book cover Boats of the 'Glen Carrig'

Eighteenth-century sailors adrift in a lifeboat encounter strange lands and weird creatures in their search for home. A creepy tale of nautical adventure.

By: Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol

Dead Souls by Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol Dead Souls

Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol, Russian writer, was first published in 1842, and is one of the most prominent works of 19th-century Russian literature. Gogol himself saw it as an “epic poem in prose”, and within the book as a “novel in verse”. Despite supposedly completing the trilogy’s second part, Gogol destroyed it shortly before his death. Although the novel ends in mid-sentence (like Sterne’s Sentimental Journey), it is usually regarded as complete in the extant form. In Russia before the emancipation of the serfs in 1861, landowners were entitled to own serfs to farm their land...

By: James Otis (1848-1912)

Richard of Jamestown: A Story of the Virginia Colony by James Otis Richard of Jamestown: A Story of the Virginia Colony

Richard of Jamestown by James Otis was written for children with the purpose to show them the daily home life of the Virginia colonists. It is written from the viewpoint of a young boy named Richard Mutton.

Ruth of Boston: A Story of the Massachusetts Bay Colony by James Otis Ruth of Boston: A Story of the Massachusetts Bay Colony

James Otis wrote a series of books depicting life in the new colonies, written from a child’s point of view. Ruth of Boston is the story of 12 year old Ruth, coming from London to live in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It gives accounts of what a girl’s daily life might have been like during the beginnings of this colony.

By: Thomas Wentworth Higginson (1823-1911)

Book cover Tales of the Enchanted Islands of the Atlantic

The sea has always been, by the mystery of its horizon, the fury of its storms, and the variableness of the atmosphere above it, the foreordained land of romance. In all ages and with all sea-going races there has always been something especially fascinating about an island amid the ocean. It's very existence has for all explorers an air of magic. The order of the tales in the present work follows roughly the order of development, giving first the legends which kept near the European shore, and then those which, like St...

By: Luis Vaz de Camões (1524-1580)

The Lusiads by Luis Vaz de Camões The Lusiads

The Lusiads (Os Lusíadas) is a Portuguese epic poem, written in the 16th century by Luis Vaz de Camões. The poem tells the tale of the Portuguese discoveries in the 15th and 16th centuries, specially the voyage to India by Vasco da Gama. Modelled after the classic epic tradition, Camões' Lusiads are considered not only the first literary text in Modern Portuguese, but also a national epic of the same level as Vergil's Aeneid. In the 19th century, Sir Richard Francis Burton translated Camões' Lusiads, in what he considered "the most pleasing literary labour of his life".

By: Harrison Ainsworth

The Lancashire Witches by Harrison Ainsworth The Lancashire Witches

The Lancashire Witches is a highly fictionalised account of the activities of the notorious witches Demdike, Chattox and Alice Nutter who, together with others terrorised the district of Lancashire around Pendle Hill and the Forest of Bowland during the early seventeenth century. The witches named in the book were real enough, if not as witches then as people. Ainsworth, in his story brings in the dissolution of Whalley Abbey and the historic families of Assheton, Braddyll and Nowell and takes us through to the final trial and execution at Lancaster Castle in 1612. (Summary by Andy Minter)


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