Friday, August 30, 2013

The Love Of Historical Novels

Ball gowns, tailcoats, horses, carriages, polite manners, Lords and Ladies, drafty castles...*Sigh*. I love the romance of years gone by. I suppose that’s why my bookshelves are lined with historical novels.
My introduction into this genre started with Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery when I was eight years old. That summer, my parents piled me and my siblings into our Chrysler New Port with a pop-up trailer in tow and drove from Southern Ontario to Prince Edward Island. Along the journey, my parents took turns reading the novel aloud. Oh, how we cried one evening in that orange-clad camper when Matthew died!
While listening to the tales of Anne Shirley, I remember being intrigued by the time period. Montgomery added details of one-room schoolhouses, the making of plum pudding (don’t forget to cover it!), purchasing household products like hair dye from peddlers, puffed sleeves, and abused slates!
Not only do historical novels help transport the readers to a different time and place, but one learns about history through a pleasurable pastime. Some writers in this genre readily admit to doing poorly in history class when they were in school. But once they read about historical events within a novel, somehow history came to life. Now they have a passion for it!
I have learned so much through fiction. Here are a few favourites with strong historical backdrops:

Carol Cox’s series, A Fair To Remember was set in 1893 at the World’s Fair in Chicago. She provides wonderful detail to this impressive event.
Lynn Austin’s novel, A Woman’s Place, was set in the early 1940s. It’s the story of four women who work in factories making airplanes during the war.

Judith Miller and Tracie Peterson’s series, Bells of Lowell delve into the lives of 19th century women who sought employment in the mills as America developed its textile industry.

Do you enjoy historical novels? What are some of your favorites?


  1. I love your post this morning. And I love the idea of your parents taking turns reading Ann of Green Gables aloud to their children. It is one of my favorites. I am going to look up these other books you have mentioned as they sound like very good reads and I love their covers. Thank you!

  2. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you find a new favorite book from the list!

  3. Great post, Cherie. I've read two of the books you mentioned. (Anne, of course, and one of the books in the "A Fair to Remember" series. Now I have more to add to my reading list. So many books; so little time.

    1. I know what you mean, Lora, about wanting to read more books than there is time! So glad that are so many good books to choose from!

  4. History is my favorite genre. I've read all the books of Janette Oke and Lauraine Snelling and feel like I helped settle the plains. I like history to be woven in through the characters lives.

  5. I love reading historical fiction and being transported back in time. This is such a wonderful way to enjoy learning things of the past. I can't wait to read these three favorites that you mentioned!

  6. I love, LOVE historical fiction. It really brings history to life for me. I really enjoy Francine Rivers, GH Henty, and many more.

  7. Cherie, I loved Anne with an e - not the least of which was because of her red hair!