Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop #36 – Do You Read Historical Fiction?

Book Blogger Hop.PNG

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme with a prompt featuring a book related question. The hop begins on a Friday and ends on a Thursday and should hopefully give people the opportunity to learn something new about the blogger.

The Book Blogger Hop can be found on Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer and obviously my answers can be found here!

Do you read historical fiction

I’ve missed a week unfortunately (I was supposed to be doing authors that I recommend) but as I’m behind in life this has meant that I’ve missed that particular hop and am playing a bit of catch up!

This week is asking a rather straight forward question – do I read historical fiction?

Does it call for a straight forward answer? Probably.

Am I going to give a straight forward answer? Nope.

The simple answer is ‘yes I do’ but as mentioned I like to take you around the town and show you all the pretty houses.

First of all, what is Historical Fiction?

A while ago I did a post for my Book Theme series on ‘History’ but this focused more on history books and not historical fiction. It can be found here for the adventurous. Ok, so you don’t have to be adventurous. It’s a link to a blog post.

History (as the blog post via Wikipedia tells us) is the study of the past as described in written documents. History (again, as per the previous blog post) can also refer to the academic discipline which uses a narrative to examine and analyse past events.

So the ‘historical’ part of historical fiction is all about a setting based in the past. As there’s a lot of past, there’s a lot of time periods (and places) to choose from.

The ‘fiction’ part tells us that while the setting and some events may be real, there is much that isn’t. This could be some of the places, some of the events and some of the characters. Some historical fiction books can use real people from that time in their stories.

Historical events can provide uber fodder for story material. 

For me, historical fiction can allow for two things and it’s these two things which is why I enjoy reading:-

  1. A sense of anticipation towards the stories ending
  2. A critique of society (especially towards certain demographics) at the time the story is set

For example, say I wrote a book from two different POV’s set in Victorian London. One of those POV’s is from a young woman working as a prostitute with the name of Mary Kelly. Her story is all about surviving life’s hardships and working towards building a better and safer life for herself. She has dreams, hopes and aspirations.

The other POV is from an unknown male who harbors a deep resentful hatred for women and who views them solely as objects to satisfy first a sexual desire and then a murderous one.

In his eyes at the bottom of the ladder are those who work as prostitutes. Despite his beliefs being rather overt he is lucky enough that he is male and part of the upper class.

The above is not exactly an original idea but can provide a sense of uncomfortable anticipation at the fate of Mary Kelly (unless there’s a twist ala From Hell) while also highlighting the misogyny directed at women (especially towards less fortunate women) in Victorian times.

from hell

It could also provide a critique of how men in positions of power and wealth can get away with literal murder as well as juxtaposing the fact that the one who is a horrific and sadistic serial killer believes he has the moral high-ground over a woman who is simply doing what she can to survive in a world with men like him in.

Of course there are more time-frames than Victorian society and more places than London but that’s what popped to mind.

The above example being what it is also gives an inference as to what other genre the story is as historical fiction doesn’t necessarily sit in isolation. The above is not going to lend itself to being considered a romance (although may have romance in it) but would easily fit within the genres of horror or thriller.

Jane Austen’s stories (although contemporary when she wrote them) would very much be considered romance. Unless you’re talking Pride and Prejudice and Zombies where you could consider it a horror.

Phew.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.jpg

There’s a lot of crossovers here. And that is also why I read historical fiction! You can have a splash of romance, a dollop of horror, and even a handful of speculative fiction if you wanted.

So yes, I like to read historical fiction. Although I never used to. I used to think that it would be dry and factual and eerily similar to school history lessons. Of course some historical fiction books are a bit like that but it’s all about story and the skill of the writer than the genre itself.

Fancy some sexy stats?

Last year I read 4 historical fiction books which averaged out with a rating of 3.75 and so far this year I’ve read 6 currently averaging out with a rating of 3.83.

These may seem like low ratings but I am known for being a harsh rater. The overall average for 2018 was 2.9 and so far the overall average for 2019 is 3.1 which makes historical fiction a genre coming in at higher than the Gerry average.

It’s a genre that is really appealing to me at the moment though so there may well be a question of – does preference influence rating score? I would say yes because how objective can we be really?

But I’ll leave it there as I haven’t just shown you around the town but have taken you through the city!

Blog Hop

I am temporarily pausing this part of the blog on account of me being incredibly rubbish at blog hopping at the moment.

Guys, it’s not you. It’s me. I’m trying to get myself back into a pattern and hoping it will come sooner rather than later.

Breaker

Do you read historical fiction? Is there a particular reason why? Is there a particular reason why not?

If you do read historical fiction do you find that there’s a particular sub-genre you prefer or even a time or place? Only peering closely can I see that I tend to lean towards Victorian times!

I will happily take any recommendations because I am loving historical right now! Gimme all the recs!

Until next week when I answer how I choose the next book to read. Hopefully, anyway!

13 thoughts on “Book Blogger Hop #36 – Do You Read Historical Fiction?

  1. I used to dislike historical fiction, and then I actually started reading it, now I can’t get enough of it! I mostly love the settings! If the writer is good, the descriptions will teleport me to that period and I just love it so much. There’s a lot of dark in history, especially towards women, but as you know I love murderesses haha and I just adore reading about the experience of a woman centuries ago, and seeing her kick the male swine to the ground (most of the time). Lol that sounds overly feminist, but you know what I mean. My favorite periods/places are of course Victorian London, the golden age of Amsterdam, 18th century Scotland, and Iceland in whichever non-modern period. My recs: The strange case of the alchemist’s daughter, the Miniaturist (or the Tulip Fever), Outlander, and Burial Rites. There you have one for each, and each is led by women. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m the same, ambivalent about historical fiction and now I’m like ‘where have you been all my life?!’ I love it. It’s what I keep looking out for at the moment.

