The Living Breath: The Fluidity of Historical Fiction: Background information when reading Dominion

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by C.J. Sansom

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  • First Published:
    Jan 2014, 640 pages
    Dec 2014, 656 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Bob Sauerbrey

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Beyond the Book:
The Living Breath: The Fluidity of Historical Fiction

historical fiction icon Sarah Johnson, editor/publisher of Historical Novels Review, speaks to the complicated nature of historical fiction: "The obvious definition that comes to mind is that historical fiction is simply 'fiction set in the past.' But the reality is, however, that almost everyone - and this includes readers, authors, publishers, agents, and the press - seems to have his or her own idea of what historical fiction is, and also what historical fiction should be. When you become involved with the field, you begin to learn that above all, historical fiction is a genre of controversy and contradiction." Johnson offers one working definition of a historical novel (which she uses to determine the books Historical Novels Review will review): "A novel which is set fifty or more years in the past, and one in which the author is writing from research rather than personal experience." But, she says, even she breaks that rule from time to time. This is a rather loose definition, and even strict ...

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