19th Century Novels & Historical Fiction


There are links to around 600 works of fiction – novels and historical fiction – on Century Past History, divided between the Century Past Library and the History of the Great Lakes States. As with everything on this website, the works are free and online.

Century Past Library has about 300 works of fiction. The titles, and links to their pages, can be found at the Directory of Fiction. These were nearly all published between the mid-1800s and 1923, and are copyright-free. They can all be read online, and most can be downloaded.

The History of the Great Lakes States has over 300 works of fiction, spread throughout six “Fiction” pages; one for each of our five states and one for the Great Lakes region. Go to the History of the Great Lakes States Home page, scroll down to the Fiction box in the center column, and you’ll find links to all six pages. The majority of these novels were, like those at Century Past Library, published before 1923 and are copyright free. However, some of these pages also contain recent works, which can be ‘borrowed’ at the Internet Archive to read online. Most of the authors of the novels on these pages were from the Great Lakes region.

Note: You’ll find that many of the older novels were described in their subtitles as Romances. Don’t be misled by this word, as it had a different meaning in the 19th century than today. It usually does not indicate that the book was a love story. Per this definition from Merriam-Webster.com, a “Romance” was, “a prose narrative treating imaginary characters involved in events remote in time or place and usually heroic, adventurous, or mysterious.”


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