Readers tell us why they read historical fiction

As of today, 1944 people have taken the 2015 reader survey and 104 took the time to comment on why they read historical fiction. A sampling of responses:

Man Reading - John Singer Sargent
Man Reading – John Singer Sargent

 

The “educational” part is important to me and I tend to pick authors for whom historical accuracy is important.

 

There is nothing like being transported to another time and place and getting to live a different life you could never live in reality.

 

Of course I am fascinated with history but I think historical fiction is particularly good at showing the universality of certain feelings and thoughts–of getting at the great truths that transcend time. I also think the distance of history often allows readers a “safe” space to ponder events and issues in their own lives that might present as too painful in a closer/more contemporary setting.

 

Woman Reading - Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Woman Reading – Pierre-Auguste Renoir

My favorite thing about reading historical fiction is finding out about the every day lives of people in the past.

 

I like immersive fiction and good histfic is notably immersive!

 

To better understand how we got to where we are now as well.

 

To explore what the author sees as timeless human qualities.

 

My historical fiction reading motivates me to do further reading on time periods and people. It doesn’t stop with the novel in question. The novel is merely the beginning.

 

Sounds daft I know, but it makes history live again

 

Just a few responses, later I will categorize and see if any themes emerge.

FOR MORE ON INSIDE HISTORICAL FICTION follow A WRITER OF HISTORY (using the widget on the left sidebar)

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction and blogs about all aspects of the genre at A Writer of History. Her latest novel, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE is set in WWI France and is available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. Her debut novel, UNRAVELLED: Two wars. Two affairs. One marriage. is also available from these retailers.

Mary can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

2 thoughts on “Readers tell us why they read historical fiction”

  1. Thanks for doing the survey again. It’s fascinating to see what draws people to historical fiction. And I enjoyed taking part, so I’m looking forward to finding out what other people think.

  2. I fully agree with this comment

    “Of course I am fascinated with history but I think historical fiction is particularly good at showing the universality of certain feelings and thoughts–of getting at the great truths that transcend time. I also think the distance of history often allows readers a “safe” space to ponder events and issues in their own lives that might present as too painful in a closer/more contemporary setting.”

    I’m writing a story set in the Twenties and when I start reserching it four years ago, I was shocked to discover how many things the Twenties have in common with our time.
    And sure, being the Twenties a relatively near time, the similarities are probably many more than if we go still back in time, but there are certainly many things that remain relevant thoughtout time. I think this is why it makes sense to write historical. Besides, it certainly still makes sense to read stories coming from the past.

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