Historical Fiction
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‘Truth is stranger than fiction’, according to the saying. One of Jane Austen’s characters, Henry Tilney, said that he did not understand why history was condemned as boring because three-quarters of it was fiction (correct me on that recollection if need be!).

However, all said and done, historical fiction is often closer to the truth because historical fiction writers do not have to maintain popular beliefs/prejudices/loyalties like the writers of history do – can you imagine what would happen if a British Historian said that the Duke of Wellington lied in the Waterloo Dispatch?  Well, he did.  Apart from that serious stuff, historical fiction is a dandy way to cross all sorts of funny little details in the lives of one’s ancestors, because someone else has done all the research, and to slip off into their world and enjoy the better parts of their lives without having to put up with the inconveniences of lacking our modern facilities.

All the same, historical fiction is not about mugging up on social history: it is a story.  The writer Bernard Cornwell says that a good novel is about ‘story, story, and story’.  Well, one humbly begs to differ in part.  The secret of a good novel is about story indeed, but the secret of several historical novels, especially if written by the same author, is Variety.  After all, in reading historical fiction, is that not what a reader is after, to get variety from what is going on about us right now?


Anne Hauden’s Website for Historical Novels


Grateful thanks to The Yale Centre for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut,
The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.,
Michael Judkins, at Pexels.