Well! Blow me didn’t I fall down the stairs this time last month, stained my back muscles and ended up in A&E. I can’t help wondering if this is because I made my character Edith fall down the stairs in the first few chapters of Curmudgeon Avenue… At least I got the time to publish, however starting this five days blog, well my timing could not have been worse! I’m catching up now.
Today, in my favourite things to read, let’s talk about historical fiction. Now, I have a confession to make, when I was working full time and my daughter was at school, I was a much slower reader than I am now. However, a series of events happened (such as those birthday things that happen every year) and now I read loads, all different genres. Anyway, during my late thirties back in the day, I think it may have been historical fiction that turned me into a voracious reader once again. The first and favourite one by this author is Phillipa Gregory’s The Boleyn Inheritance.
What a great book this is, I’ll be honest, it is six or seven years ago that I read this, and my copy is on an e-reader now gathering dust in my Husband’s drawer at work, however I do remember how much I loved this book. Obviously, Tudor history was included in my school days – but not the ‘gossipy’ bits! When I read this book, I remember thinking ‘oh that couldn’t have happened’ but it did! This book sparked my interest in history, and history IS so interesting! Every chapter is written in the first person of whoever the chapter is about , Anne of Cleves, Jane Boleyn (Parker) and Katherine Howard. It is so good, Philippa Gregory has a real skill of getting inside the mind of each character, I imagine her sitting at her desk and thinking ‘oh, would Anne of Cleves really say that?’ What admiration I have for her.
Secondly, another Historical Fiction book I enjoyed were the Wolf Hall books by Hilary Mantel. Very famous, dare I review such a prize winning and superb work? I read both Bring Up The Bodies and Wolf Hall. I remember reading the latter particularly because I was reading this when I got married just over three years ago, I had planned to finish reading it the night , but one of my friends Sara had other ideas, enjoyable pre-wedding drinks! Ahh fond memories, what I remember liking about Hilary Mantel’s books are the slightly satirical descriptions of the characters. One scene I remember in particular about Anne Boleyn making out that she is unable to pronounce the surname ‘Cromwell’ because she has been living in France for so long that her accent has changed.
‘Now she speaks her native tongue with a slight unplaceable accent, strewing her sentences with French words when she pretends she can’t think of the English’
Brilliant, I love it, depicting Anne Boleyn as presuming her power, and Thomas Cromwell having a private smirk about her.
Now, as the track-pad on this lap top is dying a frustrating death, and I don’t want to keep you too long, I would like to mention two other historical fiction books, written of the time without mentioning any ‘events’ . The Color Purple by Alice Walker and The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Protagonists in similar situations, the latter set only just before my living history. And speaking of the early 1960s , what a coincidence, my book ‘1962’ is my take on historical fiction, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and lesser so, but still important is the history of cycling in Lancashire UK. Someone told me they were upset because the year ‘1962’ does not seem that long ago to them, but it is definitely historical fiction.
Who knows? Maybe one day I’ll write another historical fiction? Happy Friday everyone, Samantha.