These five books represent the best historical fiction of 2018. If you're a fan of the genre, make sure you add them to your reading list.

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A young woman reading one of the best historical fiction books of 2018.
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The best historical fiction novels give you a break from the real world. There’s no better way to escape work, anxiety, and stressful news cycles than by picking up a book—especially one that transports you to a completely different time and place. Whether you want to travel back to 18th Century Paris or Queen Elizabeth II’s royal wedding at Westminster Abbey, these five historical fiction novels—the best of 2018—will take you around the world and give you a dose of nostalgia.

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Next Year in Havana, by Chanel Cleeton
Credit: Courtesy of Penguin Random House

1 Next Year in Havana, by Chanel Cleeton

Chanel Cleeton put her heart into this story. And as you read it, it will steal a piece of your heart, too. Next Year in Havana unfolds in alternating timelines between 1950s Havana and present-day Miami. In 1958, 19-year-old Elisa’s family must flee from their home after an illicit affair. Decades later, in 2017, Elisa’s granddaughter Marisol returns to Havana with her grandmother’s ashes. With sweeping romances and complicated political history, it’s no surprise that Next Year in Havana was Reese Witherspoon’s July book club pick.

To buy: $18,

New Paperback Books The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah
Credit: Amazon

2 The Great Alone, by Kristin Hannah

War stories are a staple of the historical fiction genre. But while many titles dazzle you with a sweeping stars-and-stripes romance, few tackle the tough times that come after the war ends or the realities of life as a veteran. The Great Alone is an emotional read about a former POW who seeks a fresh start after the Vietnam War. He moves his wife and daughter to Alaska, but the darkness—both outside and within—inevitably seeps in again.

To buy: $20,

Cover of A Well-Behaved Woman, by Therese Anne Fowler
Credit: Courtesy of Simon & Schuster

3 A Well-Behaved Woman, by Therese Anne Fowler

In 1875, Alva Smith married into the Vanderbilt family, determined to put her new surname to work for her. Though Alva’s life appeared perfect on the outside—she helped found The Metropolitan Opera and once threw a famous $3 million costume ball—things weren’t as glamorous as they seemed. Travel back in time and learn more about one of the world’s most prominent socialites before she became one of the world’s most prominent suffragists.

To buy: $18,

Cover of The Gown, by Jennifer Robson
Credit: Courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers

4 The Gown, by Jennifer Robson

Even though Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding was back in May, the world still has royal fever. If you’re obsessed with all things Royal family, especially the glamorous nuptials, you’ll deeply enjoy The Gown, a novel about the women who made Queen Elizabeth II’s elegant wedding dress for her marriage to Prince Philip back in 1947. But it’s about more than just a gown. It’s also about feminism, anti-semitism, and healing.

To buy: $12,

Out December 31.

Cover of Little, by Edward Carey
Credit: Courtesy of Penguin Random House

5 Little, by Edward Carey

Little is a fictionalized version of the life of Marie Grosholtz. Or, as you know her: Madame Tussaud of wax museum fame. After losing both of her parents by the age of seven, Marie, a.k.a. Little, worked as an apprentice for a man making wax castings of human heads. She learned the art of wax modeling and survived in gritty Paris, where heads were rolling—both real and wax. Little is a dark, fascinating, and peculiar story about art and class before and after the French Revolution.

To buy: $18,