The Greatest "Canada, Historical fiction" Books of All Time

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 305 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed books. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details can be found on the rankings page.

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The "Canada" category for books would encompass literature that is set in, written by, or about Canada and its people. This category would include a wide range of genres, such as fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and memoirs, and would explore various themes related to Canadian culture, history, and identity. Books in this category would offer readers a unique perspective on Canada and its diverse communities, landscapes, and experiences.

Historical fiction

Historical fiction is a genre of literature that combines fictional stories with real historical events, settings, and characters. These books often take place in a specific time period and are based on research and factual information, but also include imaginative elements to create a compelling narrative. Historical fiction allows readers to experience the past in a unique and engaging way, while also providing insight into the social, cultural, and political issues of the time.

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  1. 1. Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

    The book follows the life of a young orphan girl who is mistakenly sent to live with an elderly brother and sister who originally wanted to adopt a boy to help them with their farm in Prince Edward Island. Despite the initial disappointment, the girl's charm, vivacity, and imagination soon win over her new guardians. The story details her adventures and mishaps in her new home, her struggles and triumphs at school, and her gradual maturing into a smart, independent young woman.

    The 269th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje

    "The English Patient" is a story of four diverse individuals brought together at an Italian villa during the final days of World War II. The narrative revolves around a severely burned man who can't remember his name or past, a young Canadian nurse who tends to him, a Sikh British Army sapper, and a Canadian thief. As they navigate their own traumas and losses, the past of the mysterious patient slowly unravels, revealing a tale of love, identity, and betrayal.

    The 478th Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. Obasan by Joy Kogawa

    The book is a semi-autobiographical novel that tells the story of a Japanese-Canadian woman named Naomi, who reflects on her experiences during World War II. As a child, Naomi was forced into internment along with thousands of other Japanese-Canadians, following the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The narrative explores the themes of racism, identity, silence, and the power of memory, as Naomi grapples with the trauma of her past and the impact of her cultural heritage on her present life.

    The 841st Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

    The novel is a complex narrative that weaves together the story of two sisters in early 20th century Canada, one of whom publishes a scandalous novel that leads to her suicide. The surviving sister, now an elderly woman, reflects on their lives, revealing family secrets, heartbreak, and the truth behind the scandalous novel. The narrative is interspersed with excerpts from the controversial book, a science fiction story within a story, adding layers of intrigue and mystery.

    The 847th Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. The Plot Against America by Philip Roth

    This novel presents an alternate history where aviator-hero and rabid isolationist Charles Lindbergh is elected President in 1940, leading the United States towards fascism and anti-Semitism. The story is narrated through the perspective of a working-class Jewish family in Newark, New Jersey, experiencing the political shift and its terrifying consequences. The narrative explores themes of prejudice, fear, patriotism, and family bonds under the shadow of a fascist regime.

    The 1068th Greatest Book of All Time
  6. 6. The Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies

    "The Deptford Trilogy" is a series of interconnected novels that explore the life of a man from a small Canadian town named Deptford, and the ripple effects of a single childhood event that shaped the lives of three boys. The narrative weaves themes of love, guilt, art, and the complexity of human nature. The story is told from multiple perspectives and spans several decades, providing a deep exploration of the characters' psychological and spiritual development.

    The 1179th Greatest Book of All Time
  7. 7. Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels

    "Fugitive Pieces" is a novel that explores the life of a Holocaust survivor who is rescued as a young boy by a Greek geologist. The boy grows up to become a poet and translator, haunted by his traumatic past and the loss of his family. The story also includes the perspective of a young professor who is obsessed with the poet's work, digging into the poet's past to understand his own life. The novel delves into themes of memory, loss, and the power of language.

    The 1505th Greatest Book of All Time
  8. 8. Fifth Business by Robertson Davies

    The novel follows the life of Dunstan Ramsay, a man haunted by a childhood accident that he believes he caused. The book explores his guilt and its impact on his life, as well as his relationships with others, including a woman he loves but cannot have, a brilliant but troubled friend, and a saintly fool. Throughout his life, Ramsay seeks redemption and understanding in the realms of history, mythology, and religion.

    The 1814th Greatest Book of All Time
  9. 9. Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

    This historical fiction novel centers around the true story of Grace Marks, a 19th-century Irish-Canadian maid who was convicted of the brutal murders of her employer and his housekeeper. The narrative is told from the perspective of Grace herself, as well as a young psychiatrist who is trying to determine whether Grace is truly guilty. The book explores themes of memory, culpability, and the treatment of women in society.

