I received a Kobo eReader from my husband for Christmas. While I love the portability and lightweight features, especially when traveling, I discovered the tried and true method of reading the first 3 pages of a prospective historical fiction novel was no longer an option. This was my benchmark for deciding whether a HF novel stayed on the shelf or came home with me.
Now, I am developing another strategy before I spend money on a historical fiction novel. I began reading historical fiction reviews. I prefer reviews other than Amazon or Chapters/Indigo. After all, they are in the business of selling digital books and have a vested interest in presenting a historical fiction novel in the most enticing light. Additionally, I have seen 5 star reviews on novels that make my jaw drop, especially when I would be hard-pressed to give such novels 2 stars.
I read, on average, one novel each week, unless it is a particularly lengthy epic. After almost 4 decades of reading HF (a passion since my mother brought Little Women home from the library when I was around 10. In fact, I was so in love with the genre, I spent several months shortening my middle name, Elizabeth, to “Beth” in honor of my tragic heroine.), I certainly believe I have the experience to separate the wheat from the chaff.
If you are looking for reviews of romance, alternate or paranormal historical fiction, you won’t find them here. If you want honest, perceptive reviews of quality HF novels, this is the blog to visit. I used to believe that, if I read the first chapter of a novel and hated it, I had to finish what I started. No longer. If a HF novel is abysmal, it’s not worth my time to read it or your time to read a review.
Not all the HF novels I read are great. If I can’t rate a historical fiction novel at 3 stars or higher, I don’t write a review. The vast majority will rank as excellent (4 stars) or exceptional (5 stars) as I have gained expertise in assessing novels and authors. I write reviews in accordance with the Historical Novel Society’s precedents.
I am also a writer. I began with creative writing, turned to technical freelance writing for several years and, recently, returned to creative writing. No, I have not published a book (yet). This does not detract from my credentials, however. I understand plot, character development, conflict, setting, theme and the myriad of other components contained within a historical novel. I write on a daily basis.
I frequently research details after reading a historical fiction novel to find out more information or, even, how closely the novel follows generally accepted history. After this many years of double-checking, I have a fair amount of knowledge.
Reviews will be rated on a scale of 1 to 5 stars, as this will make comparisons with other reviews equitable.