Well, 2019 is off to a roaring start, so I decided to suggest some ways to find good historical fiction books, stories and films.It’s always a challenge to find them. No matter what era you like to read about, these locations will help you find what you’re looking for.
1. Reading the Past. Sarah Johnson, who runs the site, is a friend, and that’s why she’s first on the list. I wrote about the site earlier last year, and Reading the Past has only gotten better since then. Sarah likes all types of historical fiction, and often posts guest posts from other authors. Whenever I look there, I see something I like. The blog is now 13 years old.
2. Charles Rector recently contacted me and asked me to tell the world about a new historical fiction webzine, called the Magazine of History and Fiction. The webzine’s first issue is out, and contains a number of stories aimed at both men and women.
One story I liked in particular is I’d Rather Lose My Head, by Kat Devitt, is about Anne Boleyn, before her marriage to Henry the VIII. Here’s a quote:
Anne never wanted duty to signify her life, nor did Henry Percy. She discovered a kindred flame in him. In the moment they met, he craved after her, like a beggar after water. They sparked and blazed in the months to follow.
One night, he took her in passion. And she lived outside of duty. For the first time, she understood the truth about herself. She was not her father’s teachings, no matter how hard he tried to press her into his mold. She was desire. She was rebellion. This was the clay of the true Anne Boleyn.
Henry Percy held her that night, skin to skin. They promised themselves to one another, paving out a future together in their minds. He claimed so much that night. He claimed the moon and stars for her, claimed the fires of hell and the light of heaven. He’d give her anything, on the condition she would always be his.
He told her of his family. They, too, tried to force him to fit the model of duty. He despised them for pressing him towards a betrothal struck when he was a child. He claimed he wanted to smash the word “duty” into nothingness and eradicate it from their language. Then, and only then, could they belong to one another.
Anne believed him. But he wasn’t strong enough to live up to the might of his declaration. And now she sat here, a fool, while he went against all his silly promises and dwelt in what she despised most—duty.
I’ve been reading Alison Weir’s book The Six Wives of Henry VIII, so I was drawn to this story. The site also includes novelettes, book reviews, movie reviews and essays. Let’s hope this publication lasts.
3. Amazon and Amazon Prime. This is the go-to place to find good historical fiction books, but, ironically, they are sometimes difficult to find. You can always search by category, doing a google search for Amazon best-sellers, then going to Literature and Fiction, then going to Historical Fiction to see the top 100 paid and free historical fiction books. You can read reviews there, too, of course.
Amazon Prime Video is indispensable when it comes to finding great films. You can go to the home page of Amazon prime and simply search historical dramas or wait until you’ve watched a few and then go to your recommended list. Dramas seem to be one code word for historical fiction.
4. Goodreads is a much more direct way of finding good historical fiction books. Go to browse, then set historical fiction under “favorite genres.” There will be endless recommendations. You can find reviews with every book. It’s a fun place for book lovers.
5.The Copperfield Review is the oldest historical fiction magazine currently on the web. It’s a place where aspiring historical novelists can publish short stories and other forms of short fiction, so if you’re wanting to get published, there’s a double bonus: you can read and enjoy, and also submit your own writing:
This is from the current edition, from a story called The White Ship by Richard Comerford:
King Henry had thanked him, saying he was pleased with his own vessel, but he had entrusted Thomas with many of his entourage, including his sons William and Richard and his daughter Matilda. William the Atheling was an important charge, as he would be the next Duke of Normandy and would inherit Henry’s crown.
And… he was the young nobleman who, swaying slightly from too much wine,had ordered Thomas to chase and overtake the King’s ship which had left before them.
Thomas was not pleased, but knew he had to do as he was bidden, and he gave orders accordingly while he looked at the noisy, drunken young men and women making merry on his beautiful ship. Free from the stern eye of the King they were intent on making the most of their brief freedom. He had certainly not approved of the boorish manner in which they had driven off a group of pious priests who had merely wished to bless the ship and her voyage. The baffled priests had retreated in the face of a storm of abuse and sneers.
Surely it is bad luck to turn away a priest – many priests – who come from God to bless your venture…?
6. Willow and Thatch is a website devoted to period pieces on film and TV. It contains lists, for example, of the best period pieces on Netflix and Amazon in 2019. The website owners also sell products.
7.Passages to the Past is starting a reading challenge for 2019. I signed up, as can anyone. It offers plenty of reviews of historical fiction books. The blog is now over ten years old.
9. Historical Fiction Ebooks is a site where good historical fiction books are categorized according to era — so you should be able to find something if you know what you want. Authors are invited to join the site, so the quality of the books can be assured. One author member whom I haven’t read in a while but enjoyed in the past is N. Gemini Sasson.
Check out all these sites. You are sure to find something you enjoy.