Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Historical Fiction February: Chronology Discussion



If you read my last review you probably noticed that I decided to break up with Philippa Gregory. Although two of the main reasons were because of her textbook-esque writing style and her insufferable characters, there is also another minor reason.

She does not write her novels in chronological order.

I think in the historical fiction genre consistency and chronology are a key thing to have, and when a writer of the genre does not write the books in the order that the events take place it is extremely frustrating. At least for me.

It just doesn't make sense to me for a writer of the genre to want to write about a period of time in history but then they write the books all out of order. Why???

So let's talk about my example with Gregory for a second. In her Cousins' War series she started it with Elizabeth of Woodville's story, and then Margaret of Beaufort's story. Their timeline's do cross over a lot so I was okay with this and think Woodville's story should come first; however the third book in the series is about Woodville's mother when she was a young lady. Why? Why would you write like that?

If you're reading the series as it is released I think that makes for a frustrated reader. Luckily for me I tend to read series after they are finished so this is an easy fix by just looking up the correct chronological order. But still, it's something about the historical fiction genre that really annoys me.

C.S. Lewis also did this with the Chronicles of Narnia, so it is not just this genre that writes books out of order. It really frustrates me and is probably one of my biggest pet peeves in literature.

What do you think? Do you get frustrated when an author does not use chronology in their work?

Happy Reads Everyone!