What is historical and what is fiction?

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October 22, 2017 by Carmel

“Do you think the character of Claire in the Outlander series really walks through a stone to get back to the 1700s?  Of course not – that’s the fiction part, cleverly woven into real events in history.”

 

I’ve just released my sixth novel under the banner of historical fiction.  When listing my books on various promotional sights, ‘historical fiction’ seems to be the heading that most relates to the books I write.  I think the genre is self-explanatory – a fictional story woven throughout with historical facts.

I recently received a lovely review of The Undertaker which is set in Edinburgh in 1858 and features a young woman who inherits her father’s undertaking business at a time when women were expected to find a husband and become a home-maker.  The whole point of the story is that Kate, the undertaker, is unusual for her time.  If she just sat at home and embroidered cushions she wouldn’t make for a very exciting heroine.

In part, the review read: “The Undertaker  is a good cozy mystery, and has some really excellent characterizations—the players are believable. What was less convincing was the apparent freedom of a woman in the mid-1800s to be allowed to do anything like the protagonist does.”

And that, dear readers, was the whole point of the story.  Do you think the character of Claire in the Outlander series really walks through a stone to get back to the 1700s?  Of course not – that’s the fiction part, cleverly woven into real events in history.

Historical fiction novels are not history text books but entertaining reads that give readers just enough history without dwelling too much on it, and creating interesting characters who can walk you through historical events.  Otherwise, perhaps it would be called historical faction?

‘Look Inside’ The Undertakerhttp://tinyurl.com/peq6q3l

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