Friday, July 1, 2016

A Lesson in Living History

History, a word that has made many cringe, shudder, and possibly cry in high school. But what if we were to consider just how much we could learn from reading historical novels of any genre. Fictional characters like Sherlock Holmes, or writers like Jane Austin, have allowed us a glimpse into an era long past.

Charles Dickens
Historical fiction authors have the burden of research, and the joy of discovery, while today’s readers have a wonderful opportunity to step back in time and let a world long gone come alive in a way no history book could compete with.  If you choose an author like Charles Dickens, his authentic characters and descriptions of setting must have some measure of historical accuracy…don't you think?

Arriving at Ellis Island
The magic comes alive as you open a book, for amidst the lines on the page you find yourself walking through New York over one hundred years ago, breathing in the smells from the steamships docked at the port. It’d rained yesterday, transforming the streets into a thick mud that clings to everything that dares touch it. You wait, anxiously glancing around, hoping to spot your family coming in from Ireland, praying they made it past the inspection on Ellis Island…hoping they haven’t succumbed to illness on the long ride in the overcrowded, unsanitary conditions.

Stark Home, Co
Or maybe, you're a young woman, moving west to a new life. Promised to a man you’ve never met.
Used to a life of privilege overseas, nothing could rightfully prepare you for what lies ahead. As our heroine comes to face her reality, so can readers.

The richness found in novels brings not only random facts, but life itself, filled with emotions, situations, struggles, sights and smells of a time lost to us. So when you add a date and event to the lives of these characters, it makes history real, easier to remember, and if you’re lucky, stirs your curiosity.

Read on, Watson.


  1. Wooohoooo! Exactly why I like good historical fiction!

  2. Great post! I learn so much reading (and researching and writing!) historical fiction. I've loved the genre from an early age. :-)

  3. Historical fiction has the benefit of teaching without us realizing it. I love being immersed in the past and experiencing the world at different points in history.

  4. Everything I know about England;s kings and queens I learned from historical fiction. Love it!

  5. I love historical fiction that sets you right in the midst of events.