10 thoughts on Favourite Historical Fiction

Participants in the 2015 reader survey nominated their favourite historical fiction (a second post added those mentioned by 5 to 9 participants). What can we glean from the more than 1700 nominated titles?

Favourite-Historical-Fiction

  1. Many mentions of titles by authors such as Dorothy Dunnett, Elizabeth Chadwick, Sharon Kay Penman, Bernard Cornwell, Patrick O’Brian, Ken Follett and Diana Gabaldon which is not surprising given the status of these writers as favourite authors. (You can find the post on favourite authors here.)
  2. Many mentions of Outlander and Wolf Hall  and I wonder if this reflects their recent TV adaptations.
  3. Despite the request for single titles only, series were frequently nominated which makes me think that participants really enjoy series and additionally did not want to be restricted to three titles.
  4. A significant number of favourites are stories set in ancient Rome.
  5. Many favourite stories were written long ago by authors such as Sir Walter Scott, Daniel Defoe, Mary Stewart, Alexandre Dumas, Irving Stone, Robert Louis Stevenson, Jean Plaidy, Leo Tolstoy.
  6. Readers enjoy myths, particularly those told of King Arthur and Merlin.
  7. Both major and minor historical fiction figures feature in the stories.
  8. There are many, many authors I have never heard of.
  9. The inclusion of a few relatively recent 2015 novels – All the Light We Cannot See for example – might suggest that it’s easier to recall a title recently read than one from long ago.
  10. Not surprisingly, favourites vary with gender, nationality and age.

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 and blogs about all aspects of the genre at A Writer of History. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET will be published by Lake Union on August 16, 2016. 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.

 

 

Favourite Historical Fiction

In 2015, I asked readers to list their favourite historical fiction titles for the first time. Being a little more experienced I limited participants to three choices – clearly a challenge for many. What has emerged is more than 1700 different titles – and no, I won’t be listing them all today – and some clear favourites.

Favourite titles >40 mentions

I’ve grouped them into three parts: titles with more than 40 mentions, titles with 20 to 39 mentions and titles with 10 to 19 mentions. Given variations in spelling and the ability of readers to recall exact titles, it’s been a challenge to count the entries and I’ve spent weeks checking and double-checking to be as accurate as possible. I have chosen to put the titles in order but not to show actual counts since I remain concerned about absolute accuracy. For your information, FC means the book is concerned primarily about fictional characters, while FHF refers to famous historical figures.Favourite titles 20 to 39

** Despite a comment advising participants that Jane Austen did not write historical fiction, Pride and Prejudice attracted more than ten mentions.Favourite HF from 10 to 19

Participants could not restrain themselves from mentioning series and so I have done my best to accommodate them in the final counts.

No doubt there will be questions – such as: how much influence did the series Outlander and Wolf Hall affect the result? Does the inclusion of All the Light We Cannot See reflect participants’ ability to recall titles from the past compared with new releases? And then there are questions of how the list varies with gender, nationality, and age. I hope to crank the numbers some more, however, right now I have a manuscript to edit 🙂

If you spot any inaccuracies, please let me know.

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, TIME AND REGRET will be published by Lake Union on August 16, 2016. 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.