Policies

I welcome review requests from authors and publishers, with one caveat: No electronic submissions, please. Do read these paragraphs carefully before offering a title. I’ll never accept a review copy of a book I suspect I’ll dislike–I won’t waste my time and yours–but anyone who sends me a book accepts the risk that I’ll wind up not liking it after all and writing my review accordingly.

To me, a historical novel describes settings, events, and conditions at least fifty years old, though I’ll bend that to suit my interest in the late Sixties and the Vietnam War, the era I came of age. I avoid sagas, and I won’t review novels that mix the past and present. I prefer the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, especially in Europe or the U.S., but before 1800 is fine, and so is any setting in the world. The story and characters matter more than the time or place. The First World War fascinates me–it’s my historical specialty–so I’m always looking for good novels about it, but that’s just a suggestion.

I’ll gladly read many types of historical fiction, whether a love story, military or political exploit, social scene, character study–or a combination–but I’m particular about the approach. The style must be realistic; please, no fantasy, paranormal, magical realism, or alternate history. Even more important, if the characters, story, or the telling feel formulaic, I’ll put the book down, which, in my experience, makes me a poor risk for romances, capital R. I welcome historical thrillers of a literary type–think Helen Dunmore, David Liss, Alan Furst, Robert Harris.

From time to time, I’ll also review history. The subject may be any period at least twenty-five years old, from any angle–social, diplomatic, military, you name it–dealing with any place on earth. No biographies, though.

In a good week, I’ll post two reviews, not necessarily at the same time, leaning more toward historical fiction than straight history, though I plan to do both.

As time permits, I’ll also post short pieces about writing history or historical fiction, on historical events or figures, or as homage to favorite authors.

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