Goodreads Authors/Readers discussion

Historical Fiction > Analysis shows which historical periods are popular with novelists

Comments Showing 1-7 of 7 (7 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by J.G. (new)

J.G. Follansbee (joe_follansbee) | 19 comments A recent BBC report pointed out that most historical novels tend to be set in the 20th century, and in 20th century wars. It also found that the Middle Ages and the classical period were waning as settings. What's behind these trends, do you think? Changing tastes? Fascination with war as a reflection of public interest in dystopias?

message 2: by Laurel (new)

Laurel Rockefeller (laurelarockefeller) | 144 comments Silent Crossroads by Jem Duducu by Jem Duducu is set from 1910s to 1940s with the main character fighting for both sides and in both wars. Classic example of what you are talking about.

Personally don't see the attraction. I've had numerous discussions with Mr. Duducu and no matter how much he explains it to me, I never really seem to latch onto the popularity here. These were horrific and very bloody times with carnage on increasingly mass scales as technology made it so much easier for mass slaughter to be conducted by fewer people.

Of course I'm a social historian. I write biographies of inspiring women, the sort of uplifting stuff that makes you want to go out and make the world a better place. I don't believe in glorifying wars. I believe in glorifying peace.

Could this trend then be reflective of the "new normal" we are living in, where war and killing are so routine we are no longer horrified by suffering?

message 3: by Vicky (new)

Vicky | 33 comments I set my stories in the late 19th century and early 20th century. The main reason is that my novels are set in New Zealand and are inspired by immigrants to this country at the time. I only write about the wars during this period when it impacts on the characters directly, otherwise they are 'at home' and it's more about how they respond to wartime changes. I'm more interested in how interpersonal and family relationships are affected than writing about the horrors of war.

message 4: by Alice (new)

Alice Poon (alice_poon) | 155 comments I've never been a fan of the two World Wars as they glorify a kind of jingoism. Personally, I like writing historical novels about inspiring women in China's dynastic eras. The historical fiction genre as it is seems too focused on European history :(

message 5: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (sarahsweetz25) | 58 comments I guess historical periods can be much interesting leaving the war front. Kind off more about the events rather than the actual war


message 6: by Lexie (new)

Lexie Conyngham | 88 comments Hm, I don't much enjoy novels about the actual fighting (despite reading factual books about it). However, I do like books like Robert Harris' Enigma and Elizabeth Speller's The Return of Captain John Emmett, which look more at the home front and how war affects people's lives, rather than the glorification of fighting. However, I read lots of different historical fiction, and the world wars form a very small part of the whole.

message 7: by J. (new)

J. Rubino (jrubino) | 90 comments Lately I've seen a lot of mystery and detective fiction set in the Victorian era, specifically England/London. I think it's because the setting itself is colorful, there's a lot of what Anne Shirley called "scope for imagination" and also because historical mystery lends itself to actual sleuthing - the internet has replaced a lot of the "pounding pavement", observation, hunting down clues aspect of modern mysteries.

back to top