Books set in the Victorian times

The Adventures of the New Cut Gang

These fiction books are all set in the nineteenth century, and are suitable for ages 7-11.

They provide an insight into Victorian lives, shining a light on different aspects of society, with settings as varied as Cardiff, London and a travelling circus. They are all realistic stories.

  • Hetty Feather

    Author: Jacqueline Wilson Illustrator: Nick Sharratt
    Publisher: Yearling
    Interest age: 8+
    Reading age: 7+

    Nick Sharratt's silhouettes perfectly reflect the mood of Jacqueline Wilson's first historical fiction, set in London's Foundling Hospital in the 1870s.

  • Maisie Hitchins: The Case of the stolen Sixpence

    Author: Holly Webb Illustrator: Marion Lindsay
    Publisher: Stripes Publishing
    Interest age: 7-9
    Reading age: 7+

    A delightful story with Maisie, a detective, on a mission to find out who stole the sixpence that landed the butcher's boy in trouble. This is a fast-paced story with lovely Victorian detail.

  • The Adventures of the New Cut Gang

    Author: Philip Pullman Illustrator: Martin Brown
    Publisher: David Fickling Books
    Interest age: 8-9
    Reading age: 9+

    The New Cut Gang are a rag-tag group of resourceful young rascals who get up to all manner of adventures on the streets of Victorian Lambeth.

  • Nush and the Stolen Emerald

    Author: Jasbinder Bilan
    Publisher: Chicken House
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Can Nush find her family’s emerald in Queen Victoria’s palaces? A jewel of a book – shining a light on historical events through memorable characters and a pacy plot. 

  • The Curio Collectors

    Author: Eloise Williams Illustrator: Anna Shepeta
    Publisher: Barrington Stoke
    Interest age: 6-8
    Reading age: 7+

    Can Lily and Tom help their new friend find the special treasure her mother left for her? An engaging historical mystery, set in a dyslexia-friendly way.

  • Far From Home

    Author: Berlie Doherty
    Publisher: HarperCollins
    Interest age: 7+
    Reading age: 7+

    A parallel volume to Doherty’s powerful 2009 story set in the 1860s around Jim Jarvis, Dr Barnado’s inspiration for the orphanages he set up.

  • The Little Match Girl Strikes Back

    Author: Emma Carroll Illustrator: Lauren Child
    Publisher: Simon and Schuster
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 7+

    12 year-old Bridie sells matches on the mean streets of Victorian London. Her mother works 14 hours a day making matches in the Bryant and May factory… and the poison from the factory is making her ill. Even though they work so hard, they are very poor and often hungry. Then one New Year’s Eve, when Bridie seems to have lost everything, she lights her three …

  • Son of the Circus: A Victorian Story

    Author: E L Norry Illustrator: Alette Straathof (cover art)
    Publisher: Scholastic
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 10+

    Twelve-year-old Ted discovers he has roots in the circus and must join his father’s company for the first time to discover his own talent! Great for history buffs and those looking for historical fiction featuring people of colour.

  • Clover Moon

    Author: Jacqueline Wilson
    Publisher: Penguin
    Interest age: 8+
    Reading age: 8+

    Jacqueline Wilson has set her latest story in Victorian London. When Clover Moon receives one beating too many from her evil stepmother, she decides to set off on an adventure, which proves both funny and sad - hooking readers right to the end.

  • Constable & Toop

    Author: Gareth P Jones
    Publisher: Hot Key Books
    Interest age: 9+
    Reading age: 10+

    A Victorian funeral parlour is the setting for this exciting mystery that blends comedy with the dark, spooky and supernatural.

  • Cosima Unfortunate Steals a Star

    Author: Laura Noakes Illustrator: Flavia Sorrentino
    Publisher: HarperCollins
    Interest age: 8+
    Reading age: 9-11

    Cosima and her fellow ‘Unfortunates’ forge a plan to expose a villain through a jewellery heist. Funny but also thought-provoking, it’s a mystery adventure with a difference.

  • The Boy in the Smoke

    Author: Rachel Faturoti
    Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    When Isaiah discovers a time portal in the basement of his tower block, he meets Jacob, who lived in the same building when it was a workhouse in the 1830s. This gripping, multilayered time-slip novel explores poverty from both a historical and contemporary perspective.

  • The Tiger Who Sleeps Under My Chair

    Author: Hannah Foley
    Publisher: Head of Zeus
    Interest age: 9+
    Reading age: 9-12

    In 1884, Emma Linden dreams of being a fossil hunter like her hero Mary Anning - but her world comes crashing down when her brother James becomes mysteriously ill. Meanwhile, in 2023, football-mad Jude finds a friend in Rosie Linden, who is plagued by visions of tigers and the need to protect the ones she loves.

  • The Whisperling

    Author: Hayley Hoskins Illustrator: Kristina Kister
    Publisher: Puffin
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Set in 1897, this spooky tale centres around twelve-year-old Peggy Devona, whose parents run an undertaking business on the outskirts of Bristol. Peggy is a Whisperling, someone who can speak to the dead. She is careful to hide her gift, as many folk are suspicious of such skills, particularly the vindictive vicar, Reverend Silas Tate.

  • Gaslight

    Author: Eloise Williams
    Publisher: Firefly
    Interest age: 9+
    Reading age: 9+

    This brilliantly evocative take on Cardiff in 1899 will take young readers on a heartstopping ride as they follow Nansi's quest to find out the truth about what happened to her missing mother.

  • Young Sherlock Holmes: Black Ice

    Author: Andrew Lane
    Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
    Interest age: 10+
    Reading age: 10+

    An exciting, fast-paced adventure, which paints a vivid picture of mid-nineteenth century Britain and Russia

  • Wild Boy

    Author: Rob Lloyd Jones
    Publisher: Walker Books
    Interest age: 9+
    Reading age: 9+

    In 1840s London, Wild Boy leads a miserable life in a travelling freak show. Treated as a monster and excluded from society, he develops an unusual talent for observation.

  • Freaks

    Author: Kieran Larwood
    Publisher: Chicken House
    Interest age: 10+
    Reading age: 10+

    Kieran Larwood won The Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition 2011 for this lively Victorian adventure story.

  • Unexpected Twist: An Oliver Twisted Tale

    Author: Michael Rosen Illustrator: Tony Ross
    Publisher: Scholastic
    Interest age: 10-12
    Reading age: 10+

    In this rather innovative book, Rosen tells the tale of a modern-day Oliver Twist: Shona. Shona’s story is completely relatable and well-drawn, demonstrating Dickens’ grasp of the human condition, which makes this a great read for more mature readers.

  • A Twist of Fortune

    Author: Barbara Mitchelhill
    Publisher: Anderson Press
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Sam Pargeter and his younger brother and sister have always been poor. But, in their tiny house in the country, with Ma and Pa, they were one big happy family. Until Pa goes off to America to seek their fortune and Ma dies.