Read On… Historical Fiction : Reading Lists for Every Taste

Written by Brad Hooper
Review by Trudi E. Jacobson


This guide is intended to serve as a resource for librarians who are asked to recommend historical fiction titles or for readers looking for additional titles to try. The author defines historical fiction as events that take place 50 years before the writing of the book, but admits that he has broken his own rule in places and included novels written during the period in which they were set. Both classics and newer novels are included within lists that the author characterizes as “unconventional and even sometimes whimsical.” The main divisions of the book are: Setting (some subdivisions are Lost Worlds of Privilege, Small Town and Village Life, Place as the Main Character); Character (Women with True Grit, Life Stories in the Arts, Rebels with a Cause); Story (Domestic Drama, Long Gone: The Journey or Quest); Language (In Journal Form, Dreamy); and Mood and Atmosphere (Nostalgic, Elegiac; Encountering Prejudice).

Novels included on the lists range from “light to literary, educational to entertaining.” Hooper’s annotations are evocative and compelling; within four pages I had seven titles on a list of “must get hold of immediately” books. The non-traditional categories and the enthusiastic descriptions are sure to lead readers to a wealth of new titles.