Loving a Book in a Genre You Hate

I do not like historical fiction. It is my very least favorite genre. Not sure why–maybe I feel that the authors tend to force morals or ideas on the reader that are out of touch with the time period? Or I just simply don’t care. Or something. Either way, I tend to steer clear for my own sanity.

(Not to say that there are not the occasional ones that I enjoy quite a bit. I’ve read most of Tracy Chevalier’s stuff. Though I admittedly started with one that switched between modern day and a past time, which is one of my very favorite writing conventions.)

(I also want to point out that this is only a problem with modern authors writing past times. Stories written hundreds of years ago about times that are contemporary to them are fine, for obvious reasons.)

So it was to my very great surprise that I enjoy the Horatio Hornblower series quite as much as I do. I told myself that I was doing it for research–I wanted to set a story on a ship, and I know very little about them. (Ships have…masts! And sails!) Also, my husband was reading the first book and wanted to discuss it, and I occasionally indulge him.

But I love the books, I really do. We’re admittedly going chronological, rather than the order C.S. Forester wrote them in, so we started somewhere in the middle of his career, but I love everything about them.

His descriptions are spot-on. I honestly thought, at first, that he was contemporary to the time period (later 1700s to early 1800s) because everything was so perfect that it felt like it was someone who was intimately familiar with how things worked on a ship of the line. (C.S> Forester wrote from the mid 1930s to the 1970s or so.)

To be honest, it kind of reminds me of some of the science fiction I like, except, you know, being about the British navy during the Napoleanic wars.

My biggest complaint is that my husband is such a slow reader that I’m not getting through them as fast as I’d like.

What about you, Squiders? Do you have a book or series that you adore that is in a genre you normally can’t stand? (Just want to chat about Hornblower? Also welcome!)

One response to this post.

  1. I love the Hornblower series too, though admittedly, I’ve only had time to read two of the books. And I too was surprised to learn the author was contemporary. Reading the books made me want to write something in that period.


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