“Top 10 Tuesday” ist ein wöchentliches Meme von The Broke and the Bookish
Okay, „Top 10 Books that are set in the Victorian era“ might not be exactly this week’s Top 10 Tuesday topic because officially it’s either „Top Ten Historical Settings You Love/ Ten Historical Settings You’d Love To See“ or „Top Futuristic Books You Love/Ten Futuristic Societies I’d Love To Read in Books“ but since I’m not really into historical fiction it was impossible for me to come up with ten different historical settings that I love and I also didn’t find enough futuristic setting for this list. That’s why I decided to alter this topic a little bit and list 10 amazing books with the only historical setting that I can’t get enough of and that’s the Victorian era.
I absolutely love reading about the late 19th century because it’s not only the age of Sherlock Holmes and Jack the Ripper but also because so many of this stories are set in the Victorian London. London is my absolute favorite city and I find this place even more exciting in the dark and brutal version of today’s modern metropolis. For my list I also included books that are not set in Britain but in American places that were influenced by the Victorian era such as New England which are often quite similar to 19th century’s London.
Moriarty – Anthony Horowitz
I can’t get enough of stories with Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson but my favorite Sherlock Holmes story is one in which the famous detective doesn’t even appear: „Moriarty“ by Anthony Horowitz. This story takes place after Sherlock’s and Moriarty’s „death“ at the Reichenbach falls and even though none of the usual Arthur Conan Doyle characters appear in this story it never lacks the typical Sherlock Holmes feeling and the plot twist in the end is just one of the best and most exciting I’ve ever read.
Mayhem – Sarah Pinborough
Most of the stories that are set in the Victorian London are about Jack the Ripper but this one is about another gruesome series of murders that took place between 1887 and 1889, the „Thames Torso Murders“, and even the protagonist, police surgeon Thomas Bond, is a person that actually lived at this time. I really liked how Sarah Pinborough mixed these historical facts with some dark fantasy elements and all this made for a very exciting and intense horror thriller.
Dust and Shadow – Lyndsay Faye
As mentioned above two reasons for why I find the Victorian era so exciting are Sherlock Holmes and Jack the Ripper and this story has them BOTH \o/ This story is told through the journal of Dr. John Watson and tells the story of Sherlock Holmes‘ hunt after Jack the Ripper and even though the detective is just a fictional unlike the famous serial killer Lyndsay Faye succeeds at making this story appear very authentic and believable due to staying very close to the historical facts of the Ripper killings. So if you’re interested in Sherlock Holmes and Jack the Ripper I strongly recommend reading this book! 😉
The Yard – Alex Grecian
Even though this book doesn’t directly deal with the Ripper killings they still have a huge impact on the story because the investigating and newly founded Murder squad is a result of the terror that Jack the Ripper spread over the city of London because it’s supposed to be Scotland Yard’s answer to the new kind of violence the police has to deal with. And this team is just amazing and the main reason for why I love the whole series so much because every single character is so dedicated to his job and to protecting London from evil and reading these books always feels a bit like meeting good friends.
Letters from a Murderer – John Matthews
This book is not set in Britain but in New York and it deals with the popular theory that Jack the Ripper migrated to America after his London killing spree and continued his murders in the New World. „Letters from a Murderer“ might be a bit superficial when it comes to historical facts but it’s still an interesting and entertaining story and definitely worth reading if you like the Victorian setting.
Jackaby – William Ritter
Imagine Tim Burton doing a Sherlock Holmes retelling and „Jackaby“ is probably exactly what you would get. Mr. Jackaby and his partner Abigail Rook deal with unexplained phenomena in 19th century’s New England and it’s just so much fun to go investigating with this odd but highly entertaining duo and encounter all kinds of supernatural creatures.
A Study in Scarlet – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
This list wouldn’t be complete without the most popular fictional character of the Victorian era and of course it’s Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective Sherlock Holmes. I have to admit that I don’t find all of the original stories that entertaining but I really like Sherlock’s very first case and it was very interesting for me to compare it to the very first episode of the BBC show. It’s definitely one of my favorite classics!
The Sherlockian – Graham Moore
If you like Sherlock Holmes than you definitely also need to read „The Sherlockian“ by Graham Moore because it’s just the perfect read for every Sherlock Holmes nerd since the protagonist of this story is a big Sherlock fan himself and the story even starts with a murder at a Sherlock Holmes convention that is attended by lots of massive Conan Doyle fanboys. Even though this part of the story takes place in the 21st century this book still qualifies for this list because the other half of the story is about a murder investigation in 1901 in which no other than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself and „Dracula“ author Bram Stoker are the investigators – and that’s just as awesome as it sounds 😉
Murder as a fine art – David Morrell
Just like Sarah Pinborough’s „Mayhem“ this story is based on historical facts and deals with a series of murders that become known as the „Ratcliffe Highway murders“ in the early 19th century in London. And again the main character is a person that really existed, the opium-addicted writer Thomas de Quincey who assists Scotland Yard as some kind of early profiler in a copycat crime that echoes the Ratcliffe Highway murders. If you want to learn about crime fighting in the Victorian era then this is the right book for you because David Morrell gives a lot of background information about the 19th century that make this read both exciting and informative.
The Monstrumologist – Rick Yancey
Last but not least: if you’ve had enough of Jack the Ripper and other historical psychopaths and would rather like to read about „real“ monsters than you definitely have to check out Rick Yancey’s Monstrumologist series that takes place in New England in 1888 and which is about a teenage boy who grows up under a scientist that is obsessed with researching all kinds of monsters. Even though these books are labeled YA they are very dark, violent and gory and come with very complex characters that make these books such unique reads.