Favourite WWI Fiction – a teaser

On a survey about WWI fiction I asked participants to name a few favourite novels set in that time. Here’s a sampling of those mentioned. I’ll be back with a more complete report when time permits.

  • To Serve Them All My Days by R.F. Delderfield
  • The Horizon by Douglas Reeman
  • All Quiet on the Western Front (Im Westen nichts neues) by Erich Maria Remarque
  • For Two Cents, I’ll Go With You by Marcia Maxwell
  • The Regeneration Trilogy by Pat Barker
  • Testament of Youth by Vera Britain
  • The Flowers of the Field by Sarah Harrison
  • In Pale Battalions by Robert Goddard
  • We Shall Not Sleep by Anne Perry
  • Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
  • The Ambassador’s Daughter by Pam Jenoff
  • I’ll Bring You Buttercups by Elizabeth Elgin
  • At the Going Down of the Sun by Elizabeth Darrell
  • The Soldier’s Bride by Maggie Ford
  • The Fall of Giants by Ken Follett
  • The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes
  • Never Forget Me by Marguerite Kaye
  • A Pattern of Lies by Charles Todd
  • The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman (non-fiction)
  • The Absolutist by John Boyne
  • The Last Summer by Judith Kinghorn
  • A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  • Good Soldier Svejk by Jaroslav Hasek
  • Fall of Poppies – short stories by eight different authors
  • At the Edge of Summer by Jessica Brockmole
  • Time and Regret by M.K. Tod (!!!)

Well friends, definitely lots to choose from. I’ll be back with more information.

You can find other information about the WWI survey at WWI Fiction – Readers Have Their Say.

WWI Fiction – Readers have their say

In preparation for a panel on WWI fiction, I conducted a brief reader survey a few months ago and thought I’d share the results.

It’s encouraging to see so many people reading novels set during WWI. Combining the first two responses gives us 91% indicating they’ve read some or many novels from this era. Women and men responded much the same.

With so many female participants, this result isn’t surprising. Men and women have different profiles – see the split below.

Next question – note than some of the response option text is cut short. You can see the full text in the male/female comparison which is also included.

In the ‘other’ category, we have a wide range of responses. Additionally, men and women have quite different points of view (see below).

What appeals to you about the WWI timeframe? Since this was a write-in question, answers were individually read and categorized.

It’s intriguing to see so many people refer to ‘changes that followed’. Many used the word pivotal in describing the changes that occurred. They said this in many ways, referring to social, technological, military, political, gender, and class changes, as well as the loss of innocence and the emergence of new values and mores. As for male/female, the only significant difference is an interest in the soldiers’ experience.

What do you think we can learn that’s relevant to today from novels set in and around WWI? This too was a write-in question; answers were individually read and categorized as shown below.

Note: ‘Individuals responses’ refers to readers’ interest in how individual men and women responded to the war itself – bravery, cowardice, camaraderie, willingness to serve, sacrifice and so on. Men are more likely to cite causes of war and politics of war. They are more likely to say ‘history repeats itself’ and less likely to think that we can learn from history.

One further question asked participants to mention favourite WWI fiction. I have yet to tabulate those results but will get back to you when I do!

Participants’ reading profile: 30% of participants said that ‘more than 75% of my reading is historical fiction’; another 29% read historical fiction more than 50% of the time; a further 27% read historical fiction more than 25% of the time.

As someone who loves WWI fiction and has written three novels set in this time period, I’m delighted to see the wide interest and relevance. I hope you all find the results of interest as well.

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

M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, NookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.