Wednesday, December 9, 2015
"Wed's Wonderings & Wanderings": Historical Fiction vs. Historical Romance
History is a subject that is very near and dear to my heart. I seriously don't remember the time when I began my interest in history but it has always been there. In all honesty I was definitely the nerdy kid who read the encyclopedias for fun, because learning something new excited me.
So when I was in 3rd grade I remember finding this one book in the 6th grade section about Cleopatra the Great. It was unlike any book I read before, it was written in a way as if she had wrote it instead of it being written about her. Suddenly I found myself introduced into a new genre called Historical Fiction. Years later I would find myself rifling through books to read and stumbling into another genre Historical Romance. Definitely by accident mind you, but one I'm not too disappointed about.
All that to say, to this day I'm still conflicted as to the complete merit of enrichment the genres of Historical Romance and Historical Fiction are for readers young and old, but I do see their worth in a pros and cons type fashion.
Historical Fiction is a story based in a historical event or persons and is then embellished to elaborate a certain storyline or person, all of which is mostly fictional. This genre is helpful I believe in capturing readers attention to history usually without overstepping too much historical context. However it's when the story is only hinting at history as a foundation and springs from there that I would say the book is more fantasy that just Historical Fiction. Why be so nitpicky, because if one was to read a book about Cleopatra (aka my fav girl) and it goes off script telling of false facts; One day that reader may actually wants to learn of Cleopatra, and will find that book a complete sham, eventually becoming judgmental towards fiction. Sure the book sparked something, as all books should, but the story at its core should keep close to the truth unless stating it's fantasy. This problem is the reason why if you were to bring up Historical Fiction in a collegiate setting they'd diss, argue or laugh at you (trust me).
And then there is Historical Romance, which entails love and passion in a past era where the rules and morals are the spark of intrigue. Most of the time I find this genre taxing on history, because though it draws a lot of woman for taboo relationships found with past time periods the writers often miss the opportunity to present the actual history. Of course most authors in this genre aren't too focused on authenticity when it comes to anything more than the romance, which is saddening because history really is grand.
Ultimately, I'm more a champion for Historical Fiction than Historical Romance, but if both genres happen to help spark a readers interest in learning more about history than Yay! a tie shall be called. The more interested in History the better for society. History is an invaluable subject to the world as everything and everyone has a history. Think of it this way everything from yesterday is history, that's a lot of time to look into.