Historical Fiction Genre Discussion

For March 2018 we will be reading historical fiction books
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hsimone
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Historical Fiction Genre Discussion

Post by hsimone » 01 Mar 2018, 05:16

As dictionary.com states, historical fiction is "the genre of literature, film, etc., comprising narratives that take place in the past and are characterized chiefly by an imaginative reconstruction of historical events and personages." Of course, we'll be focusing on the literature aspect of the definition.

As we begin to dive into this genre, let's think of the following points:
  • The title/author of the book you read.
  • Did you enjoy it? Why or why not?
  • What traits made the book you read unique to this genre?
  • Was this book strictly historical fiction or were there other genres that were woven into the text? If so, which one(s)?
  • Would you recommend the book?
Feel free to offer other information of the book(s) you read this month! As always, let's have fun! :D
"Love is patient, love is kind." -1 Corinthians 13:4

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hsimone
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Post by hsimone » 08 Mar 2018, 05:27

I recently finished a historical fiction book!
  • The book is Hill of the Angels by Sue Mayfield
  • I would say that I kind of enjoyed the book. It was a read that I started last year and only recently picked it up again to finish. The pacing wasn't very consistent, the ending was rushed, and the two different character perspectives had very similiar tone of voice. The similar voices made it a challenge to remember which storyline belonged to which girl.
  • The book had a focus on The English Civil War in the 1600s and Halifax Parish Church, which both existed at the time and the church is still present.
  • Hill of the Angels could also be young adult/coming-of-age novel because it follows two young girls as they grow and learn the harsh realities of life during wartime.
  • I could probably recommend this to young adults who enjoy reading about the struggles of wartime, and a friendship that tries to stay strong. A warning, though - there is some destruction of sacred places and objects, which could be a sensitive subject for some.
"Love is patient, love is kind." -1 Corinthians 13:4

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Post by KLafser » 08 Mar 2018, 13:20

Okay, I'll play! I lean toward historical fiction often, so here we go!
  • The book is The Color of Secrets" by Lindsay Ashford.
  • I very much enjoyed the book. I picked it up because the summary looked decent. I found the characters to be believable and endearing. I did like that the story was told from the point of view of the couple main characters.
  • The story focuses on a young woman, Eva, who has a "male" job during WW2 in England who has news, based on assumption, that her husband has been killed during the war. As she begins to move on with her life, she finds herself in a relationship and, eventually, pregnant by a African American GI named Bill. The story then takes us through the of Eva and Bill as well as the experiences of their daughter, Louisa. The themes of the story, including 1940s working women, race, illegitimate children, were all very compelling.
  • Certainly historical fiction, probably also light romance and coming of age would also be appropriate genres.
  • I would recommend this book - I enjoyed it very much and think it's good book with broad appeal.

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Post by hsimone » 09 Mar 2018, 04:19

Thank you, KLafser, for sharing! The Color of Secrets sounds like an interesting story. I'll have to check it out! :)
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Post by gali » 12 Mar 2018, 02:56

* The book is The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

* I liked the book, even though some of its topics (beatings, sexual assaults, executions) were pretty hard to stomach. It is a good book and a great addition to books about American slavery.

* The book focuses on the American slavery before the Civil war. It is told from the perspective of a young slave woman named Cora, and follows her journey toward freedom. The author imagines the Underground Railroad, the system used to smuggle slaves north, as an actual railroad, a refreshing idea. The book paints an ugly picture, and it reinforces the value of freedom.

* It was historical fiction. I would recommend this book to all. The book is important one to read, as it touches on subjects that are often swept under carpet.
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)

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hsimone
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Post by hsimone » 13 Mar 2018, 03:34

gali wrote:
12 Mar 2018, 02:56
* The book is The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

* I liked the book, even though some of its topics (beatings, sexual assaults, executions) were pretty hard to stomach. It is a good book and a great addition to books about American slavery.

