Genres in Genres

I’ve always enjoyed reading widely, never sticking to one genre, as you can see from this snapshot of one of my bookcases.  And now, as a reviewer for the Historical Novel Society, I’ve discovered that many genres can thrive under the umbrella of ‘Historical Fiction.’

Some of the range of genres on my bookcase at home

This month, I had the pleasure of reviewing three very different novels for this month’s Historical Novels Review.

Courtesy of SJA Turney’s The Last Crusade, I galloped across the plains of Medieval Northern Spain, sharing action and adventure with a Knight of God. When not engaged in sharp, bloody fights, I also got to share his worries about loyalty and faith – when orders of man and God conflict, what does it mean to be a righteous warrior for the Lord?

Then, expertly led by Anne O’Brien in The Queen’s Rival, I plunged into the 15th century household of Cicely Neville, Grande Dame of the Wars of the Roses.  In between the domesticity of clothes and recipes, I shared her agonies over the choices of love, loyalty and fatal betrayal that she, and those she loves, had to make.

And then, by the magic of storytelling, I was whisked across the Atlantic to the swarming, frenetic life of New York City in 1904.  As ever in historical fiction, the technology changes, but people do not.  Jeff Dawson’s thrilling hero Inigo Finch travelled on opulent liners and the new subway, but the baddies he faced were the same as today’s: New York’s grubbers after money and power.

Adventurous action, romantic family saga, or fast-paced thriller, all three books were good reads, and you can read my full reviews at the Historical Novel Society’s website

About Helen Johnson

Freelance writer specialising in Yorkshire's history and heritage.

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