Sunday, January 10, 2010

Real Men Read Romance Novels

By Chuck
When I was a child, I thought I loved History. It was only when I entered high school that I slowly realized that what I loved was historical fiction, not the sort of history presented in school. My idea of history came from reading the Landmark Series of biographies for children: Davy Crockett, Sun Yat Sen and other notables were realized in a form I could understand and appreciate.

I have found myself occasionally picking up the odd historical fiction in recent years, after a very long hiatus. Claire encouraged me to join her in reading Diana Gabeldon's Outlander series. When I finally decided to take the plunge, I was delighted. Gabeldon has adventure, history, love, character development and a touch of science fiction. Claire Randall, the heroine, is a modern woman transported back to late 18th Century Scotland; Jamie Fraser, the Scottish hero, is Laird of a manor. The Scots and the English are at odds, to say the least; the Highland clans have their own intrigues, as well. They are brought together by the device of time travel. Since Claire Randall, a WWII combat nurse, is very much her own person (much like another Claire much closer to home) and has the advantages of 200 years of human and scientific knowledge over the people around her in the 1700s, she is able to be a strong and active (not to say action) figure in the narrative.

Drums of Autumn is the 4th I have read in the seven (of a planned 9?) book series; I would also say it is the best to date. This historical fiction includes relations among: Scottish and English, English and the New World Colonies, American Indians and New World Settlers, and class structure in England, France and the American Colonies. This is done in an interesting and intricate, adventure-filled story with real characters with strengths, emotions and failings. I knocked this 1,088 page book out in 3 engaging days! Real men read and recommend romance novels; we sometimes laugh and cry with our characters, too.


Pat in Santa Cruz said...

Yes, you are a REAL man!! So glad to hear how much you are enjoying this historical fiction. I think it has enough history to qualify. Just finished Book 7...and now I have to WAIT. Nothing like a heroine named "Claire" -- I definitely see the out when you're in Scotland:-)

Chuck and Claire said...

I've already started #5, The Fiery Cross. It's 1770 and the Revolution is coming. I only wish that this had been required reading in high school American History.

Joy said...

AARP's latest Bulletin referred to all the free courses available online, especially through MIT. I've been cruising the History sites, esp. Medevial History. Sadly, most of these courses lack lectures. But, there is still plenty of stuff available free online to keep any of us stretching our minds in whatever directions appeal! Glad you are enjoying these books. I have always been a huge fan of historical novels.

Diane said...

I listened to the first four books on audio book. The reader was just amazing. I feel like it would be weird to actually read one but I think I'll give it a try! Never any question that you are a REAL man, Chuck :-)

Kim said...

Reading the newest one now!


Chuck and Claire said...

I'm half way through the newest one. I can't get enough!