About our Reviews and Reviewers
Who We Are and What We Do
The Historical Novel Society offers the foremost website for historical fiction, providing tens of thousands of searchable, browsable reviews. Most of the reviews on this site have been previously published in our member magazine, the Historical Novels Review (founded 1997). It is the only print magazine in the world devoted to historical fiction. Reviews are not changed when they are uploaded to the website, and their original publication details can be found under the ‘appeared in’ field to the right of the review text.
The HNS provides objective, authoritative reviews entirely free-of-charge, without prejudice as to route-to-market, and without bias in favor of our members. To create and make this content available, we rely on an experienced editorial team, as well as hundreds of expert readers. Reviewers for the Historical Novels Review are drawn primarily from our membership, and are all well-read, knowledgeable enthusiasts of historical fiction. The Historical Novels Review does not accept unsolicited applications for editorial staff positions, but if you would like to join our team 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.
In order to be considered for review, novels should have been published within the past year. Our scope encompasses all works of historical fiction: those novels set at least 50 years in the past. In addition to traditional and literary historical novels, we also feature reviews of historical mystery, historical fantasy, historical romance, sagas, alternate history, 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 also provide a web form to enable authors, publicists or friends to alert us to new releases or appropriate competitive prizes. All selection is at the discretion of our editors.
We request a print copy (if available; e-galleys are also accepted) of selected titles and allocate each book to a reviewer. While this guarantees placement of the majority of titles selected, it should be noted that there are sometimes ‘orphans‘ – books that the editors attempt to place, but no reviewer agrees to read. Reviews are edited, copy-edited, and some are selected for publication in the print magazine, the Historical Novels Review. All our reviews are published online in quarterly batches on 1st of February, May, August and November.
Please note that membership in the Society does not come with any entitlement to a review. 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.
We do support our members and encourage them to let us know about their new releases so that we can feature them in our New Books by Members column.
Editors’ Choice titles are chosen by the editors based upon strongly positive reviews, and 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.
Online Exclusive reviews have gone through the same three-stage editorial process as our other reviews, but did not appear in the print magazine due to space constraints or through late submission. On the website they are marked with an ‘Online Exclusive’ button.
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): Alan Fisk, Doug Kemp, Edward James, Richard Lee, Karen Warren, and Linda Sever (children’s titles)
- Reviews Editors (US): Rebecca Cochran, Bryan Dumas, Ilysa Magnus, and Arleigh Ordoyne (children’s titles)
All views expressed in our reviews are those of the reviewer, not the editorial staff.