15 Best Authors Like Kate Quinn with Powerful Women in Historical Fiction

Discover 15 authors like Kate Quinn to expand your library with historical fiction novels featuring inspirational characters to transport you to the past.

Kate Quinn is best known for her historical fiction books with shocking plot twists. Her popular books The Huntress and The Alice Network highlight invincible women and earned her The New York Times and USA Today bestselling author mark. She published another hit novel set in World War II, The Rose Code, which follows a blue-blooded debutante, a sharp-tongued London girl, and a crossword-solver as they became codebreakers at Bletchley Park.

Readers love Quin’s wit and vivid character descriptions that make her novels stand out amongst the crowd. If you’re interested in this topic, you’ll love our round-up of the best authors like Nora Roberts!

Here Are The Best Authors Like Kate Quinn

1. Chanel Cleeton, unknown

Chanel Cleeton is a Cuban-American author who applies her experience when her family was in exile after the Cuban revolution to her writing. She explores her identity and family history in one of her best books, Next Year in Havana, which earned the 2018’s Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick. The story follows Mirasol Ferrera, who travels to her grandmother Elisa’s birth country, Cuba, to scatter her ashes. But she unexpectedly discovers her family’s greatest secrets instead.

“Sometimes the bravest thing you can do is decide to leave when it is no longer wise to stay.”

Chanel Cleeton, Next Year in Havana
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Next Year in Havana: Reese's Book Club (A Novel)
  • Cleeton, Chanel (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 400 Pages - 02/06/2018 (Publication Date) - Berkley (Publisher)

2. Heather Morris, unknown

Heather Morris
Heather Morris at Comic-Con San Diego, 2010

Morris’s book The Tattooist of Auschwitz is based on the life and love story of Lale and Gita Sokolov in a Nazi camp. It’s a dark story that contains graphic scenes and depicts the main characters’ fortitude despite harrowing events as they fight for their survival and freedom. It sold over eight million copies globally and was one of the New York Times bestselling paperback trade fiction of 2019. If you like Quinn’s The Alice Network, you’ll love Morris’s Cilka’s Journey: A Novel, the story of an innocent young woman who survives Auschwitz but is imprisoned again in a Siberian camp.

“It’s only your own space if you make it yours.”

Heather Morris, The Tattooist of Auschwitz

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3. Esi Edugyan, 1978 –

Esi Edugyan
Esi Edugyan at Eden Mills Writer’s Festival, 2018

Born in 1978, Esi Edugyan is an influential, award-winning, and best-selling Canadian author of historical fiction. As a black woman, her novels revolve around her ancestor’s experiences during WWII, racism, and mental health. She is the first-ever black woman and the third to win Canada’s most prestigious literary award, the Scotiabank Giller Prize twice, with her books Half-Blood Blues and Washington Black inspired by the true story of the Tichborne case.

“You were more concerned that slavery should be a moral stain upon white men than by the actual damage it wreaks on black men.”

Esi Edugyan, Washington Black
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Half-Blood Blues: A Novel
  • Edugyan, Esi (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 321 Pages - 02/28/2012 (Publication Date) - Picador (Publisher)

4. Kristin Hannah, 1960 –

Kristin Hannah is an excellent author of historical fiction who writes about powerful heroines and notable historical moments. First up is Goodreads’ Best Historical Fiction of 2015, The Nightingale, about two sisters fighting for their lives and freedom during WWII. Another great read is The Four Winds, which tells the story of Elsa Martinelli and others who lived through the Great Depression Era.

The Nightingale has more than 4.5 million copies sold worldwide and has been adapted into a movie. The Four Winds is Hannah’s third overall bestselling novel, with over 550,000 copies sold, and is also the top New York Times bestselling fiction book in 2021. You can also check out these authors like William Boyd.

“If I have learned anything in this long life of mine, it is this: in love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are.”

Kristin Hannah, The Nightingale
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The Nightingale: A Novel
  • Hannah, Kristin (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 608 Pages - 04/25/2017 (Publication Date) - St. Martin's Griffin (Publisher)

5. Ruth Downie, 1955 –

Ruth “R.S.” Downie was fascinated that Roman soldiers could not marry but had affairs with local women. She used this as an inspiration and eventually became a famous British author of crime novels set in the Roman empire. The introductory book of her famous series, Medicus, is one of the seven book recommendations in the best thrillers for Christmas by The Times. It focuses on the troubles and adventures of Gaius Petrius Ruso, a military doctor based in Britain.

