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Maven Books

Reviews about historical, literary, classic, and other fiction.  Miscellaneous book things.

Currently reading

Women Must Work
Richard Aldington
The Essex Serpent
Sarah Perry
The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone
Olivia Laing
Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference
Cordelia Fine
The Well of Loneliness
Radclyffe Hall
A Book for Her
Bridget Christie
The Power
Naomi Alderman
Walking in Berlin
Franz Hessel
The Years
Virginia Woolf
Tales from the Underworld
Hans Fallada

How true should historical fiction be?

"From Hilary Mantel to Andrew Miller to Philippa Gregory, historical fiction is enjoying a boom. But novelists are storytellers, not history teachers, argues Stephanie Merritt"

 

Personally, I think historical fiction should aim to be as accurate as is reasonable within the format, and that authors writing in this genre should do some research into the era and/or people portrayed. 

 

Obviously, I don't expect a perfect representation of actual historical events, like an exact transcript, and I do expect some embellishment and poetic license.  But making the setting, characters, and even language true to the time period help paint the picture and keep you in the story.