Kate is here to talk about two of my favorite topics - reading inspirations and historical fiction - and I hope you enjoy the post as much as I did!
Reading Inspirations by Kate Forsyth...
I have always loved books set far, far away and long, long ago. For as long as I can remember, they have been my favourite kind of reading.
When I was a child, I loved books with pictures of girls in fabulous frocks and swashbuckling young men in high boots and a feathered hat.
My favourite authors included Elizabeth Goudge (The Little White Horse), Geoffrey Trease (Cue for Treason and The Popinjay Stairs), Rosemary Sutcliff (The Witch’s Brat and Brother Dusty-feet), Joan Aiken (Midnight is A Place and The Wolves of Willoughby Place), Edith Nesbit (The Enchanted Castle and The House of Arden), Philippa Pearce (Tom’s Midnight Garden) and Leon Garfield (Devil-in-the-Fog and Black Jack)
And, of course, classic writers like Louisa May Alcott, L.M. Montgomery, and Robert Louis Stevenson.
As I grew up, I discovered Georgette Heyer and Jean Plaidy, and devoured them all. My favourites by the former were These Old Shades, The Talisman Ring, The Reluctant Widow, The Grand Sophy, and The Toll-Gate. Of the latter, I particularly loved her books about the Tudor and Stuart eras.
As a teenager, I read and fell in love with Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters, and also caught the historical romance bug, reading my way through books by authors such as Roberta Gellis.
My reading nowadays is predominated by books set in the past:
I love general historical fiction – favourite authors include Philippa Gregory, C.W. Gortner, Geraldine Brooks, Sarah Dunant, Marina Fiorata, and Sebastian Faulks.
I always enjoy historical novels which illuminate the life of artists, musicians and writers, and particularly love the work of Susan Vreeland, Tracy Chevalier, Anne Fortier, and Vanora Bennett.
Historical novels with an emphasis on food and cooking always delight me. Joanne Harris, Anthony Capella, Laura Esquivel, and, most recently, N.M. Kelby all do this superbly well.
I love a good historical murder mystery, and eagerly snap up books by writers such as C.J. Sansom, Karen Maitland, C.S. Harris, Alan Bradley and Deanna Raybourn.
Nothing is nice than a steamy historical romance - I normally read them by candlelight in a hot bath with a glass of champagne as a soul restorative. Favourite authors include Anne Gracie, Eloisa James, Julia Quinn and Anna Campbell.
I love magic mixed with my history, (hopefully with some romance as well!) and favourite historical fantasy authors include Juliet Marillier, Diana Gabaldon, Kim Wilkins, and Lian Hearn.
If I do read a narrative set in contemporary times, it is nearly always interwoven with a historical narrative thread. Kate Morton, Kimberley Freeman, Kate Mosse, Lauren Willlig, Susanna Kearsley and Kate Lord Brown all do this particularly well.
I think I love historical fiction so much because it offers me an escape from the mundane reality of everyday life into a world filled with romance, adventure, danger, and mystery. This world is, nonetheless, a place in which people are still recognisably people, with all their longings and fears and hopes and ambitions - and yet strikingly and intriguingly different. I also love historical fiction because it illuminates the past so that I can better understand the present. Also –perhaps most importantly – I feel like I’m learning when I’m reading historical fiction. It helps me connect emotionally with people of the past, and empathise with their struggles. It makes me grateful that I live now (as long as I can still escape to the past through the pages of a good book).
Publication Date: July 29, 2013
Allison & Busby
The Wild Girl is an historical novel for adults that tells of the love story between Wilhelm Grimm, younger of the famous Grimm Brothers, and the girl who grew up next door, Dortchen Wild, who was the source of a great many of the brothers’ fairy tales. Wilhelm and Dortchen first met in 1805, when she was only twelve, just before their home town of Cassel is taken over by Napoleon’s soldiers.
From 1807, the Grimm brothers began collecting stories from Dortchen and her sisters and friends. Stories she told Wilhelm include The Frog King, Hansel & Gretel, Mother Holle, the Singing Bone, The Six Swans, and Thousand-Furs (better known as Deerskin). The first collection of fairytales was published in 1812, an attempt to keep German folktales alive during the French occupation. War, death, and poverty conspire to keep Wilhelm and Dortchen apart.
They marry at last in 1825, a week before Dortchen’s 32nd birthday, and set up house together with Wilhelm’s older brother Jacob, living together until their deaths.
About the Author
Kate Forsyth is the award-winning and bestselling author of more than 20 books for adults and children , translated into 13 languages. She was recently named in the Top 25 of Australia's Favourite Novelists. Since The Witches of Eileanan was named a Best First Novel by Locus Magazine, Kate has won or been nominated for many awards, including a CYBIL Award in the US. She’s also the only author to win five Aurealis awards in a single year, for her Gypsy Crown series of children's historical novels. Kate’s latest novel, Bitter Greens, interweaves a retelling of the Rapunzel fairytale with the scandalous life story of the woman who first told the tale, the 17th century French writer Charlotte-Rose de la Force. It has been called ‘the best fairy tale retelling since Angela Carter’ and ‘an imaginative weaving of magic, fairy tale and history’. A direct descendant of Charlotte Waring, the author of the first book for children ever published in Australia, Kate is currently studying a doctorate in fairy tales at the University of Technology in Sydney, where she lives by the sea, with her husband, three children, and many thousands of books.
Please visit Kate Forsyth's WEBSITE and BLOG for more information. You can also find her on FACEBOOK and follow her on TWITTER.
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