Today I was thinking back on all the different books that I have written about and I realized that they are pretty much all a part of the fantasy genre. While that obviously is a huge percentage of what I read, it is not the only thing I read. So I decided that I needed to write about the other genre that fills my bookshelf: historical fiction.
I love history. I love learning about what life was like at various times in the past in different parts of the world. The only problem is I fall asleep whenever I try to read an actual history book. This is why I enjoy documentaries so much – they teach me about history in a way that holds my attention. But sometimes even those can get a little dry, which is when I turn to historical fiction. Through these books I get a glimpse of what it would have been like to live in different periods of the past and it always inspires me to learn more about the time and place it was set. The only time I can sit and read articles or books on history is when I have just finished an historical fiction novel.
Recently, a certain notorious family from the past has become a topic of main stream interest. With two different television series chronicling the rise, and eventual fall, of the Borgia family, they are beginning to fill the void that was left when people became sick and tired of hearing about the Tudor family. Several years ago I discovered an author who has since become one of my favorite historical fiction authors. Her name is Jeanne Kalogridis and most of her books, while all separate of each other, overlap during the ago of the Borgias and de Medicis.
I, Mona Lisa creates a story for the woman featured in da Vinci’s famous painting. Set in Florence in 1478 the de Medici family features heavily in the story as well as the infamous priest, Savonarola.
The Borgia Bride follows the story of Sancha de Aragon, a dughter of Naples who is wed to Rodrigo Borgia’s youngest son. Through her eyes we are shown the intrigue and depravity that accompanied the reign of the Borgia Pope.
The Scarlet Contessa tells the tale of Caterina Sforza through the eyes of her maid. Caterina Sforza is a fascinating woman from history who was not afraid to stand against the tyranny of the Borgias.
The Devil’s Queen is a novel that takes place after the Borgia reign has come to an end. Instead it follows the de Medici family with the story of Catherine de Medici. Thanks to her friendship with Nostradamus and her role in the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre, her name is another that has gone done in infamy.
Jeanne Kalogridis has a knack for weaving together gripping stories of real people and events without losing historical integrity. Naturally, there is some license taken, but not much. Her books definitely taught me more accurate history than a certain television show has and learning about history is, after all, why I read historical fiction.
Have you anything by Jeanne Kalogridis? Who are your favorite historical fiction authors? Let me know in the comments.