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Chapter 40 - Don't Know Much About History


I love historical fiction and there have been a lot of good books written recently which incorporate history. My favorites are when fact blends with fiction and the author has been a meticulous researcher. When reading a historical fiction book I will often grab a history book or go online to determine if the facts of the book are correct. After validating the author, I will then do additional research to become more informed about a subject. I am probably a historical fiction writer's worst nightmare because once I find out a particular event is incorrect, I will not read that author again.

I have found some authors I always read because they have a special way of bringing history to life. Here are a few of my favorites.

Melanie Benjamin - Melanie Benjamin does a great job writing about people in history. The Aviator's Wife which is about Anne Morrow Lindbergh is one of her best. Her most recent book, Mistress of the Ritz, about Blanch Auzello and her husband Claude in wartime Paris, is marvelous. Other Benjamin novels include The Swans of Fifth Avenue, Alice, I Have Been, The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb and The Girls in the Picture. I don't think you can go wrong with any of them.

Marie Benedict - While not yet as prolific as Benjamin, Marie Benedict is also a powerful writer of historical fiction. The Only Woman in the Room, a novel of the movie actress and inventor Hedy Lamarr is worth the read as are her other books Carnegie's Maid and The Other Einstein. Benedict's latest novel Lady Clementine about Mrs. Winston Churchill comes out in January, 2020 and is definitely on my wish list.

Martha Hall Kelly - With just two novels to her name The Lilac Girls and Lost Roses, Kelly has focused on the Faraday family, Caroline in the first book and Eliza in the second. The Lilac Girls is a story of World War II, while Lost Roses centers around the Russian Revolution. Both are compelling reads. She is currently working on a third novel that takes place during the Civil War and is about another Faraday relative.

Sandra Gulland - Gulland's books go back a little farther in time and her first trilogy was about Josephine Bonaparte. The collection includes The Many Lives and Secret Sorrows of Josephine B., Tales of Passion, Tales of Woe, and The Last Great Dance on Earth. Other novels she has written are The Shadow Queen, Mistress of the Sun, and The Game of Hope. All Gulland's novels are about French history.

V.S. Alexander - While fairly new to me V.S. Alexander has been writing historic fiction for quite a few years now. I have recently read The Taster and The Magdalen Girls and can recommend both. Other books of his include The Traitor and The Irishman's Daughter.

Do you have any favorite historical fiction writers? Please share!

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