What is Christian Historical Fiction?

What is Christian historical fiction?

Christian historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, and it’s popular with many other readers as well. Maybe you’re one of them—or will be after reading this!

Here’s a quick look at what Christian historical fiction is and what you can expect from the books I write.

1. Christian historical fiction is . . . Christian.

candle and open Bible

Traditionally, the “Christian” part of Christian historical fiction means the book supports a biblical worldview, and you can expect God and his Word to play a part in the characters’ lives. But that can change, especially as Christian publishers are bought and merged under secular corporations.

Maybe the book’s author espouses a traditionally Christian worldview. Perhaps a character prays or goes to church. Or the book might generally aligns with a biblical statement of faith or explore gritty topics from a faith-based perspective.

In many cases, Christian fiction is better termed inspirational or even simply clean fictionWhile there’s nothing wrong with this, we need more books that combine gripping stories with the truth of Jesus, a focus on his Word, and a growing faith in characters’ lives.

Of course, that’s not to say Christian fiction should be preachy—far from it! In real life, the strongest, most influential faith is woven deeply and inextricably into daily life, and good stories are no different.

2. Christian historical fiction is . . . historical.

quill pen and inkwell

Seems self-evident, doesn’t it? But there’s actually some disagreement as to what qualifies as “historical.” More than fifty years ago? Before a certain historical event?

Right now the most common guideline is pre–Vietnam War. That allows for a lot of history:

  • Ancient times and the biblical era
  • Medieval settings
  • Colonial America
  • Regency England
  • The Old West
  • WWII
  • And everything in between

On the other hand, the level of history in Christian historical fiction is another matter. If we want a history lesson, we can read a history book, right?

But fiction is a great way to glimpse what life might have been like in another time and place, so the best Christian historical fiction incorporates plenty of real history into the fictional story rather than simply dropping a generic plot into a generic historical setting.

Also, the best Christian historical fiction doesn’t play fast and loose with the historical facts, although some liberties might be taken with more flexible details like speech patterns. Trying to replicate centuries-old dialect or historical terminology exactly can make for a painful reading experience, but talented authors like Laura Frantz or Lori Benton can evoke a marvelous historical atmosphere through the careful use of other details.

Ship with Emily Dickinson quote

Also Note:

Another popular type of Christian historical fiction is split-time or dual-timeline fiction, which features two or more storylines, at least one of which is set in a historical era. This is not the same as time travel—in split-time, the stories are distinct from each other, and characters don’t travel between the different eras. Examples are Ashley Clark’s The Dress Shop on King Street or Amanda Dykes’s Whose Waves These Are.

3. Christian historical fiction is . . . fiction.

vintage typewriter

Again, this seems obvious, and it means that no matter how much history is in there, the story didn’t really happen. Because of this, take the author’s bias into account when you weigh a novel’s historical accuracy. Historical fiction also means that, as mentioned above, the story shouldn’t read like a history lesson.

But isn’t it nice to know which parts of the story are true and which parts aren’t? I love it when authors include historical notes, so I try to do that in my own books as well.

Also note that Christian historical fiction isn’t necessarily the same thing as Christian historical romance, even though romance is heavily predominant in the genre. Most Christian historical fiction on the market today has some elements of romance, but not all—my books tend to emphasize storylines and relationships other than romance.

What you can expect from my Christian historical fiction:


  • Characters who live out their biblical beliefs in their reactions to the circumstances the author life throws at them (or their response when they’ve reacted wrongly).
  • Clear, growing faith that is expressed through dialogue as well as action, though never in a way that hijacks the story.
  • Uplifting content—even when there’s danger or darkness for characters to fight against, you can expect to end the story without feeling like you’ve seen a movie you wish you hadn’t seen. That goes for romantic elements, language, and graphic violence.
  • Scripture woven into the story, because the Word of God is what changes lives—even fictional ones.
  • Stories that bend to the facts, not the other way around, and a definite historical setting that features real events and how they might have affected people.
  • Little-known history (like the Regulator Uprising or the South Campaign of the American Revolution) that is not as familiar as, say, Paul Revere’s ride.
  • Less emphasis on romance, more emphasis on friendship and family bonds.
  • An evocative, storytelling style of writing.
  • Adventure, a touch of humor, and engaging characters with snappy dialogue and relatable struggles.
faith, family, freedom
biblical themes, relatable characters, touch of humor
action, adventure, storytelling

Now that you’ve read my thoughts on Christian historical fiction, I want to hear from you—do you have some favorite Christian historical fiction authors? If so, or even if not, check out my Christian Historical Fiction shelf on Goodreads and compare notes! Some of these books are Christian historical romance, while some are just plain Christian historical fiction. Some are set entirely in the past, and others are split-timeline.

If you have recommendations you think I should read, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Contact me and let me know what I’m missing.

Discover a new Christian historical fiction favorite:

Christian historical fiction Preacher on the Run

Preacher on the Run: A Novel of Early America

For Liberty & Conscience #1


It’s 1771, and revolution is on the horizon. Frontier preacher Robert Boothe has spent the last four years leading resistance against North Carolina’s corrupt British government.

All he wants is a place for his people to worship God without fear. He’ll do whatever it takes to protect them—and his wife and young daughter. They’ve always known the danger, but he never meant to test their faith as much as his own.

But when Colonel Charles Drake arrives in their settlement, silencing Robert is his best chance to win the governor’s favor. And Robert refuses to back down.

On one side stands the power of the Crown. On the other stands a man of daring conviction. When his family and flock are caught in the crossfire, how far will Robert go to keep them safe?

Or sign up for a free Christian historical fiction short story!

books by Jayna Baas Christian historical fiction Promise of Refuge

Sign up for a free copy of this short story and join young circuit rider Robert Boothe, his loyal teenage brother, and one courageous young woman on their quest to help an old friend in colonial North Carolina. Promise of Refuge is a prequel to Preacher on the Run but can also be read as a standalone story.

You’ll also receive book news, special announcements, and a monthly newsletter filled with updates, a word of the month, interesting trivia, Christ-centered encouragement, book recommendations, and more.

I’ll never sell your email address, and you can unsubscribe at any time. May I send you this free sample of my writing?