The Cat recently received a link to HistoricalNovels.info at http://www.historicalnovels.info and was very impressed by the resource.
The Cat ended up living in a library because she is a reader. One of her passions is history, particularly social history. The details of daily living are fascinating, the wars and the treaties are frequently yawnmaking. Cats spend very little time being bored because it simply puts them to sleep.
The Cat read a lot of historical fiction as a kitten but had gotten away from it as an older cat, partly because she wasn’t really connected to the field. That might change with the discovery of HistoricalNovels.info, which is a really deep site that includes over 5000 historical novels. The site is created and maintained by Margaret Donsbach, who is also a respected historian. It is well organized, with sections that move through Prehistory, Ancient History, Medieval Europe and the Renaissance, and then move through later periods in both Europe and North America.
While the emphasis is on Western History, there are also sections on Africa, Asia, Australia, India and Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.
The site pays particular attention to historical mysteries, since that field has exploded in recent years, and directs readers to resources for historical romances. There is also a deep authors’ page that includes many authors, many of them hotlinked to more information. There are 150 reviews of selected books that are considered particularly rewarding. The sections called “Articles” and “Resources” contain further hidden treasures that are well worth a look.
If libraries have readers interested in very specific times and geographical locations, this is an excellent site to have bookmarked, though many of the novels would have to be purchased or requested through interlibrary loan.
The site isn’t perfect; it has holes, dead ends and brick walls, but it is a giant attempt to handle a huge field and is endlessly fascinating to history buffs. The Cat intends to spend more time on it when the SLK News editor isn’t scowling at her.
The Cat, having pretty well exhausted the most interesting resources on ancient history, British history, and Colonial America at Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library and Washburn University, might well investigate some historical fiction in those fields for the holidays. She has been advised to quit being so “provincial” in her interests, but cats will only take advice when they can convince you that it is entirely their own idea and when they have completely forgotten being insulted. The Cat is many things, but hardly provincial.