Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Web Spotlight Wednesday: The Historical Novel Society

When I’m not reviewing books (or when I’m reading a lengthier tome), I will be hosting historical news, film reviews, and bits and pieces that strike the fancy. Today I’ll be reviewing the Historical Novel Society’s web page.

Mission Statement:
“promotes all aspects of historical fiction. We provide:

* Support and opportunities for new writers,
* Information for students, booksellers, and librarians,
* A community for authors, readers, agents, and publishers.”

My Review: The site does exactly what it sets out to do through a variety of easy-to-find venues. The flagship of the society appears to be their magazine, which aims to review as many historical fiction novels as possible (they claim to review all that are made known to them; approximately 800 a year!). What more could we, as historical fiction fans, ask for in a website?

They also maintain a subscription-only biannual magazine that publishes more news, interviews, and new fiction, and if I ever get off my butt I’ll get a subscription and review that here, too.

Like the books we love, the site lacks for a little color and illustration, but it more than makes up for it in content. This is the most comprehensive site for a database of all new fiction, though it is daunting to think about reading through all those titles without a clue of which ones are any good.

The few reviews that are posted online are critical and well-written, so the true fan may find their El Dorado by subscribing to their magazine and newsletter. They also post an “Editor’s Choice” list on a regular basis to further discern between the myriad of titles.

The site also has a list of member links and news about its authors. I highly recommend checking out this last link; it acts like a veritable who’s who of historical fiction authors, news, and gossip, and is very up to date.

I would have liked a whole archive section on this site. While their titles are archived year by year in their newsletter back to 2003, it would have been nice to see different ways of looking up titles, such as by author or publisher. Similarly, a search engine function would have been much appreciated on this comprehensive site.

Overall, this site provides a wealth of information and inspiration for the historical fiction fan and I encourage you to check it out, add it to your favorites, and hopefully join their society, as I plan to do.

Link to the Historical Novel Review's Table of Contents for Feb 2009

Link to a wrap-up on the annual Historical Novel Society's conference from the blog Reading the Past

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