Questioning the value of historical fiction

If you’re receiving this blog post, I assume you like historical fiction. But not everyone does. I find this article helpful in considering the legitimacy of historical fiction, from a historical point of view (thank you, Karen!). You’ll find a reference in Horse Thief 1898 to a book, Orphan Train, by one of the article’s contributors, Christina Baker Kline. She and Eva Stachniak discuss whether novelists “bend” the historical record. They point out there is no account of history that does not end up bending, though not factually, simply by the choices made about what to tell and what to omit.

In Horse Thief 1898, though a LOT of historical research has gone into the writing, I omit many significant events that occurred in Ireland and the United States in the years covered by the book (the Mexican-American War, for instance), for the sake of the story. Readers of fiction care about the story. If they didn’t, they would simply read history.

I work very hard at being as accurate as I can in what I write, but obviously, that’s not the same thing as being an eyewitness account of the world as it was a generation or two before I was born. When for the sake of the story I depart from the facts (as in the date of Paderewski’s first concert series in America), I tell you so. And you may find I have included historical references you don’t know even happened.

You, the reader, will be the best and only judge of whether I have succeeded in blending history with fiction in an entertaining as well as informative way through the Cally and Charlie series. All suggestions and questions are always welcome!

With the Horse Thief 1898 release coming up soon, here’s how you can help me:

The book will be out mid-June (I’ll let you know the exact date once I know, but about a month from now). I’ve set the official “launch,” though, for mid-August, to give me time to catch my breath following the recent launch of a book in Brazil. Please buy the book on Amazon in June or July and write a review before August 15. And ask your historical fiction reader friends to do the same thing. If we can launch with fifty or more reviews, Horse Thief 1898 will be more visible on Amazon. This will be a huge help in a very crowded market!!!! Thank you in advance!

I’m excited to share with you Cally and Charlie, who have come to mean a lot to me and always surprise me by the stories they tell me.

With love,


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