A question I often get asked about historical fiction

“Are you generally a fan of historical novels? If so, which are your favourites?”

I am a fan of what I would call literary historical novels—slow, gritty but poetic novels that often end unhappily.

I love Rose Tremain’s work—my favorite is Music & Silence.

Sarah Water’s Fingersmith is brilliant.

Hans Koning’s A Walk with Love and Death is a spare, elegant historical novel I’ve read several times over.

Geraldine Brook’s Year of Wonder is a wonder, as is Tracy Chevallier’s Girl with a Pearl Earring.

I loved Enemy Women by Paulette Giles.

More recently: The Hummingbird’s Daughter by Urrea has to be one of the best novels I’ve ever read.

Imposture by Benjamin Markovits is stunning, as is Coal Black Horse, by Robert Olmstead.

Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants is irresistible.

I read these authors with awe.