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Contemplating My Favourite Genre(s)

A photograph of two stacks of books on a table in the sun

I’ve the urge to read some books that have been on my backlist. Specifically I’ve been wanting to read historical fiction of the fantasy variety, mostly time travel and time slip; in the case of the books I’ve had on my shelves, it’s primarily time slip.

I’ve been wanting to do this since I briefly picked up The House On The Strand some time ago. It occurred to me earlier this week as I sat with Susanna Kearsley’s The Shadowy Horses, that I might have been wrong all this time that historical fiction and fantasy fiction are my favourite genres. It’s far simpler – I like both put together.

Historical fantasy is a genre I always feel comfortable with in that particular way of sitting down to read and feeling the need to relax back into the chair and not do anything else for a good few hours. Even if I don’t think the book’s great, as I ultimately found with the Kearsley, the feeling remains. Historical fantasy speaks to my passion for history and my longing to be back in time, the part of me that loves visiting castles and old houses. It’s like coming home.

And I think it’s more like coming home than reading a good classic can be. I’m surprised to find that my joy in reading classics is pipped to the post by historical fantasy.

I don’t mind a romance, but only when it works. Could The Shadowy Horses have done without the romance? I’d say so, yes. Could Nicola Cornick’s The Phantom Tree? Yes. But I think Cornick’s previous, House Of Shadows, would have been a little less without the progression of a relationship.

Historical fantasy is a genre I don’t own many books in. It does take a bit to get it right and where it’s something I don’t read too often (and whenever I do read it I have to stop myself reading too much) I don’t often actively seek new books.

I should. I have only the Du Maurier, that I stopped reading because there were other books I had to read that I knew I’d abandon if I didn’t stop; Kearsley’s Season Of Storms and The Firebird; Barbara Erskine’s Sleeper’s Castle – my current read. Unless there is time travel/slip in a book that I do not know about, that’s my lot. Everything else – not much – has been read.

I think I need to get better at identifying what I like the most and making it more of a priority, both in terms of reading and when at the bookshop/library/when reading requests.

Has your favourite genre changed over the years?


Lisbeth @ The Content Reader

July 21, 2017, 12:04 pm

I also love historical fiction, maybe with a little bit of fantasy. I love Barbara Erskine, Anna Belfrage, Charlene Harris, and many others. Have you read the Outlander series. I think it is great. I recently found a book by Anya Seton. I read her books a lot when I was younger. I have probably read this one, Katherine, but cannot remember, so it will be nice to read again.


July 21, 2017, 5:50 pm

To me, the best of two worlds is combing historical fiction with mystery/detective. Some of my favorites have been the Brother Cadfael Mysteries (Peters), the Matthew Shardlake series (Sansom), and Penman’s Medieval Mysteries.

Jenny @ Reading the End

July 22, 2017, 2:02 am

Ooh, this is a hard question! I think I’ve become more fonder of historical fiction over the years — I’d have said that I didn’t care that much at all about historical fiction, but I’ve read enough amaaaaaaaaaazing life-changing histfic books that I don’t think it would be true anymore. But SFF is still my truest love. :p


July 23, 2017, 8:02 pm

I have always been a big fantasy and history fan, however as I’ve got older I have moved from just reading non-fiction about history to really enjoying historical fiction too.

p.s. I love time travel/slip novels too, and I also have Susanna Kearsley’s Season of Storms and The Firebird on my TBR :-D



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