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Clifford Jackman: Historical Fiction

We're pleased that today we've got Clifford Jackman with a list of Canadian works of historical fiction. It's a good one. **Clifford Jackman writes: Some years back, I was writing a novel set in Victorian London and I wanted to do a little research—this was before Wikipedia. So, deciding to read some stories set in that time period, I picked up my copy of The Complete Sherlock Holmes. You can imagine my surprise when I found no descriptions of hansom cabs or gaslights or anything like that. Then it struck me: Doyle had no need to describe any of that stuff, because his audience had already known all about it. He would no more provide a detailed description of a hansom cab than a modern writer would describe a Honda Civic. There are many great challenges in writing a historical novel. You'll never get it all right, anachronisms will always creep in, but you're writing for a modern audience anyway, and what you're searching for is not authenticity but to create a particular impression for a particular kind of reader. What do you put in? What do you leave out? Fortunately, here in Canada we have a lot of great works of historical fiction for younger writers to study. In honour of the release of my debut novel, The Winter Family, and in no particular order, here are eight Canadian works of historical fiction worth checking out (with an emphasis on the Western).

by Kerry Clare