In Memoriam: Robert B. Parker

I am taking a sabbatical from the discussion of historical fiction to pay homage to a giant in a very different field: Robert B. Parker, king of noir detective fiction, who died yesterday morning at his writing desk. Parker is famous enough for his output (a...

Bah, Humbug!

Goodwill and happiness has descended upon us in the form of the holiday season, and I am in my usual cynical funk. Having absorbed all the canned Christmas music I can stand in the course of holiday shopping, I am now in no mood to praise anybody. So allow me to...

The Heaven Tree

Every so often a book comes along that does more than stop you in its tracks. It yanks you in, envelops you, makes the rest of the world dim and cloudy. While in thrall to such a book, everything outside its covers is unimportant. Housework, homework, any other kind...

Ladies of History

Last time around, I made a list of the hunks of historical fiction who have warmed my heart. I’d hate to be accused of being unfair to the boys out there, so here’s a list of the female heroines of historical fiction who make the hearts of men go...

Historical Hunks

Greetings all, and thanks for putting up with a month’s absence as I went on my honeymoon. In keeping with the theme of honeymoon bliss, this week’s blog post will center around favorite heroes of romantic fiction: the men I fell in love with on the page...

Here Comes The Bride

I happen to be getting married in two weeks, and as my thoughts lightly turn not to romance but to the necessity of dealing with things like photographers and centerpieces, I can’t help but think of famous historical weddings. How did brides of the past do it?...

Sports Fans, Then & Now

One of the most disturbing images from the film “Gladiator” is the image of all those thousands of fans baying in excitement as the gladiators in the arena struggle, fight, and die. “How horrendous,” we shudder. “I would never do...

Unsung Writer: Sally Watson

When I thought of writing an ode of appreciation to my favorite historical fiction authors, I assumed I’d start with one of my favorites–Bernard Cornwell, or maybe Judith Merkle Riley. But thinking further, I’ll start with someone less well-known,...

Top Ten Pet Peeves

There’s a lot of good historical fiction out there, but there’s also a lot of bad. In no particular order, here’s a list of my top ten peeves in historical fiction. 1. Twenty-first century attitudes in historical characters. Unquestionably first on...

Those Trendy Tudors

Philippa Gregory made it big with The Other Boleyn Girl and followed it with The Virgin’s Lover, The Queen’s Fool, and The Boleyn Inheritance. Now there are approximately 2,500 books about Anne Boleyn, Cate Blanchett garnered an Oscar nomination or two...