Some people love to read history–they want to know what really happened. I prefer historical fiction because it tells me why it happened. It doesn’t bother me that historical novelists often juggle dates and places to make things work better–if the story hangs together and makes sense in terms of the characters’ feelings and thoughts, that’s good enough for me. The same issue comes up in true crime–what the criminal did and how it was discovered are very interesting, but without knowing the answer to the perennial question What were the thinking? I’m left feeling that a major, and the most interesting, part of the story is missing. Particularly since people convicted of the kinds of crimes that get written about either maintain their innocence to the end, or may not be noted for truth-telling (to put it nicely). The best historical novels present people much like ourselves in terms of complexity, intelligence, ambition, etc., operating in a very different set of circumstances.
Here are some historical novels I’ve enjoyed, in case you’re looking for something new to read:
Sharon Kay Penman, The Welsh Princes Trilogy: Here Be Dragons, Falls The Shadow and The Reckoning http://www.amazon.com/Here-Dragons-Sharon-Kay-Penman/dp/0312382456/ref=wp_bs_1_B00CKDIJDK_paperback
Dorothy Dunnett, The Lymond Chronicles (These are some of my favorite books anywhere, ever. And there are six of them!) Less history and more fiction, although Mary, Queen of Scots, Elizabeth I and others make appearances. http://www.amazon.com/Game-Kings-Lymond-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B003XT60GI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407185184&sr=8-1&keywords=the+lymond
I’ve provided the Amazon links, not because I’m pushing Amazon, but because I find the customer reviews helpful and Amazon usually has parts of the Publisher’s Weekly review as well.