Category Archives: historical fiction
I have just finished and enjoyed (again!) Brother Cadfael’s Penance by Ellis Peters. Brother Cadfael is a 12th century monk, with a flair for solving 12th century mysteries. Reading these stories is like visiting with a dear and long-time friend. Cadfael is one of those fictional characters that I wish would be real and that I could meet in person. Of the whole series, this story is undoubtedly my favorite, with Summer of the Danes in close second. Ellis Peters is definitely on my “Favorite Authors” list. She has also written modern stories as Ellis Peters, and more medieval stories as Edith Pargeter.
I’ve always enjoyed historical fiction. I’m fascinated by the ability of authors to take sparse and little-known facts about obscure people who lived decades, centuries or millennia ago, and weave wonderful, compelling stories around those tidbits of truth. Kate Pullinger has done just that, in her award-winning book, The Mistress of Nothing. It’s the story of a maid and her mistress who, for the sake of the health of the mistress, travel to and take up residence in Luxor, Egypt. The reader gets a rather tantalizing glimpse of Egypt in the late 1800s, but the story really is an inward look, a social comment on the times. Despite the sadness of the story, the end comes with a hopeful note, and the reader is left to imagine a brighter tomorrow.