Discussion: My Perfect Historical Fantasy Book

discussion

Today continues in my new feature, talking about what makes my perfect book in a particular genre! I did fantasy one a while ago and this past month, followed it up with supernatural. Going in line with this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, I am now talking about what my perfect historical fiction book just HAS to have.

  1. A new take on a time period. I’m all up for some time periods (give me WW2 for days!), but I want to see different perspectives from them. This includes different sides of the war, different social classes, different genders. Whatever it might be, I want it to be distinctive from all the other books in that time period. Or, taking on a whole new one!
  2. Being grounded in a LOT of history. I tend to prefer my history with gobbles of history. In fact, my preferred way is if the book is actually a retelling of some sort or a little-known story from a time period. Seeing the research that went into building the character is really fun, especially if I know that it is realistic. Nothing worse than an unrealistic setting.
  3. Characters that fit into their time period. If anything messes these books up, it’s characters that don’t really fit into their time period. And I’m not saying they all have to fall into the gender/society rules for their period, but some phrases of dialogue maybe didn’t exist yet. Or a romance moves WAY too quickly than would have been socially acceptable.
  4. A world that doesn’t get TOO big. There’s so much history! And it gets crazy when they jump around time periods in time travel books, especially too often. It’s crazy – focus on something! Or, even without that, just a little small town thing could be fine. I feel like it should be really narrowed in onto a certain place or time..
  5. A good plot. Obviously, critical for any story. But especially so here. Otherwise, it reads like a nonfiction book! I see a lot of romance/contemporary issues or mysteries in historical fiction and those are really fun. But I still want it to hold up against other plots.

So that’s it! The five things that I want to see in the perfect historical fiction book. Here are a few of my personal favorites that rank pretty close to this:

The Book Thief   Elephant Run   The Help   Prisoner of Night and Fog (Prisoner of Night and Fog, #1)   Between Shades of Gray

And now, a couple on my TBR list that I want to live up to my perfect historical fiction novels:

Vengeance Road   Code Name Verity (Code Name Verity, #1)    The Diviners (The Diviners, #1)   The Luxe (Luxe, #1)   Out of the Easy

What makes up your perfect historical fiction novel? Any recommendations?

name

Top Ten Tuesday: Historical Settings

top ten tuesday key

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by Broke and Bookish. This week’s theme is all about historical fiction – favorite settings, books, whatever! I’ve decided to talk about ten time periods and locations where I would love to read a historical fiction set. These books don’t even have to be YA, but that would be fun too. Here they are:

  1. Imperial Russia. What I’m talking about here is some of the stories that we’ve all heard about – Moscow, Peter the Great, Anastasia. There are a few books I know of that are set in Russia, but none that have really nailed it so far.
  2. Pre-Colonial America. Something about Native Americans that is historically accurate and set before any Europeans arrive! I think it would be fascinating to read about a story set in their culture, without the arrival of colonists (where most historical fictions here are set).
  3. Imperial China. Just very old-age China, once again, maybe before Europeans came. They have such a rich culture too that could have so many different perspectives.
  4. Gold Rush-era West. I know Vengeance Road played on this one a little bit, but more!
  5. Vikings. Vikings are great. That’s it.
  6. Roman Empire. I love classics, so hearing about something set in Rome would be really cool.
  7. African Colonization. I’m not entirely sure what I meant here, but I read Things Fall Apart last year which was all about an African tribe being affected by colonists. So, anywhere really? I’m not totally familiar with this region’s history, but I really loved that book and would be up for more like it.
  8. Space. – Obviously, space isn’t really a time period! But, space race?
  9. Medieval France. – Maybe this is just because I’ve been binge-watching Reign lately, but I love that time period and would love to see some more palace drama.
  10. Renaissance Italy. – It’s a time period practically ingrained in us with all the glorious art and stories of rival artists.

Those are some of what I’m thinking! There are so many regions and time periods to explore though. What are some places that you would love to go (fictionally)?

name

The Help by Kathryn Stockett Review

The Help

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Published Amy Einhorn Books 2009

Genre: Adult Historical Fiction

Format: Kindle ebook

This is her first book!

Buy this book: AmazonBarnes & Noble

b38bc-coollogo_com-221351400Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

029c6-coollogo_com-9181998This is the second time I’ve picked up this book. The first time I was going to listen to the audiobook (narrated by Viola Davis) and just fell out of listening, as I often to do with audiobooks. However, the story has been following me ever since that, so I decided to pick up the physical book and give it a go!

The Help is an insanely beautiful story. It’s told from three points of view – Skeeter, Abilieen, and Minny. I loved all three of them, almost equally. Skeeter chapters were probably my favorite, as I related to her story of wanting to be a writer and struggling with women’s rights and being a more work-focused person rather than focusing on her romantic relationships. Her story was so interesting and unique that I really loved her. Abilieen was a heartbreaking character. I loved her relationship with Mae Mobley and her overall perspective. It was something not many authors could probably deliver very well, but I really enjoyed it. Minny was not as strong of a presence as the other two, but her chapters really packed a punch in the way that Abilieen’s couldn’t, mostly because of who they were helping. I loved all the secondary characters too – I felt so concerned for Ms. Celia’s problem, I loved watching Mae Mobley develop, and all the drama between the white women was just so realistic and funny.

The plot of this story takes a little while to pick up, but the characters are the essential hook here. When the three women finally cross paths and begin on their epic journey, it really is incredible to watch unfold. I liked how everything tied together at the end to really bring together a very powerful story. The setting of the 1960s South was very enjoyable. I don’t know how realistic this is (and I’ve seen quite a few reviews scolding the book for not being realistic, neither in setting or characteristic). There were some historical events tied in, such as Martin Luther King Jr, the March on Washington, and the sit ins. Other than that, I enjoyed the book for being fiction. I was not expecting a true story from this, but just a good read that I hoped would provide me with something to think about.

The message of this book is that we are all alike and that our skin color does not separate us. This may seem like a strange topic for these days, but I really think it is important to extend this metaphor. I think the best showing of this is how Skeeter embraces Abilieen, Minny, and all the other maids that help her. It’s a really nice community that they form. The message gets across very well and it’s done beautifully, while not being subtle. What the message is is quite obvious, but the book, for me, was mostly about the characters and less about the meaning.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book! I think it is a beautiful story told by interesting characters that feel like real people and is definitely worth a read for anyone interested.

63169-pawprint63169-pawprint63169-pawprint63169-pawprint63169-pawprint