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14 Reviews
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars humour and accuracy, 6 Feb 2013
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An excellent and valuable summary of the mistakes writers of historical fiction make and how best to avoid them, written with humour and accuracy. I was particularly pleased to learn what "feisty" really means. Read it before you start the research, and then keep it right beside the word processor to avoid further mistakes, because we all make them.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Make sure it's not you who gets your historical fiction horribly, hilariously wrong., 1 Feb 2013
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Great fun and also very useful.

Brisk, clear explanations of so many things that would-be writers of historical fiction (and all too many published ones too) either get horribly, hilariously wrong, or don't even know they should check in the first place.

Covers everything from thou/thee/thy/thine, to how titles work in the aristocracy, (im)proper behaviour in different classes and genders, the lessons to be learnt from programmes like The 1900 House, and of course those underpants.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 5 July 2014
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Ms. L. Whelan - See all my reviews
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A great resource, and very funny
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5.0 out of 5 stars all skirts, no knickers, 9 May 2014
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We bought this book because we're currently writing a historical novella. Plus the title made us laugh. It is really useful for anyone writing historical fiction, or even those who just have an interest in history. It is well-written, funny and we like the fact the author even included the blunders she had made. It made us think about things like how dark streets would have before streetlights, which foods were around during our chosen time period and that peasants' teeth were not that bad. We enjoyed the chapter devoted to the French Revolution and learned a lot - know your guillotine!
We highly recommend this book. And there's no such thing as medieval underpants.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and informative, 10 April 2014
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T. M. Buckley - See all my reviews
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A great guide on how to avoid howlers when writing historical fiction, with some amusing examples form authors who got it wrong. After reading this yuo will definitely understand the importance of researching not just the big historical events, but also the little details that bring history to life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars super little book!, 6 April 2014
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Helen Hollick "H." (UK) - See all my reviews
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Useful. Interesting. Entertaining. Funny... in other words, loved it! :-) A very useful book for writers of historical fiction - or any writer, come to that!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not pants at all!, 26 Mar 2014
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An entertaining and informative guide to the avoidance of some of the common mistakes made by authors who know little and care less about the period in which they set their stories. Of course, it's not definitive - how could it be with thousands of years of history and many different cultures to contend with - but it does what it says in the title. If you're writing about the past and have any intention of doing some research to ensure authenticity, then this is a very good place to start.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and informative, 1 Mar 2014
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I have seen many of the mentioned mistakes and it was amusing to read the examples given. A great read for anyone who consumes a lot of historical fiction and essential for anyone who is just beginning to write in that field.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Every Historical Fiction writer should read this, 11 Feb 2014
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This is a truly excellent book: witty, humorous, but also full of easily-missed pitfalls and essential warnings for the aspiring writer. I have too often thrown a book aside, because I became irritated by the number of silly and obvious mistakes in dealing with the chosen period. I don't mean the kind of things only a scholar or a nerd would notice; I mean major blunders that bring the reader up short and distract from the story.

What it all comes down to, as Ms. Alleyn explains, is checking your facts and showing respect for your readers. Near enough will not do; nor will assumptions or half-recalled snippets from school. If you don't want to do the research, chose another period to write about. Even famous writers, when they stray outside their usual historical territory, make silly errors.

It's also good to see the editors come in for some stick! I sometimes wonder whether such animals even exist in publishing houses today, given the typos, grammar howlers and half-erased rewrites that make it onto the printed page.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what you expect, 6 Feb 2014
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Thoroughly well-written guide warning of the pitfalls to be avoided when writing an historical novel. Like medieval underpants! Some things to beware of that are fairly obvious, and others, like which vegetables would be in your diet way back then, are much less so. I found the whole thing fascinating and read it in one session.
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