    The 1937th Greatest Book of All Time
  10. 10. The Tin Flute by Gabrielle Roy

    "The Tin Flute" is a poignant narrative set in the working-class district of Montreal during World War II. The story revolves around a young woman who struggles with poverty and the harsh realities of her life while dreaming of a better future. Despite the harshness of her life, she constantly battles to keep her family together and to find love and happiness, even in the most challenging circumstances. The book vividly portrays the struggles of the working class, the impact of war, and the human spirit's resilience.

    The 2443rd Greatest Book of All Time
  11. 11. The Diviners by Margaret Laurence

    "The Diviners" is a novel about a woman named Morag Gunn who grows up in small-town Manitoba, Canada, and becomes a successful novelist. The story follows Morag's life from childhood to adulthood, exploring her relationships, struggles, and personal growth. The narrative delves into themes of identity, memory, and the importance of understanding one's past. The protagonist's journey to self-discovery and acceptance is interwoven with the broader cultural and historical context of Canada in the mid-20th century.

    The 2443rd Greatest Book of All Time
  12. 12. Shadows on the Rock by Willa Cather

    Set in the late 17th century, the novel explores the lives of French colonists in Quebec City. It focuses on the daily experiences of a French apothecary and his young daughter, illuminating their struggles and joys as they navigate the harsh realities of frontier life. The narrative delves into themes of faith, identity, and the human spirit's resilience, offering an intimate portrait of early colonial life in North America.

    The 2636th Greatest Book of All Time
  13. 13. The Engineer of Human Souls by Josef Škvorecký

    The novel is a semi-autobiographical narrative of a Czechoslovakian writer who has become a professor at a Canadian university, teaching American literature. The narrative switches between his current life in Canada and his memories of the past in Czechoslovakia, including the Nazi occupation and the Communist regime. The book presents a complex portrayal of the life of an intellectual in exile and the challenges of cultural assimilation, while also exploring themes of love, politics, and the power of literature.

    The 2739th Greatest Book of All Time
  14. 14. The Wars by Timothy Findley

    "The Wars" is a historical novel that follows the life of a young Canadian soldier, Robert Ross, during World War I. The narrative explores Ross's experiences in the war, his struggles with his own morality, and the harsh realities of the battlefield. The book also delves into the psychological impact of war on soldiers, as well as the effects of war on animals, which Ross is particularly sensitive to. Through non-linear storytelling, the novel provides a visceral and poignant commentary on the brutality and senselessness of war.

    The 2739th Greatest Book of All Time
  15. 15. The Moccasin Maker by E. Pauline Johnson

    "The Moccasin Maker" is a collection of short stories and essays that delve into the lives and experiences of Indigenous people at the turn of the 20th century. Through a blend of fiction and autobiographical elements, the work explores themes of identity, cultural conflict, and the impact of colonization on Indigenous communities in Canada. The author, herself of mixed heritage, provides a nuanced portrayal of the struggles and resilience of her characters, often challenging the prevailing stereotypes and offering a unique perspective on the complexities of living between two worlds. The stories are notable for their rich characterizations and the author's lyrical prose, which captures the beauty and sorrow of the cultural landscape she describes.

    The 3462nd Greatest Book of All Time
  16. 16. I Heard The Owl Call My Name by Margaret Craven

    In this poignant novel, a young vicar is unknowingly sent to a remote Native American village in British Columbia after being diagnosed with a terminal illness. Unaware of his fate, he immerses himself in the lives of the Kwakiutl community, learning their traditions, struggles, and the encroaching pressures of the modern world. As he forms deep connections and confronts the meaning of life and death, he experiences a profound personal transformation. The story is a tender exploration of cultural understanding, spiritual growth, and the poignant beauty of human connections in the face of mortality.

    The 3462nd Greatest Book of All Time
  17. 17. Purple Springs by Nellie L. McClung

    "Purple Springs" is a novel that continues the journey of its spirited protagonist, a young woman from the Canadian prairies who is determined to fight for women's rights and social justice. Set in the early 20th century, the narrative follows her as she navigates the challenges of political activism, advocating for suffrage, and pushing against the societal norms that restrict women's roles. Through her personal growth, community involvement, and unwavering commitment to her cause, the story captures the essence of the feminist movement of the time, highlighting the importance of perseverance, education, and the power of collective action in effecting change.

