There’s always such a lot of discussion on accuracy in historical novels. Readers will always find fault with some aspect even for respected best-selling authors. I recently listened to a very amusing talk by a well-known crime writer on letters he had received, calling him to account for what the reader perceived as wrong or offering to help him get it right next time. And yet, cinema-goers rarely display the same critical level of awareness about film. I’m thinking of Braveheart and U-571 which do their best to rewrite history. Surely a film reaches more people than most books and how many people go away with false information from a film thinking it’s true? They tend to criticize continuity errors more than the accuracy of the subject matter, it seems to me.
I recently read a book, Villa Mimosa, which I got free. I read it as a lighthearted spoof about the war in 1944 in the Pas De Calais. I doubt that anyone would consider it bearing any relation to the truth and yes there may have been historical inaccuracies, even faults with the French language but I enjoyed reading it as entertainment. It was
well-written, had good characters and made me smile. You can read my review on Amazon.
I beat myself up about getting historical facts wrong but it is bound to happen. We novelists do not purport to be non-fiction writers and research historians. We aim to tell a story set in a particular time, bringing a flavour of the times to the book without overpowering the reader with a long list of facts. The story and the characters are what drives the book. If it makes the reader think and draw comparisons, so much the better.
I would be interested to hear your thoughts.