Another review of Mistress of the Revolution at Lucy Pick Books, and musings on historical fiction subgenres

Lucy had mentioned on her blog that she had purchased Mistress of the Revolution, and now she posted her review.

“It’s not the story of the revolution,” she writes, “but rather the story
of the minor noble Gabrielle de Montserrat, and it is her experiences
and reactions that remain paramount. I think this is a huge strength. Delors’ Gabrielle experiences the
cataclysmic events of her time the way most of do our own, as
spectators and as victims, without the power to change the turbulence
around her but with the strength to endure its effects…”

Indeed! I was reflecting the other day that there are two kinds of historical fiction. One focuses on the lives of famous characters, like Marie-Antoinette, Van Gogh or the omnipresent Tudors. The other subgenre tells the stories of ordinary people, especially when they are caught up in extraordinary events (War and Peace, The Princess de Cleves, The Three Musketeers…) Historical characters often appear, but the protagonists are fictional.

I like, or love, depending on the author’s talent, both kinds of historical fiction, but my first two books belong to the second category, and Lucy describes it beautifully. Thank you, Lucy!

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2 Comments to “Another review of Mistress of the Revolution at Lucy Pick Books, and musings on historical fiction subgenres”

  1. Catherine Delors says:

    I feel the same way as a writer, Lucy. In my second and third books, some of my protagonists are historical characters, but completely obscure ones, to the point where I have to “discover” them. History has recorded their names because they were the driving forces behind famous events, but it has not remembered them. Strange combination, when you think of it, but very common: obscure actor/famous event.

  2. lucy says:

    I like reading both kinds of books, especially if the “famous characters” type tells me of people and events I know nothing about. But because I am a historian in “real life,” I prefer to write about ordinary people. I write fiction to tell the kinds of stories I can’t tell in non-fiction.

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