    The 3462nd Greatest Book of All Time
  18. 18. Fall On Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald

    "Fall On Your Knees" is a multi-generational saga set in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, that explores themes of family, love, betrayal, and secrets. The story revolves around the Piper family, specifically four sisters, their father James, and their mother Materia. The narrative weaves through time, revealing the family's complex relationships, the impact of racial and cultural tensions, and the dark secrets that have shaped their lives. This novel is a deep exploration of family dynamics, love, and the power of secrets.

    The 4474th Greatest Book of All Time
  19. 19. The Devil Is Loose by Antonine Maillet

    "The Devil Is Loose" is a narrative that delves into the folklore and superstitions of a small Acadian village, where the sudden appearance of a mysterious stranger coincides with a series of inexplicable events. The villagers, immersed in their traditional beliefs and tales of the supernatural, begin to suspect that the devil himself may be walking among them, causing fear and chaos. As the story unfolds, it explores themes of fear, the power of myth, and the human tendency to seek explanations in the face of the unknown, all while painting a vivid picture of Acadian culture and the tight-knit community's response to perceived evil.

    The 4787th Greatest Book of All Time
  20. 20. The Cunning Man by Robertson Davies

    The novel follows the life of a Toronto doctor who uses his knowledge of medicine and his understanding of human nature to treat his patients. He believes in the healing power of the human spirit and often uses unconventional methods to treat his patients. The narrative is filled with his interesting patients and their stories, as well as his own personal journey. The book also explores themes of spirituality, love, and the complexities of human nature.

    The 5066th Greatest Book of All Time
  21. 21. Disappearing Moon Cafe by Sky Lee

    The novel weaves a multi-generational tale centered around a Chinese-Canadian family in Vancouver, exploring the complexities of identity, gender, and history. As the family's story unfolds, secrets are uncovered, including a mysterious disappearance and a hidden affair, which reveal the intricate ways in which personal and collective histories are intertwined. The narrative delves into the struggles of immigration, the search for belonging, and the impact of past traumas on the present, all set against the backdrop of the eponymous café that serves as a focal point for the community's social and emotional exchanges.

    The 5106th Greatest Book of All Time
  22. 22. Child Of Her People by Anne Cameron

    "Child of Her People" is a poignant narrative that delves into the life of a young Indigenous girl who is taken from her family and community under the guise of education and assimilation. The story unfolds in Canada during a time when Indigenous children were forcibly placed in residential schools, a practice rooted in colonial policies aimed at eradicating Indigenous cultures and languages. The novel explores the girl's struggle to maintain her identity and the deep sense of loss and resilience that comes with being torn from one's heritage. Through her journey, the book sheds light on the broader impact of cultural genocide on Indigenous communities, while also celebrating the strength and survival of Indigenous peoples and their traditions.

    The 5174th Greatest Book of All Time
  23. 23. Solomon Gursky Was Here by Mordecai Richler

    This novel is a sprawling epic that traces the multi-generational saga of the Gursky family, rumored to have been inspired by the real-life Bronfman dynasty, Canadian liquor magnates. At its core, it follows the enigmatic figure of Solomon Gursky, whose life is shrouded in myth and mystery, from his forebears' escape from Jewish persecution in Europe to his own adventures in the Arctic, and the eventual establishment of a powerful business empire in North America. Through the eyes of Moses Berger, a writer obsessed with uncovering the truth about Solomon, the narrative delves into themes of identity, legacy, and the complexities of the human condition, all set against the backdrop of Canada's development and cultural history.

    The 5484th Greatest Book of All Time
  24. 24. The Terror by Dan Simmons

    "The Terror" is a historical fiction and horror novel that follows the ill-fated Franklin Expedition. The crew of two British Royal Navy ships are trapped in the Arctic ice, where they face not only the harsh environmental conditions but also a mysterious and brutal monster that stalks them in the endless night. The novel combines historical and survival themes with supernatural horror, creating a chilling and suspenseful atmosphere.

    The 6131st Greatest Book of All Time
  25. 25. Washington Black by Esi Edugyan

    "Washington Black" is a historical novel by Esi Edugyan that tells the story of a young slave named George Washington Black, who is forced to flee a plantation in Barbados with the help of his master's brother. The two embark on a journey that takes them across the globe, from the Caribbean to the Arctic, and Washington Black discovers his talent for scientific illustration. Along the way, he faces challenges and struggles with his identity as a black man in a world dominated by white men. The novel explores themes of freedom, identity, and the impact of colonialism on individuals and societies.

    The 6559th Greatest Book of All Time

Reading Statistics

Click the button below to see how many of these books you've read!


If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.