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!
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:-
- A sense of anticipation towards the stories ending
- 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.
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.
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!
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.
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!