Historical fiction is a topic that many people are talking about at the moment, especially during “The White Queen” series on the BBC. All of a sudden there is usually an explosion of arguments – is it accurate enough? Does the language reflect the times? Are they wearing the right clothes, eating the right food, fighting with the right swords?
As an author, it is always a difficult balance. If I'm honest, when writing historical fiction that is any earlier than the 1700s, the language is not exact – but that’s because to our modern day ears, the book would be completely incomprehensible!
“Palmeres for to seken straunge strondes, to ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes…”
How many people do you think would want to pick up a book full of language like that? Many readers don’t want to hear about digging cess pits, picking lice, or the pungent aroma of a butchers’ lane. Historical snobbery cannot have it both ways: historical fiction is either brutally accurate, or palatable for the modern reader.
I try to dance the line between the two. I'm currently finishing my Masters degree in Medieval Studies, so I know enough about my time period to fill it with interesting and unusual facts. But I’m also a writer at heart, and I want my reader to be able to dive in head first into the medieval world that I create – not be put off by words they don’t understand, or graphic descriptions. That’s the decision I’ve made, and I’ve found writing it such a rewarding experience.
# # #
Conquests: Hearts Rule Kingdoms
England, 1069: The nation is still recovering from the Norman invasion three years earlier - and adjusting to life under its sometimes brutal new rulers. A young girl trembles in the shadows of what was once her home. Avis is homeless and penniless, and with no family left alive she is forced to become a ward of Richard, the Norman lord who has taken her home. But when King William decrees that Norman lords must marry Anglo-Saxon women Avis must make a terrible choice. Either marry the repulsive Richard or take a else chance on another Norman, Melville, a man she has never met.
Soon she realises that survival in a time of turmoil and war depends of putting aside the prejudices of the past. And if she can do so, kingdoms and hearts can still be among her 'Conquests'.
'Conquests' is a brilliantly researched and involving historical drama that is perfect for fans of Alison Weir and Philippa Gregory.
# # #
About The Author
Emily Murdoch is a medieval historian who has worked at the Bodleian Library in Oxford transcribing documents, and designing part of an exhibition for the Yorkshire Museum. She has a degree in History and English, and is finishing her Masters thesis. Emily is currently working on the sequel to “Conquests: Hearts Rule Kingdoms”, as well as working as a script advisor, researcher, copy writer, and conservation assistant.
Conquests: Hearts Rule Kingdoms is
and also on Goodreads