More on the power of historical fiction


If you have not been a reader of historical fiction, I encourage you to discover its beauty and power. A few months ago I wrote a post about this genre of literature, The Power of Historical Fiction. In that post I described the way historical fiction draws us in to the context of a place and her people. Historical fiction is great to read before you are planning to travel somewhere, especially when it is written from the voices of the land itself.

Recently I have been reading the historical fiction of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a Nigerian who has written powerfully on issues of immigrants. Her book, Half of a Yellow Sun is one of the most moving works of historical fiction I have ever read. It deals with the 1969-1970 Biafran war in Nigeria. I mention more on this book in my post on historical fiction.

When historical fiction is well-written the context is beautifully revealed, the voices of the land heard clearly. Some historians have cast a sneer at historical fiction as less substantive, but others have embraced its power. Another mark of good historical fiction is that actually there is a considerable amount of research that has gone into the writing. That is certainly true of Adichie’s books and stories, as well as Amitav Ghosh in his Ibis trilogy.

When I wrote the last post on historical fiction, a fellow blogger named wordynerdbird wrote the comment below, giving recommendations for reading. These titles were new to me, and I look forward to exploring them. Here is what this blogger wrote:

I fully agree with the author’s comments about what distinguishes excellent historical fiction from the rest. There is no substitute for research and ensuring that a story is entirely consistent with the time, place and people involved.

In keeping with the encouragement to pick up a work of historical fiction, I’d like to recommend some that I have found to be excellent.

To Be A Queen by Annie Whitehead
Miriamne the Magdala by J.B. Richards
A Daffodil for Angie by Connie Lacey
Blood and Ink by DK Marley
The Artist by Lyra Shanti

Thanks to wordynerdbird! How about others of you who read this blog giving some of your favorite titles of historical fiction?

And when next you travel to a new place, which may not be soon due to the coronavirus, why not find a historical novel about the place? Or maybe it’s a place you’ve been many times, but you desire to learn more from a different perspective.

Read on, and explore the history and voices of another time and place.

3 thoughts on “More on the power of historical fiction

  1. As both an author and reader of historical fiction, I thank you for this. One of my favorite authors is C.W. Gortner, whose impeccable research gives us relatable characters and an authentic picture of their place and time.


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