The Illustrated
Visit Us

Why Reading A Historical Fiction is Essential

Books are great, and they have the potential to change one’s narrative and thinking. Reading them will allow a reader to discover and experience things one might have never been through.

However, one of the greatest and most interesting stories I find amazing for reading is historical fiction. Historical fiction generally takes place in a real location and at a historically significant moment in time. As the author fills in the blanks, the story’s details and actions may combine real-world incidents with those from their imagination and creativity.

Any historical novel is defined by how fact and fiction contradict and blur. Reading historical fiction books makes one aware of the accomplishments of illustrious individuals from the past–and one can probably discover and learn tales from the historical juncture that academic literature might not allow. Even though the events and emotions within the actual historical reality are unknown to a reader and have not been encountered by them or by their close relationship in recent times.

In Tom Durwood’s book The Illustrated Boatman’s Daughter, “Salima,” a 16-year-old from the Nile, dreams of leaving her monotonous life behind. She emerges into a world overflowing with potent imperial forces as the society decamps to Egypt to construct the Suez Canal, the massive waterway connecting East and West. Salima, her friends Emilie and Mikal, and her beloved Collie, Fadil, fight against the empires that want to colonize Egypt despite all odds. 

Salima and her new friend Emile are accidentally chosen to assist the Dutch, which pushes them into the dark world of the Suez Canal construction. As she travels through Cairo and the surrounding areas, Salima learns that her people have been forced into detention to dig the long canal–working without food, pay, or even rest. However, she soon discovered the reality and decided to campaign for fair treatment, good pay, and secure working conditions–becoming an unexpected hero to the Egyptian people.

Reading such good and remarkable historical fiction novels leads a reader to learn and discover history like never before. A good historical novel starts a conversation between the past and then connects it to the present reader’s mind.

The reader of today, with their more enlightened perspective, may find the attitudes of the past to be nonsensical and would not emphasize questioning many social norms that were present in time back then and prevailing now.

However, reading historical fiction can benefit. A reader can understand and find the true meaning of such societal thoughts, from minorities and women who were denied basic rights and treated like second-class citizens to issues including racism, sexism, and abuse of power. Good historical fiction can bring up all under one roof and empower readers to make up a justified positive perspective.

I strongly believe that this generation must learn the past in a true and inspiring light- they need to understand and experience history through their perspective. And historical fiction is the modern and classic way to do it- the more you read and uncover the history, the more you will learn and embrace the change.

I once remarked that a good historical novel works like a time machine–and the unbreakable rule of time travel is that you cannot alter the past. But after completing an amazing book like The Illustrated Boatman’s Daughter, you might realize that the past has altered many aspects of your life–whether you believe it or not.

You might also enjoy