* The book focuses on the American slavery before the Civil war. It is told from the perspective of a young slave woman named Cora, and follows her journey toward freedom. The author imagines the Underground Railroad, the system used to smuggle slaves north, as an actual railroad, a refreshing idea. The book paints an ugly picture, and it reinforces the value of freedom.

* It was historical fiction. I would recommend this book to all. The book is important one to read, as it touches on subjects that are often swept under carpet.
This one sounds really good! I don't think I've read much about the Underground Railroad, which is a pity, so I've added this one to my TBR list. :) Thank you for sharing!
"Love is patient, love is kind." -1 Corinthians 13:4

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hsimone
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Post by hsimone » 13 Mar 2018, 03:59

I read another historical fiction! I actually didn't plan to read two historical fiction books this month, but the timing is good. I actually have one more to go. :)

*I just finished The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.

*I somewhat enjoyed this one. I really liked reading about the struggles the family had trying to adapt to a new culture. However, I didn't find there was much new material, and the ending dragged out a bit too long for me (maybe 70-80 pages too long). I liked the different character perspectives, however, the viewpoints were only from all the white female characters. It would have been nice to have a viewpoint of one of the African civilians and/or the father, Nathan. It would have added more depth to the story.

*This book follows the Price family's move to the Belgian Congo in 1959 for missionary work. During that time, though, the Congo begin their path toward independence and several events occur, including the execution of their first Prime Minister.

*It was definitely historical fiction, but I can also see this as coming-of-age (for some characters), romance, and religion-based.

*As I only somewhat enjoyed this book, I might recommend this to those who would like to read about how one family adapts to a new culture during an unstable time in the country's history.
"Love is patient, love is kind." -1 Corinthians 13:4

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Post by gali » 13 Mar 2018, 04:20

hsimone wrote:
13 Mar 2018, 03:59
I read another historical fiction! I actually didn't plan to read two historical fiction books this month, but the timing is good. I actually have one more to go. :)

*I just finished The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.

*I somewhat enjoyed this one. I really liked reading about the struggles the family had trying to adapt to a new culture. However, I didn't find there was much new material, and the ending dragged out a bit too long for me (maybe 70-80 pages too long). I liked the different character perspectives, however, the viewpoints were only from all the white female characters. It would have been nice to have a viewpoint of one of the African civilians and/or the father, Nathan. It would have added more depth to the story.

*This book follows the Price family's move to the Belgian Congo in 1959 for missionary work. During that time, though, the Congo begin their path toward independence and several events occur, including the execution of their first Prime Minister.

*It was definitely historical fiction, but I can also see this as coming-of-age (for some characters), romance, and religion-based.

*As I only somewhat enjoyed this book, I might recommend this to those who would like to read about how one family adapts to a new culture during an unstable time in the country's history.
Sounds good, but I'm not sure it is for me. I might give it a try sometime. Thank you. :)
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)

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Post by hsimone » 13 Mar 2018, 08:58

Yes, I understand that. If you do get the chance to read it, I hope you enjoy it more. :)
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Post by Heather_Mc » 15 Mar 2018, 13:22

Cool, historical fiction! Okay, here I go.
  • Title/Author: The Moonlight Palace by Liz Rosenberg

    *I enjoyed it a lot. The writing style was engaging and the plot compelling.

    *The story takes place in 1920s Singapore, which was still a British colony at the time. It provides a fascinating glimpse into the country's history, its diverse population (Chinese, Hindus, Muslims, British colonists, etc.) and the culture created by that diversity. I'm an aficionado of Asian history and culture, and I was attracted to this book by the opportunity to learn more about an area of Asia with which I wasn't previously familiar.

    *The main character of the book is Agnes, who is of mixed British, Muslim, and Chinese heritage. Her family on her Muslim side were of the nobility, but they have now fallen on hard times, and the palace in which the family now lives, which was once a landmark, is in serious disrepair. Faced with the possibility of losing their home, Agnes tries to come up with ways to save the palace and keep her family's history alive.

