It seems that we are in the midst of prize giving season, and I am really pleased that historical fiction is featuring on so many of the lists! With books like Nine Days by Toni Jordan recently winning the Indie Award for Fiction and The Light Between Oceans by M L Stedman winning the Indies for Best Book and Best Debut, and The Burial by Courtney Collins, Mateship with Birds by Carrie Tiffany and The Light Between Oceans being included on the Miles Franklin longlist award it seems as though it is a good time to be a historical fiction reader at the moment!
These books are deservedly featuring on the list of books being reviewed as part of the challenge, and I could happily have talked about those reviews for hours, but today I thought that I would move away from the current readers of historical fiction to talk about some books that might cater to the tastes of the historical fiction readers of the future.
During February, Mel from Adventures of a Subversive Reader reviewed six books from the Our Australian Girl series which is published by Penguin. I have been reading these books myself and even though I am nowhere near the target audience, I have been enjoying the books and learning a couple of little things along the way.
The tagline for the series is “A Girl Like Me in a Time Gone By”. Each series within the series is written by a different author who takes one girl and tell her story over the course of four books. Each girl is very different and the era and setting vary from a young girl sentenced to transportation to Botany Bay for stealing an apple, to a girl living in Melbourne at the time of Federation, to a girl who lives in Perth at the outbreak of World War 1 and more. With eight girl’s stories now available there are sure to be settings that young readers will like.
The packaging of these books is really well thought through. Each book has a charm on the cover that is associated with the story within, with each series also being linked together by colour. There are facts about what was happening in Australian history during the time period in question, maps, as well as additional information available on the website, meaning that they are fun and educational.
One of the things I really liked about these books, is that they’re clearly appropriate for younger years, but engaging and well written enough for all readers to enjoy. They’re short, with larger text, but the stories are rich – making them particularly good for children with reading difficulties. These would have been an absolute hit in my classroom, and I would have easily recommended them for a wide range of students. They’d also be great for reading aloud, getting students involved in the time period.
If you have some young readers in your life aged between about 8 to 11, then perhaps this might be a series that could be of interest.
Before wrapping up for this month, it would be remiss of me not to mention the book that received the most reviews of any historical fiction novel reviewed during February and that is Mistress to the Crown by Isolde Martyn which was reviewed by Teddyree, Bree and Lauren (and was also reviewed once during January and March as well!). This book tells the story of Jane Shore, mistress to King Edward IV of England and crosses into the reign of Richard III so given the fact that his body was recently found, the attention on this book is quite timely.
Bree says of the book
Mistress To The Crown is a well written story, rich with historical detail and ripe with scandal and passion.
Sounds good to me, especially seeing as I am more than a little bit partial to this time in history!
You can find more of the historical fiction reviews at any time by clicking on the Historical Fiction Weebly page including reviews for all of the historical fiction novels included on the Miles Franklin long list!
Marg has long been an avid reader of all genres but especially Historical Fiction. She has very strong memories of reading through the entire collection of Jean Plaidy novels in the school library and loves to read about all different eras and locations. Marg has been blogging about all different genres and other things at Adventures of an Intrepid Reader for more than 7 years, and was a founding member of Historical Tapestry, a group blog that has been focusing only on Historical Fiction for more than 5 years. You can tweet to her either @margreads or @historytapestry.