It’s another installment of This or That, questions proffered by the lovely Rae, some of which I choose to answer.
Today I want to know……
Do you (currently) read historical fiction?
By currently, I mean have you read it within the past year or so.
This question gave me pause, because at first, I wasn’t sure.
I know, elephant. I know. #hangshead
I tend to be interested by the ideas that are represented by historical fiction, yet am often unsatisfied with the manner in which those ideas are written and/or carried out by the author. There is a delicate balance between researching to give a story authenticity, and adding details in a rote manner that feels didactic.
Yet, upon reviewing my Goodreads feed, I came to the conclusion that yes, I have read historical fiction during the past year. Before I delve into further detail, let me clarify, that when I use the term “historical fiction” within this blog post, I am referring to books that are set in a period of time prior to the period in which the author wrote that book. For example, Inherent Vice was published (and presumably written within the approximate time of) 2009, but takes place in the ’60s. Books written about a time that is now historical past but was the author’s contemporary time period are not included in the following listing (feel free to order your own copy, should any titles pique your interest, by clicking on the graphics below, which link to Amazon (or support your local bookstore by ordering it from an indie!)):
June – This novel has two timelines. One in the near-present, the other occurring in the ’50s. Very enjoyable, in that juicy, small town, family saga way. This novel does not come out until May 31, but I recommend pre-ordering if you’re craving a way to start your summer off right.
Alias Grace – A Margaret Atwood novelized version of the person Grace Marks, and an attempt to get at the true crime story that resulted in her imprisonment at the tender age of 16 for a crime she may or may not have committed. The truth, we will never know, but Atwood spins an interesting tale. A bit of stream-of-consciousness storytelling, so if you are extremely averse to such narrative tactics, avoid this book. Otherwise, give it a try. I rather enjoyed it.
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie – A murder-mystery occurring in the ’50s, narrated by the wonderfully precocious Flavia de Luce. I adored this novel, and highly recommend either a read or a re-read, stat.
Inherent Vice – Another mystery novel, this one occurring in the hippy-dippy ’60s. Chill with Doc Sportello, man, in a world created by Thomas Pynchon that is an inherently good read.
The Night Circus – While popular opinion disagrees with me, I was not a huge fan of this novel that takes place during the nineteenth century. The writing smacks of Tim Burton sans soul, including a romance storyline between two people who barely spend any time together. I am certainly in the minority, but this novel full of characters performing magical feats never quite reaches the level of magic that should be delivered in its writing.
The Forgotten Room – This book not only has 3 different timelines, it was also written by 3 different, accomplished writers. A bit of romantic fluff, to be honest, but well written and entertaining romantic fluff. I highly recommend if you like romance books.
Wildflower Crown – A novel with princesses and horses, with fighting and faeries and adult women who look like children. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, but many will not. (Read my review, linked in the title, for further information if you would like to make an informed decision.)
Stars Over Sunset Boulevard – Much of this novel revolves around two young women living in Hollywood, friends and roommates, during the filming of Gone with the Wind. This book was so interesting. I kept expecting it to veer into the maudlin and predictable, yet it somehow nobly abstained. I highly, highly recommend this novel. It is the best kind of chick lit.
Eternity – Unlike the previous novel I just discussed, this book is some of the worst kind of chick lit. It started out in a fairly interesting vein, but petered out, and in the end, I’m not really sure why I even finished. I did finish, so it’s not unreadable? I wouldn’t recommend this novel unless you are an avid fan of predictable romances.
Those are the historical novels I have read during the past year, and looking back on them, I realize the past 365 days has been a good time for historical novels. In general, I enjoyed most of these novels, which I was not expecting when I initially set out to write this blog post. What about you? Historical novels – yes or no? Do you disagree with any of my opinions laid out in this post? Please comment below!