    *I would definitely recommend this book, not just to fans of historical fiction, but to anyone interested in learning about another culture.
Thank you!

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Post by jenjayfromSA » 16 Mar 2018, 11:39

I read a lot of historical fiction. One of the latest was The Last Hours by Minette Walters. It is set in England in 1348 when the plague, the Black Death, started to sweep across England, decimating the population. The culture was feudal, with lords owning the land and serfs working it, usually under appalling conditions. The plague wiped out whole villages. At the manor of Develish in Dorseteshire Lady Anne broke the code by bringing all her serfs into the manor house behind the moat. Roles changed, social hierarchies broke down. The community lived under siege, not knowing what was happening in the world outside. The history was fascinating, but the author also explored the relationships that developed and the threats both from the plague and those fleeing it. A very good read.

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Post by hsimone » 21 Mar 2018, 04:28

Heather_Mc wrote:
15 Mar 2018, 13:22
Cool, historical fiction! Okay, here I go.
  • Title/Author: The Moonlight Palace by Liz Rosenberg

    *I enjoyed it a lot. The writing style was engaging and the plot compelling.

    *The story takes place in 1920s Singapore, which was still a British colony at the time. It provides a fascinating glimpse into the country's history, its diverse population (Chinese, Hindus, Muslims, British colonists, etc.) and the culture created by that diversity. I'm an aficionado of Asian history and culture, and I was attracted to this book by the opportunity to learn more about an area of Asia with which I wasn't previously familiar.

    *The main character of the book is Agnes, who is of mixed British, Muslim, and Chinese heritage. Her family on her Muslim side were of the nobility, but they have now fallen on hard times, and the palace in which the family now lives, which was once a landmark, is in serious disrepair. Faced with the possibility of losing their home, Agnes tries to come up with ways to save the palace and keep her family's history alive.

    *I would definitely recommend this book, not just to fans of historical fiction, but to anyone interested in learning about another culture.
Thank you!
This seems like an interesting book! Thank you for sharing. :)
"Love is patient, love is kind." -1 Corinthians 13:4

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hsimone
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Post by hsimone » 21 Mar 2018, 04:31

jenjayfromSA wrote:
16 Mar 2018, 11:39
I read a lot of historical fiction. One of the latest was The Last Hours by Minette Walters. It is set in England in 1348 when the plague, the Black Death, started to sweep across England, decimating the population. The culture was feudal, with lords owning the land and serfs working it, usually under appalling conditions. The plague wiped out whole villages. At the manor of Develish in Dorseteshire Lady Anne broke the code by bringing all her serfs into the manor house behind the moat. Roles changed, social hierarchies broke down. The community lived under siege, not knowing what was happening in the world outside. The history was fascinating, but the author also explored the relationships that developed and the threats both from the plague and those fleeing it. A very good read.
I haven't read much about plagues, in general, and this sounds like a good one. Thank you for sharing!
"Love is patient, love is kind." -1 Corinthians 13:4

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hsimone
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Post by hsimone » 21 Mar 2018, 04:47

* Another historical fiction I recently finished was The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris.

* I absolutely loved this book because it took place during the Holocaust, but it wasn't as graphic as other novels can be during this terrible time in history. It also weaves in a sweet romance, which I found lovely.

* Because the book was based on true events, this makes it unique to the historical fiction genre. There was a man named Lale who was the tattooist of Auschwitz and fell in love while at the camp. The treatment of the Jewish and Gypsy communities while being in concentration camps was also true.

* This was definitely historical fiction, but also it was a romance. I loved the relationship development between Lale and Gita. It was so sweet, and it gave insight of how some kept hope and even romance during this tragic time.

* I would absolutely recommend this to anyone who would want to see another aspect of the Holocaust, but cannot stomach graphic scenes.
"Love is patient, love is kind." -1 Corinthians 13:4

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