For the May issue of Historical Novels Review, I reviewed Habits of the House by Fay Weldon, Motherland by William Nicholson and Paperboy by Vince Vawter. Reviewing books for HNS fuels my interest in historical fiction while providing the opportunity to examine how other authors approach this very popular genre.
In a nutshell:
- I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Vince Vawter’s young adult novel – perhaps I should read Harry Potter after all? The hero, a boy who stutters, encounters an intriguing and life-changing group of characters and learns from each of them.
- Fay Weldon’s novel, a turn of the century upstairs-downstairs story (apparently it’s the first of a series) was too thin and fluffy for my taste.
- Motherland which begins with the Dieppe raid in 1942, had more depth, more twists and turns and, of course, I’m a sucker for WWI and WWII stories. Two caveats – in my opinion, Nicholson could omit the prologue and epilogue (they detract from the plot) as well as a contrived section set in India as Mountbatten helps transition that country to independence.
If you enjoy historical fiction, visit the Historical Novel Society website. It’s full of interesting articles and more than 6500 online reviews.