Historical fiction is a fascinating genre to read. History is my preference, but historical fiction has some advantages over a typical history book.

A stack of books. Historical Fiction is a fascinating genre.  Photo from Martin Vorel on Libreshot.
Photo from Martin Vorel on Libreshot

There are many great things about historical fiction as a genre. From great retellings of how history could’ve played out to alternate realities set in historical times, the genre has a lot to offer.

Here are three reasons I love reading historical fiction, and why it is one of the strongest genres.

Historical Fiction Allows Non-History Fans to Learn History

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I am a huge fan of reading about traditional history, but not many people are this way. As a result, historical fiction allows people to learn about history in a way they enjoy. Historical fiction is a cross between history and a novel, leading to a less academic feel than standard history.

Standard history can, at times, get bogged down in the technical space. For people who are huge history buffs like myself, this is rarely a problem, but many others simply want to read the story. Historical fiction is a great option for this group of people, because it informs the reader on the past without the information dumps.

Historical Fiction Lets You Get Absorbed in the Story

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History and historical fiction are story-based disciplines. As a result, good history involves an ability to draw the reader into said story. Historical fiction can do this very well due to the characters it creates. Having fictional characters allows for a story to be more vibrant. History is great, but it is very limited to the facts at hand.

Having fictional characters also allows for a much more personalized story. History is often more of a broader tale of what people did. Historical fiction, however, allows for introducing more emotion into the story. It has protagonists in which the reader can see themselves.

Historical Fiction Is Easy to Turn Into a Narrative

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History, at least in the pop history subgenre, has really turned toward narrative history. Historical fiction is a genre that has long been doing this same thing. Having a central character makes a narrative much easier to write.

The ease in writing narratives can make it easier for those who do not enjoy reading the massive histories like I do. Fluid narratives are often easier to follow along with for readers. As a result, these books are often quicker to get through for the average person.

Historical fiction has many things going for it in its concept. History will always be my preference, but I also enjoy historical fiction. There are many benefits to the fusion of the past and fictional narratives over just relaying the facts. Historical fiction is good at just sparking an interest in the past among the wider public. As a result, it will continue to be a popular genre for years to come.