      I wonder if its the dark that appeals to me too and I especially like the female centric ones but then I think I prefer female centric stories anyway.

      God you know I love murderesses and I’m all about those stories on such a high level. Victorian London is an addiction I don’t want nor need to break! I’ve read The Miniaturist (loved) and want to read The Alchemist’s Daughter and Burial Rites. I think Burial Rites is already on my TBR. Not too sure how I feel about Outlander though, something about it never quite appealed to me but I think I’ve started to avoid series more and more at the moment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Right, haha, I just got two historical fiction ARCs, can’t wait to dive in. 🙂

        Hahaha agree, I know I love anything dark, and I’m all for female centric novels of any type!

        Haha I know, we’re in the club, aren’t we? 😀 Yay, Burial Rites is more serious and darker, and Alchemist’s Daughter is more of a breeze, but it is set in Victorian London in all its filth and glory. 😀 Yeah, Outlander is a demanding serial, I read one book per year, in spans of several months, but I can’t stop, it’s got it all seriously, the drama, the adventure, the time travel, the most genuine couple of all times, and I think you’d appreciate the sexy bits. xD If you ever change your mind about it, let me know asap. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ooh what are the ARCs? Because I’ve just requested some historical ARCs even though I was all, ‘I’m not going to request any more ARCs until I’ve read the ones I’ve got.’ I need to learn to build up willpower darnit!

          Burial Rites sounds like perfect winter reading so I’ll have to bump that up me list!

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Historical fiction of all kinds have so much material to work from that it rarely misses the mark ( for me at least!) There is this whole historical fiction mystery subgenre that works well because of the language and sometimes sarcasm that they use, the stories are (usually) shorter/crisper than ones actually written by authors in that time but try to retain the flavour! 😃

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooh, if you have any rec’s for historical fiction mysteries please chuck them my way! It’s strange because I was never bothered by historical fiction and then suddenly I read a few and it was like something ‘clicked.’ Maybe I just wasn’t ready for the genre before?

      I’ve enjoyed most of what I’ve read so far and seem to have a real leaning towards Victorian times though I do know that there are way more time periods to read!

      Like

      1. Off the top of my head – try lady hardcastle mysteries, preferably in audio but I believe it works well otherwise as well. I am such a fan that I might just go through my shelves and respond to this comment again with a bigger list 😉😆

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’ve not heard of those but I’ll check them out because I’m a fan of high society ladies solving murders (which I’m guessing they are?)… I’m also a fan of high society ladies committing murders but I think that’s another post for another time! 😛

          Definitely up for more recs if you have them, I honestly think one of the best parts of blogging is all the books that I’m hearing about that I’d never have found otherwise!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. These are stuff I reviewed on my blog, hope you find any of them interesting, to read during your hiatus
            TO learn about countries
            1)The Paper Bark Tree Mystery (Crown Colony #3) by Ovidia Yu
            2)A Few Right Thinking Men (Rowland Sinclair #1) by Sulari Gentill
            3)The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See
            4)What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon
            5)An Ingo Finch Mystery #1,#2 by Jeff Dawson
            6)The Council of Twelve by Oliver Pötzsch [Hangman’s daughter series]
            7)The Air Raid Killer (Max Heller, Dresden Detective #1) by Frank Goldammer
            8)The Evergreen Tea House by David T. K. Wong
            9)The Tea Rose (The Tea Rose #1) by Jennifer Donnelly

            general Drama:
            1)The Forgiving Kind by Donna Everhart
            2)Be Still the Water by Karen Emilson
            3)The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
            4)Sea of Memories by Fiona Valpy
            5)Anything BY Kate Morton
            6)The Subway Girls by Susie Orman Schnall
            7)Walls of Silence by Ruth Wade
            8)The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
            9)Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
            10)The Villa in Italy: A Vintage Mystery by Elizabeth Edmondson
            11)The Address by Fiona Davis
            12)Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
            13)The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

            War time based:
            1)As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner
            2)In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen
            3)Tangier by Stephen Holgate
            4)The Stranger by Kate Riordan
            5)Voyage of Innocence by Elizabeth Edmondson
            6)All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
            7)The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen
            8)Seasons of the Moon by Julien Aranda
            9)The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
            10)Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark T. Sullivan
            11)The Invention of Wings – Kidd, Sue Monk

            Light murder:
            1) A Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder (Countess of Harleigh Mystery #2) by Dianne Freeman
            2)High Society Lady Detective series by Sara Rosett
            3)Nobody’s Sweetheart Now by Maggie Robinson
            4)A Shot in the Dark (Constable Twitten #1) by Lynne Truss
            5)Mild Horror-The House of Memory by Carolyn Haines (series)
            6)Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

            Magical realism:
            1)Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield
            2)The Phantom Tree by Nicola Cornick

            Humour: 1)Lady Hardcastle Mysteries T.E Kinsey
            2)Certain books by Georgette Heyer[Both murder and romance]

            Children:The Orphan Band of Springdale by Anne Nesbet

            Classics:
            A Tree grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Thank you so much for the list! I haven’t heard of most of them but I’ve got The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo on my TBR (and am hyped about it) and I’ve read Once Upon a River recently and adored it so so much. I’m very much looking forward to checking these out! Thank you!!

              Liked by 1 person

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