I adore historical fiction – from the Middle Ages to the Victorians, I’ll read it all. So to trumpet my passion just that little bit more, I’m launching my Past Masters series of blog posts, the aim being to celebrate some of the amazing historical fiction writers out there and hopefully to inspire you to try someone you haven’t yet read. Without further ado then, first up this week is…
Which historical period does she write about?
The Tudors; her books are focussed primarily on the Tudor court.
Why should I read her?
Most of her novels feature real historical figures, so if like me you see historical fiction partly as a springboard into learning some historical facts then you’ll enjoy these. What Suzannah Dunn does particularly well, though, is to use some less well-known, or almost entirely fictional, characters to provide a unique perspective on what is quite a familiar and frequently explored period in British history. In “The Queen of Subtleties” for example, she takes a single name and job title from the actual historical records relating to Henry VIII’s court, and from that starting point creates the character of King’s Confectioner, who tells us the famous story of Anne Boleyn’s downfall as seen through the eyes of a servant – a class of people whose experience of their times all too often died with them. When it comes to finding a convincing narrative voice this author is a real class act; her books are incredibly well written and she clearly has a real love for the period.
Which authors are most similar?
The obvious comparison is Philippa Gregory, but Alison Weir’s fictional books aren’t a million miles away. I have to say I do prefer Suzannah Dunn to Alison Weir though.
Which book should I start with?
My favourite was the one I mentioned above, “The Queen of Subtleties”, primarily because I loved the idea of exploring the world of the people behind all the Tudor splendour and gastronomic extravagance.
I hope your interest is piqued enough to give this fantastic author a try! See you soon on the blog for another of my favourite writers.