“Women are not always what we seem to be. What our reputations would tell you. Nor do we only exist in reference to our fathers, husbands, and sons.”

Ruth Downie, A Year of Ravens
A Year of Ravens: a novel of Boudica's Rebellion
  • Knight, E (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 462 Pages - 11/17/2015 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)

6. Alice Hoffman, 1952 –

Alice Hoffman
Alice Hoffman at BookExpo in New York City, 2019

Alice Hoffman is the best choice if you’re looking for books with heroines, history, and magic. This American novelist has more than 30 novels, including Practical Magic which was made into a film in 1998. It’s an intriguing novel about two sisters who discovered they are witches. Hoffman dedicates her writing to her children and young adult readers. You can also check out Faithful, a story of a car accident survivor who finds solace in rescue dogs when she moves to New York City.

“My darling girl, when are you going to realize that being normal is not necessarily a virtue? It rather denotes a lack of courage.”

Alice Hoffman, Practical Magic

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7. Gina Marie Guadagnino, unknown

Kate Quinn describes’ Guadagnino’s debut novel, The Parting Glass, as “a gem.” It’s a story of two women in 19th century New York City. While Mary hides her identity behind a maid uniform, Charlotte keeps a secret relationship with Mary’s brother. It tackles the issues of social class and sexuality. This author from Manhattan has other works like The Morris-Jumel Mansion Anthology of Fantasy and Paranormal Fiction, an anthology with sci-fi, supernatural, historical fiction, and romance.

“Desire nothing but what is within your reach; for if your desires are unreasonable, you may be certain of disappointments.”

Gina Marie Guadagnino, The Parting Glass
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The Parting Glass
  • Hardcover Book
  • Guadagnino, Gina Marie (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 320 Pages - 03/05/2019 (Publication Date) - Atria Books (Publisher)

8. Heather Webb, unknown

Heather Webb is a seventh-time USA Today bestselling author and winner of the STAR Award for Published Women’s Fiction in 2018, specifically for her collaboration novel with Hazel Gaynor, Last Christmas in Paris. This novel illustrates the impact of World War I and the love that blooms through letters between two best friends. She worked with Kate Quinn and five other bestselling and award-winning authors in Ribbons of Scarlet to write about the six powerful women in the French Revolution that changed the world’s view on women.  

“Love did not conquer all; it only made life more bearable for a short time before it consumed its victims.”

Heather Webb, Rodin’s Lover
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Ribbons of Scarlet: A Novel of the French Revolution's Women
  • Quinn, Kate (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 560 Pages - 10/01/2019 (Publication Date) - William Morrow Paperbacks (Publisher)

9. G.R. Macallister, unknown

Greer Macallister is an author of historical fiction and thrillers. She uses the pen name G.R. Macallister for writing fantasy and fiction and has an epic debut with Scorpica. It’s the first book of her Five Queendoms, a queer series. Her debut novel in historical fiction, The Magician’s Lie, was listed as a USA Today bestseller. It’s about a notorious female magician who only has a night to convince the police that she didn’t kill her husband.

“But this is life, and when bad things come to us, there isn’t much choice. You survive them or you don’t.”

Greer “G.R.” Macallister, The Magician’s Lie
The Magician's Lie: A Novel
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Macallister, Greer (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 328 Pages - 01/13/2015 (Publication Date) - Sourcebooks Landmark (Publisher)

10. Stephanie Dray, 1971 –

Stephanie Dray has collaborated with Kate Quinn three times, and Quinn strongly recommends Dray’s work. Dray is a bestselling New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal, a historical women’s fiction author. This author from Maryland used to write historical fiction with magical realism, but she shifted to creating novels that focused more on historical women’s biographies. It includes The Nile Trilogy series, based on Cleopatra’s daughter’s true story.

“Life is a bargain between bitter and sweet. Because there is a surfeit of bitter, we must savor the rare sweet.”

