For The Love Of Historical Fiction

I’m an eclectic reader who enjoys a wide variety of genres: romance, suspense, literary fiction, crime – although I do draw the line at horror. The first Stephen King novel I attempted scared me witless! But among the genres, historical fiction is one of my absolute favourites.

From Jean M. Auel’s The Clan Of The Cave Bear to Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall — I love them all. It’s intriguing to contemplate life without modern conventions and conveniences. Without advanced science and medicine. Without the women’s movement, workers unions and children’s welfare laws. Without the general understanding that poverty can drive good people to do bad things. Living in the past involved hardships and injustice that we can barely imagine.

But what about the advantages of living in the past? Village life offered a powerful sense of community, with strong family ties. Children played outside instead of watching screens all day. People lived closer to nature, and died in their own beds surrounded by loved ones, instead of in hospitals surrounded by tubes and machines.

History books tell us what happened, but novels give us a sense of the how and why. They draw us into the inner lives of people across time and place — inviting us to imagine their untold stories. The best historical fiction also reminds us of the mistakes of our past, so we can avoid repeating them.

They say history is written by the winners. In my historical novels Fortune’s Son and its sequel The Lost Valley, I wanted to write a fresh version of history, giving a voice to the outsiders, including the animals teetering on the extinction precipice.

The books follow the trials and tribulations of the Abbott family from the 1880’s to post World War 2 Tasmania. But they also tell the story of the last Tasmanian tigers (thylacines) soon to disappear from the Earth after a twenty-five-million-year reign. Apart from a little gem, Coorinna, written in 1953, there is no historical fiction concerning the thylacine. It’s time to fill the gap

To celebrate the upcoming release of The Lost Valley I’m giving away five Advance Reader Copies (Aust addresses only) and five eBooks (overseas readers). To enter, just comment below naming one of your favourite historical novels. Good luck! (drawn 02/09/2018)  


61 thoughts on “For The Love Of Historical Fiction

  1. It’s hard to name just one novel. One of my faves was Waiting for the Thunder by Patricia Shaw. I love all of her novels and learnt so much by reading them.

  2. Wow… Tricky… Gone with the wind or the Shirlee…. Maybe a town like Alice
    Or for newer books I’m loving Pamela hart and The desert nurse

  3. I loved the Outlander series as I find the Highland’s history and culture intriguing. I’m now looking forward to reading more books closer to home.

  4. Hello Jennifer. Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks is amazing but Bridget Crack by Rachel Leary is powerful with dialogue that puts the reader right there in1826.

  5. Congratulations on your new release!!!
    Fantastic giveaway!!
    This would be an amazing opportunity for me to read one of your fabulous books for the very first time Jennifer Scoullar.
    My favourite all time historical novel is
    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak,
    It’s a beautiful, sad and poetic read.
    It’s all things that books should be.
    It’s simply divine.
    Thanks for the opportunity.

  6. I can only read novels in school holidays and was able to enjoy ‘Fortunes Son’ at the end of Term 2. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think I have ordered your latest.

  7. One of my all time favourites is Nancy Cato’s All The Rivers Run. I love the paddle steamers and the beautiful Murray River. I’ve read it multiple times and l think I’m due a re-read soon.

    • Me too Susan. In fact All The Rivers Run was the inspiration for my riverland novel – Billabong Bend

  8. Hi Jennifer, hope your well babe. I remember reading (I think) Neville Shute’s “We of the Never Never” in High School, it always made an impact on me, an amazing true story and all the upheavals she went through all those years ago. Cheers

  9. I loved Jessica by Bryce Courteney. The troubled family saga had me enthralled. And also how Jessica’s character portrayed her as a strong and resilient young woman.

  10. Who doesn’t love outlanders????? I also loved the Bark Cutters & Changing lands by Nicole Alexander and the Naturalist daughter By Tea Cooper. All jump from past to future and I love that.

    • Thanks Carley. I enjoyed those novels too. Maybe I should try jumping from past to present next time 🙂

  11. Thank you for a chance to win a book. I love Australian authours and some that stick in my mind from what I have read are Patricia Shaw, Lynne Wilding, Anna Jacobs and of course All the Rivers Run by Nancy Cato and Jessica by Bryce Courtney.
    Keep the great stories coming.
    Cheers Jenny xxxxxx

  12. I have so many favourites, it’s hard to pick one. Off the top of my head I’d say Black Diamonds by Kim Kelly.

      • I love all of her books. This red earth is another good one.

        There are so many fabulous historical fiction books out there that we are spoilt for choice.

  13. I love reading historical novels, they are like a trip back in time. I enjoyed Kate Morton’s “The Secret Keeper”

  14. A new release called The Weight of Ink. Combines the past with the present. Interesting read about jewish women in England in the 1600s and the secrets surrounding the discovery of hidden letters.

  15. Do I really have to choose just one historical novel? A favourite is “Pillars of the Earth” by Ken Follet. Recently read “The Naturalist’s Daughter” by Tea Copper and loved it! And I’m currently reading the Outlander series. Got the ARR newsletter e-mail yesterday with “The Lost Valley” excerpt – it sounds amazing.

    • Thank you Christine. I know, choosing one historical is well nigh impossible! ‘Pillars of the Earth’ is fabulous, as is The Naturalist’s Daughter’. Good luck in the draw 🙂

  16. Apart from reading comics like Dan Dare, The Beano and The Dandy I was a late starter with books, in English. The first one I read, when I was fifteen, was “The Lion of Saint Marks” by G.A. Henty; this set the scene for reading many more Henty stories over the years. In the sixth form I was asked to give a short résumé of “The Pilgrim’s Progress”, by John Bunyan. To my surprise, and perhaps to the boredom of my school mates, the ‘short’ lasted the whole period, 45 minutes. I have read many many books during the near sixty years since then, perhaps far too many to remember them all. Nevertheless one book always come to mind; a book given to me my grandmother, John Halifax Gentleman by Mrs. Craik. I have re-read many times. It always leaves me with a feeling of – through hard work anything can be achieved.

  17. Historical fiction is one of my favourite genres and my all time favourite book is Lady of Hay by Barbara Erskine.

  18. All books by Tessa Afshar – based on Biblical history. For Australian history – the Explorers series by William Stuart Long.

  19. Jean M. Auel’s The Clan Of The Cave Bear and the rest of her books are amazing.
    My favourite historical book would have to be To Kill A Mockingbird. I first had to read it in Year 8 and loved it. I don’t know how many times I’ve read it since then.

    • Yes – The Clan of the Cave Bear books are some of my all-time favourites! And To Kill A Mockingbird is of course a classic. Thanks Annie 🙂

  20. Hi Jennifer, i really like following your writing passion! i dont tend to read many novels, but one of my favourites would be AMillion Wild Acres by Eric Rolls

  21. I loved the whole Frontier series by Peter Watt – could read them all a million times and not get bored

  22. I hakve just discovered your writing with a free ebook of Fortune’s Son. Oh my goodness, I was bawling at times. You really drew me in and I was right there with Luke and Belle. Thank you for such an awesome book! I can’t wait to read more of your books!!!

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