To celebrate the release of David, author Mary Hoffman has stopped by today as part of the blog tour to talk about her favourite authors- welcome Mary!
Who are your favourite writers of Histfic?
• Georgette Heyer
When I was quite young, my older sister was a great fan of the Regency novels of Georgette Heyer and I used to borrow her copies. I didn’t notice that they were “historical novels” – I just read them for the romance! My absolute favourite was Devil’s Cub, and my older sister’s was the book that preceded it:These Old Shades.
Some people think it’s smart to sneer at Georgette Heyer, dubbing her a “romantic novelist” and “women’s writer” two of the worst things you can say about anyone, apparently. But, boy, did she know how to plot! And we discovered her detective novels too – like Blunt Instrument – which are really good.
I haven’t re-read her for years but I remember her books with affection – especially The Devil’s Cub. And the Marquis Dominic de Vidal remains my idea of the irresistible romantic hero.
• Mary Renault
I did not read Mary Renault till a couple of years ago, though the titles The Bull from the Sea and The King Must Die had been lodged in my mind for decades. I read both of those and The Last of the Wine and loved them. I have yet to read the Alexander trilogy but it’s high on my list.
What I really adored was the all the part about the Crane Dance in The King Must Die. And the bull-leaping. I completely believed in all that. But not even an artist of Mary Renault’s skills could convince me that Theseus is a sympathetic hero.
• Robert Graves
I read I, Claudius and Claudius the God while I was still at school and was completely absorbed by them. I was doing A level Latin so felt quite at home in Imperial Rome. But I didn’t know that
Graves had written more till I met my husband, who introduced me to Count Belisarius and King Jesus.
I think it really helps that Graves is a poet and mythographer; I’ve had his Greek Myths on my shelves for longer than I can remember and it’s one of my
books. Desert Island
• Rosemary Sutcliff
I wish I’d been a child when Sutcliff was writing her amazing Legionary books. I came to them late as an adult and that makes them a bit different. But the book of hers I most admire (even though as a judge on the Other Award, I voted for her Boudicca novel, Song for a Dark Queen), is Sword at Sunset.
The King Arthur body of legends is important to me – as to many others – and Malory’s Morte Darthur is another Desert Island Book. Sutcliff wrote a very good trilogy re-telling those legends but in the earlier Sword at Sunset, she imagined what the real, historical Arthur might have been like. I’ve read it many times and it’s about time I read it again – one of my all-time favourites.
• Contemporary writers
I suppose I read more teenage writers of historical fiction – Celia Rees, Mary Hooper, Geraldine McCaughrean - than adult. But I’ve read and enjoyed Tracy Chevalier. I have never read Jean Plaidy or Anya Seton. But now that I write historical fiction myself, maybe it’s time to give them a go.
One claim to fame I do have: I have read all twenty-seven of Sir Walter Scott’s novels and own a set. Don’t offer to test me on them!
Thanks for stopping by Mary! I love Georgette Heyer too and I have These Old Shades out from the library for this summer to read as part of my Georgette Heyer Challenge 2011. Rosemary Sutcliffe sounds like an author I might like to try.
David is a complex and intriguing book that I enjoyed reading so if you're a historical fiction fan, you may want to check out my review for it here.
Don't forget to check out the next tour stop tomorrow at Fluttering Butterflies!
Where to find Mary:
Thank you to Bloomsbury UK for inviting me to be part of this blog tour.