Stephanie Dray, Daughters of the Nile
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Daughters of the Nile: A Novel of Cleopatra's Daughter Series, Book 3
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Stephanie Dray (Author) - Kyla Garcia (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 01/29/2019 (Publication Date) - Blackstone Publishing (Publisher)

11. Pam Jenoff, unknown

Pam Jenoff uses her experience as a Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Army and Consulate in Poland to create gripping novels like The Lost Girls of Paris. It’s about the sisterhood, courage, and endurance of women in World War II to survive. It earned a New York Times bestseller and Goodreads’ Best Historical Fiction nomination in 2019. Jenoff is now a well-known author who teaches law. If you loved Quinn’s The Huntress, read The Lost Girls of Paris.

“The truth is sometimes the very opposite from what you expect it to be.”

Pam Jenoff, The Lost Girls of Paris
The Lost Girls of Paris: A Novel
  • The Lost Girls of Paris: A Novel Paperback – January 29, 2019
  • Jenoff, Pam (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 384 Pages - 01/29/2019 (Publication Date) - Park Row (Publisher)

12. Stephanie Marie Thornton, 1980 –

Thornton’s depiction of historical women leads to her creation of three USA Today bestsellers. These titles include collaborations with leading historical fiction authors like Kate Quinn. Stephanie Marie Thornton is known for her American Princess novel with Theodore Roosevelt’s daughter Alice. She is the complete opposite of the classy and well-behaved lady expected of her during that time.

Thornton has other stories revolving around American history and Ancient Egypt that you’ll enjoy. Her novels tell the stories of impressive women who rose into positions of power, like Alexander the Great’s wife, Roxana, and Empress Theodora of the Byzantine Empire. You might also be interested in our list of authors like Julia Quinn.

“You never know what you can achieve so long as you never stop trying.”

Stephanie Thornton, The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora
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The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Stephanie Marie Thornton (Author) - Patricia Santomasso (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 07/14/2020 (Publication Date) - Blackstone Publishing (Publisher)

13. Martha Hall Kelly, unknown

If you appreciate tales of women who remained strong through agonizing settings like WWII, you’ll enjoy reading Lilac Girls, which has already sold one million copies. It’s based on a real story and a heroine’s search for happiness, freedom, and love. We also recommend reading Kelly’s Sunflower Sisters if you enjoy Quinn’s The Alice Network and The Rose Code, as the novel also features brave women who defied the norm.

“Somewhere in a corner of our hearts, we are always twenty.”

Martha Hall Kelly, Lilac Girls
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Lilac Girls: A Novel
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Martha Hall Kelly (Author) - Cassandra Campbell, Kathleen Gati, Kathrin Kana (Narrators)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 04/05/2016 (Publication Date) - Random House Audio (Publisher)

14. Debra May Macleod, unknown

Like Quinn’s Empress of Rome Saga, Debra May Macleod’s historical fiction about influential women in Ancient Rome is filled with action and intrigue. She has two trilogies that focus on Vestal Virgins. First is The First Vestals of Rome, set in the 8th century BCE and The Vesta Shadows, which shows the fall of the Roman republic and the rise of empires. You might also enjoy these authors like Mary Kay Andrews.

“You were raised to a great height by our friendship, but mostly through your own extraordinary accomplishments, which all men acknowledged.”

Debra May Macleod, To Be Wolves: A Novel of the Vestal Virgins
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To Be Wolves: A Novel of the Vestal Virgins
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Debra May Macleod (Author) - Esther Wane (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 10/26/2021 (Publication Date) - Blackstone Publishing (Publisher)

15. Fiona Davis, 1966 –

If you want to take a break from historical fiction set in far-off ancient eras, Fiona Davis is your go-to author. GMA Book Club pick of 2020, The Lions of Fifth Avenue, is just one of Davis’ many award-winning works set in New York City. If you’re looking for a similar story to Quinn’s The Diamond Eye, Davis’ The Mongolia Palace is a great choice. Looking for more? Check out our round-up of the best 20th century authors!

“History is made by people in power making decisions, and their notes and writings reveal the decision-making process.”

Fiona Davis, The Lions of Fifth Avenue
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The Lions of Fifth Avenue: A GMA Book Club Pick (A Novel)
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Fiona Davis (Author) - Erin Bennett, Lisa Flanagan (Narrators)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 08/04/2020 (Publication Date) - Penguin Audio (Publisher)
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