How do you suspend disbelief while reading historical fiction?
I’m currently reading the final pages of The Child from the Sea by Elizabeth Goudge. It took me
ages but I did love it, her turn of phrase was just magical in parts.
It’s a book about Lucy Walter, the mistress or wife of King Charles II (17th century) and it’s renewed my interest in historical fiction. Now I’m wondering: those of you who read historical
fiction (HF), how do you deal with the rift between history and fiction while reading? The author can never know the character’s innermost thoughts and while this is fine in other fiction,
in HF I can’t help but feel offended on the real character’s behalf, like they’re being misrepresented somehow. And sometimes it takes me right out of the story for that reason.
Similarly, in books about events or people that aren’t very well researched, I need to keep reminding myself that some of the things that are being described are just made up and again,
while obviously fine in regular fiction, I feel it can be misleading in HF.
So if these things aren’t stopping you from reading HF: does this just not bother you? Or how do you suspend this nagging feeling?