About our reviews and submission process
Who we are and what we do
The Historical Novel Society offers the foremost website for historical fiction, providing 20,000+ searchable, browsable reviews. Most of our reviews were published in our member magazine, the Historical Novels Review (founded 1997). It is the only print magazine in the world devoted to historical fiction.
Which novels do we review?
In order to be considered for review, novels should have been published for the first time within the past year. We also consider ARCs of forthcoming titles. Our scope encompasses all works of historical fiction. For us, this means novels set at least 50 years before the time of writing.
As well as traditional and literary historical novels, we also feature reviews of historical mystery, historical fantasy, historical romance, sagas and alternate history. Plus Christian historical fiction, time-slip novels, multi-period novels, novel-length collections of historical short stories or novellas, children’s and young adult historicals, and a small number of relevant non-fiction titles.
Selection and Editorial Process for Reviews
All of our reviews go through a selection process and a three-stage editorial process before publication. For traditionally published novels, we consult catalogues to choose titles for review and keep an eye on press reviews and book prizes.
For independently published novels, we look to commercial sites such as Amazon, Goodreads and Bookbub, and monitor competitive shortlists and award winners on Indie promotional sites.
We do not offer comment or feedback on selection judgments. All selection is at the discretion of our editors. Editorial decisions are final.
How to submit a book for review
Our Submit A Book For Review form allows authors, publicists or friends to alert us to new releases.
The review process
We request a print copy (if available – e-galleys are also accepted) of selected titles. We then allocate each book to a reviewer. While this guarantees placement of the majority of titles selected, there are sometimes ‘orphans‘. These are books that the editors attempt to place, but no reviewer agrees to read.
Reviews are edited and copy-edited, and some are selected for publication in our print magazine the Historical Novels Review. All our reviews are published online in quarterly batches on the first of February, May, August and November. Our lead time varies but is typically at least 3-5 months.
Does being an HNS member guarantee a review?
No, it doesn’t. We aim for impartiality – our reviews are undertaken on behalf of readers, not authors. We do not always request our members’ books for review, nor do we always review our members’ books favourably. Our reviews are the objective opinion of a single reader: the reviewer.
However we do encourage our members to tell us about their new releases so that we can feature them in our New Books by Members column.
What are Editors’ Choice reviews?
Editors’ Choice titles are chosen by the editors based upon strongly positive reviews. They are featured in the print magazines with an image of the book’s front cover and the HNS logo roundel. On the website they are marked with an ‘Editors’ Choice’ button and can be viewed as a group.
We share reviews of Editors’ Choice titles on Twitter and Facebook.
What are Online Exclusive reviews?
Online Exclusive reviews have gone through the same three-stage editorial process as our other reviews. However they don’t appear in the print magazine due to space constraints or through late submission. On the website they are marked with an ‘Online Exclusive’ button.
Are reviews changed when they go online?
No, reviews are not changed when they are uploaded to the website. Their original publication details can be found under the ‘appeared in’ field to the right of the review text.
No paid reviews
The HNS provides objective, authoritative reviews entirely free-of-charge, without prejudice as to route-to-market. To create and make this content available, we rely on an experienced editorial team, as well as hundreds of expert readers.
Where our reviewers come from
Reviewers for the Historical Novels Review are drawn primarily from our membership, and are all well-read, knowledgeable enthusiasts of historical fiction.
How to become a reviewer
If you would like to volunteer as a reviewer, please write to us to request a copy of the guidelines. Please also include details on your reading interests in historical fiction, and we will request some sample reviews from you.
Historical Novels Review Editorial Staff
- Managing Editor: Bethany Latham
- Book Review Editor: Sarah Johnson
- Features Editor: Lucinda Byatt
- New Voices Column Editor: Myfanwy Cook
- Reviews Editors (UK): Ben Bergonzi, Alan Fisk, Doug Kemp, and Edward James.
- Reviews Editors (US): Kate Braithwaite, J. Lynn Else, Sarah Hendess, Janice Ottersberg, and Larry Zuckerman.
All views expressed in our reviews are those of the reviewer, not the editorial staff.