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Book Clinic: can you recommend enjoyable historical fiction?

5 October 2019

From The Guardian:

Q: As a teenager, I loved reading historical fiction. Since then I have avoided the genre. Where should I start again?
Gerald Groenewald, historian, Johannesburg

A: Historical fiction author SJ Parris writes:
Historical fiction is indeed a broad church, and which denomination or breakaway sect you choose will depend on your reasons for wanting to delve into the past. Perhaps the biggest bone of contention among writers of historical fiction is how much licence one is allowed to take with facts. Sarah Dunant comes down firmly on the side of scrupulous historical accuracy; her novels about the Borgia family – Blood and Beauty, and In the Name of the Family – are as richly dramatic as any box set and grounded firmly in biographical detail.

Writing convincingly in the language of the past without going full hey-nonny-nonny is a fine balancing act and the master is Peter Ackroyd, whose The House of Doctor Dee and The Last Testament of Oscar Wilde are pitch-perfect imitations of period dialogue.

Link to the rest at The Guardian



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3 Comments to “Book Clinic: can you recommend enjoyable historical fiction?”

  1. Mary Renault: Fire from Heaven, The Persian Boy, The Last of the Wine, The Mask of Apollo, et alia.

    Howard Fast: April Morning.

    Charles Nordoff and James Norman Hall: Falcons of France, The Mutiny on the Bounty.

    Lloyd Douglas: The Robe.

    Patrick O’Brian: Master and Commander, Post Captain, HMS Surprise, et alia.

    Libbie Hawker: The Sekhmet Bed, et alia.

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