Second, my timing reading The Kitchen House coincided perfectly with my schedule in my Seminar in Popular Materials. Last week we read historical fiction novels, and I learned a lot about the genre that I would like to share with you.
Joyce Saricks, a recently retired Readers' Advisory librarian, wrote the main textbook for this class, The Readers' Advisory Guide to Genre Fiction (2009), which will be where I get information for this post.
Historical Fiction tells stories that are set in the past. This definition may seem obvious, so Saricks specifies that the past is "before the author's lifetime or experience" (p. 291). Most readers of this genre are sticklers for "historical accuracy and detail" - authenticity is key (p. 291). After all, if they are devoting time to the tomes that often are Historical Fiction novels, readers want to be enlightened of the time and its customs. Characters can be real or made up, but their traits must fit in with the time period. In short, Saricks states that "the goal of authors of Historical Fiction is to bring history to life in novel form" (p. 291).
I was very lucky that The Kitchen House fit in with the genre and my favorite setting - Southside Virginia!
Have you read a good Historical Fiction novel lately? Tell us about it!