Welcome to the Historical Fiction Online forums: a friendly place to discuss, review and discover historical fiction.
If this is your first visit, please be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above.
You will have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed.
To start viewing posts, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

Worst HF you've ever read

For discussions of historical fiction. Threads that do not relate to historical fiction should be started in the Chat forum or elsewhere on the forum, depending on the topic.
User avatar
Posts: 2642
Joined: August 2008

Post by diamondlil » Wed September 17th, 2008, 9:12 am

Madamoiselle Victorine was pretty dire!

I would probably have to say Music and Silence by Rose Tremain. I thought I would totally love that book - it had an interesting setting in Denmark in the 1600s, but oh boy.....

It's not often that I don't finish a book, but this was one of the few that have that honour!
My Blog - Reading Adventures

All things Historical Fiction - Historical Tapestry

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.

Edith Wharton

User avatar
Posts: 1641
Joined: August 2008
Location: London, UK

Post by sweetpotatoboy » Wed September 17th, 2008, 10:13 am

My all-time worst HF read (in fact, one of my all-time worst reads full stop) was 'Soldier of God' by Diane Brenda Bryan. What could have been an interesting story about a family of secret Jews in Mexico was ruined by some of the worst writing I've ever read and just so many things that were downright wrong.

User avatar
Posts: 1151
Joined: August 2008
Location: At the foothills of Mt. Level

Post by Ariadne » Wed September 17th, 2008, 1:16 pm

I read one book so long ago that I can't give specifics, even as to the author and title, save that it was a mainstream historical romance set in New England at the time of the witch trials. (I don't think it was set in Salem.) The author made a point of calling an accused local witch a devil-worshipper and a "Wiccan," and equated many of the witch's beliefs with those of modern neo-Paganism. There are so many things wrong with this; I was horrified.

Posts: 2475
Joined: August 2008
Location: Arizona, USA

Post by Ash » Wed September 17th, 2008, 1:41 pm

[quote=""MLE""]If it's really bad, I don't finish it. I try not to remember it at all. Usually over the top gross or perverted sex scenes will get me to ditch a book pronto. This does not mean that I want books to avoid difficult subjects, but there are ways to write them that are tactful and serious and other ways that remind me of conversations in the military that I had to listen to because I was stuck in the same barracks... mostly for shock value.
Pillars of the Earth got chucked at the first one of those.

Poorly researched history and just downright lousy writing will lose my interest pretty fast, too. I can stand a mediocre book with good history getter than good writing with poor research. I know I'm in the minority there.[/quote]

I'm pretty much the same way which is why I don't remember other titles. I think I remember Pillars because there was such acclaim for the book, and it still seems like its popular. Go figure, I only read half of it btw. 500 pages was enough And no, you are not in the minority. Lousy writing, poorly researched, over reliance on gratuitious sex and violence that do little to move the plot, stereotypical characters with no depth, 21st century thinking, are things that have changed a book to a wallbanger (and Misfit, you need to copyright that soon, coz I'm using it!)
Last edited by Ash on Wed September 17th, 2008, 1:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Posts: 9581
Joined: August 2008
Location: Seattle, WA

Post by Misfit » Wed September 17th, 2008, 2:16 pm

[quote=""Ash""] a wallbanger (and Misfit, you need to copyright that soon, coz I'm using it!)[/quote]

Ash, don't worry. I'm pretty sure I stole the phrase from someone else. :) :p :o

User avatar
princess garnet
Posts: 1810
Joined: August 2008
Location: Maryland

Post by princess garnet » Wed September 17th, 2008, 3:59 pm

I didn't like The Innocent by Posie Graeme-Evans so didn't read the rest of the trilogy

User avatar
Posts: 101
Joined: September 2008

Post by ellenjane » Wed September 17th, 2008, 6:13 pm

[quote=""Telynor""]Hmm. That could be a very lengthy list!

Margaret George's novel about Mary Magdalene
The Crimson Petal and the White by Michael Faber (I know, people love it, but I hated it...)...[/quote]

I'm with you on these two. I enjoyed some of George's other novels, but the Mary Magdalene one was bad enough that I never even picked up Helen of Troy. I don't remember quite why I didn't like it, but just that I was really ready for it to be done.

I think The Crimson Petal and the White was well done, but I hated reading it. It's one of those novels where you can tell that the characters are on a huge spiral into disaster, and the overall mood is bleak.

User avatar
Compulsive Reader
Posts: 756
Joined: August 2008
Location: Southern California

Post by LCW » Wed September 17th, 2008, 6:18 pm

It's a tie between Helen of Troy by Margaret George (I wanted to slap Helen and that wimpy little Paris so bad!!) and The Other Boleyn Girl (just an awful novel!!).
Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them. --Arnold Lobel

User avatar
Posts: 1346
Joined: September 2008
Location: Georgia USA

Post by Ludmilla » Wed September 17th, 2008, 6:36 pm

No one has ever done Helen of Troy to my satisfaction. Not sure why.

I agree about Pillars of the Earth being a wall banger. I only read around the first 200 pages before discarding it and later gave the book away to someone who could appreciate it better than I did.

User avatar
Compulsive Reader
Posts: 654
Joined: September 2008
Location: Israel

Post by Volgadon » Wed September 17th, 2008, 6:48 pm

(I wanted to slap Helen and that wimpy little Paris so bad!!)
That's the impression I get when reading the Illiad.....

Post Reply

Return to “General Discussion”