The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh“In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, it’s also a safe haven after she’s forced to flee her life in Paris. But when a body is found, Celine is forced to battle her attraction for local Sébastien Saint Germain, and suspicions about his guilt, along with her own secrets.”
Cin’s Mark by Zetta Elliott “Taj would do anything to see his mother happy again so when he meets a strange woman, he carefully considers her curious offer: directions to a magical door that will let Taj and his mother escape this world’s misery. But can Taj reach the portal once a vengeful ghost’s wrath is unleashed upon the city?”
Dark and Deepest Red Anna-Marie McLemore “Summer, 1518. A strange sickness sweeps through Strasbourg: women dance in the streets, some until they fall down dead. As rumors of witchcraft spread, suspicion turns toward Lavinia and her family, and Lavinia may have to do the unimaginable to save herself and everyone she loves.”
Dread Nation and Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland. “Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania—derailing the War Between the States and changing the nation forever. In this new America, laws like the Native and Negro Education Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead.”
“After the fall of Summerland, Jane McKeene hoped her life would get simpler: Get out of town, stay alive, and head west to California to find her mother. But nothing is easy when you’re a girl trained in putting down the restless dead, and a devastating loss on the road to a protected village called Nicodemus has Jane questioning everything she thought she knew about surviving in 1880s America.”
Finishing School series by Gail Carriger. First book Etiquette and Espionage. “At Mademoiselle Geraldine’s, young ladies learn to finish…everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but they also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage–in the politest possible ways, of course. Fourteen-year-old Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year’s education.”
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee “Henry “Monty” Montague doesn’t care that his roguish passions are far from suitable for the gentleman he was born to be. But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quests for pleasure and vice are in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.
The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi “To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie calls upon a band of unlikely experts. Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive.”
His Fair Assassin by Robin LaFevers. First book Grave Mercy. “Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny: be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death.”
His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik. “Aerial combat brings a thrilling new dimension to the Napoleonic Wars as valiant warriors rise to Britain’s defense by taking to the skies . . . not aboard aircraft but atop the mighty backs of fighting dragons. When HMS Reliant captures a French frigate and seizes its precious cargo, an unhatched dragon egg, fate sweeps Capt. Will Laurence into an uncertain future–and an unexpected kinship with a most extraordinary creature.”
How I Became a Ghost and When A Ghost Talks, Listenby Tim Tingle“Told in the words of Isaac, a Choctaw boy who does not survive the Trail of Tears, this is a tale of innocence and resilience in the face of tragedy. Isaac leads a remarkable foursome of Choctaw comrades: a tough-minded teenage girl, a shape-shifting panther boy, a lovable five-year-old ghost who only wants her mom and dad to be happy, and Isaac’s talking dog, Jumper.”
“Ten-year-old Isaac, now a ghost, continues to follow his people as they walk the Choctaw Trail of Tears headed to Indian Territory in what will one day become Oklahoma. There have been surprises aplenty on their trek, but now Isaac and his three Choctaw comrades learn they can time travel.”
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, & Jodi Meadows “At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane gets to be Queen of England…Like that could go wrong.”
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld “The Leviathan is a whale airship, and the most masterful beast in the British fleet. Aleksandar Ferdinand, a Clanker, and Deryn Sharp, a Darwinist, are on opposite sides of the war. But their paths cross in the most unexpected way, taking them both aboard the Leviathan on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure….One that will change both their lives forever.”
I was looking for this list specifically for historical fantasy set in our world – as always, if you have favorites that would fit with this list, please let me know!