Historical fiction is one of these genres that seems to be very easy and yet very difficult to pin down. We all accept that it is a mix of some fact and some fiction but there is really no definition on how far writers can go in their speculation. Some readers fear historical novels thinking of them as dated, irrelevant or reminding them of never ending boring stories of their less favorite relatives. However, avid fans of this genre will tell you that there are plenty of writers who are able to create great historical books that immerse us in the details of historical settings so seamlessly that we forget that the described reality and people are long time gone.
Great historical novels make us aware that we are all linked to history, and the past that often seems so distant is in fact living in our memories, experiences and the world that surrounds us.
I have an enormous respect for writers of historical fiction: not only do they have to be able to write a great story and create compelling characters but they also have to do a lot of research. Some of the most amazing books on my bookshelf have turned great historical figures, known origially to me by factual and often dry school textbooks, into three dimensional characters that not only fought major battles and ruled empires but like most of us loved, laughed, cried and longed for often quite ordinary things.
Check out my list of great historical novels on our recommendation page. Tell us about your favorite historical novels the ones that made you feel at home in ancient Egypt, medieval France, Renaissance Italy, New York in the 1920s or…
… and if you want to learn more about how these books are born, tune in this week for our live interview with award winning Marina Endicott who recreated the magic of vaudeville in early 20th century.