Skip to main content

What makes a good historical novel?

After a good, long run, we have decided to close our forums in an effort to refocus attention to other sections of the site. Fortunately for you all, we're living in a time where discussion of a favorite topic now has a lot of homes. So we encourage you all to bring your ravenous love for discussion to Chuck's official Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram. And, as always, you can still post comments on all News updates. Thank you for your loyalty and passion over the years. These changes will happen June 1.

Is the historical novel dead? I'm working on a novel about the eruption of Mt. Pelee on the island of Martinique in 1902. Do you have any ideas about what makes a historical novel good? My two main-ish characters were the only survivors of the eruption in the city of St. Pierre. One joined the circus as a freakshow, and was part of a growing trend of racial and ethnic "others'" on display in circuses and museums at the turn of the twentieth century, but the other history has mostly forgotten (granted, if he had been entirely forgotten, I wouldn't have known about him). Their lives after the eruption unfold on this uncanny parallel level.

So tell me what you liked about different historical novels you've read. Or tell me why you hate historical novels.