Lise Arin – Top Ten Reasons I like Historical Fiction
- I was born to lead armies and rule an empire. The Fates bungled it, and here I am, forced to imagine myself reinstated in my proper sphere. Historical fiction helps me do this.
- Other methods of time travel seem more complicated and I am not good at physics.
- The dresses, the hairdos and the hats. There are not enough opportunities to get dressed up nowadays. All I wear are yoga pants, and I want to be sporting a crinoline or a corset or both.
- Everyone looks better by candlelight, even the characters in a book.
- In contemporary fiction, when the author gets my own culture wrong, it’s an aggravation. With historical fiction, it is much harder to recognize if something is wrong, or how wrong it is, so we can just read and enjoy.
- I like history, but often forget the facts. One cannot be forever looking things up. It’s far more fun to imagine a storyline set in the past with some of the important bits in the mix, but not too many. No one wants to read a history textbook under the covers.
- Violence, in real life, is ugly and frightening. In historical fiction, the carnage and brutality are set back, through time and space, and this double distance blurs their edges and makes them abstract.
- There is some chance that the novel will be made into a movie or mini-series, with incredible settings, exquisite costumes and visceral art direction. If not, I can let one unspool in my head.
- The dialogue resurrects obsolete words and arcane constructions that are picturesque on the page and melodious to the ear.
- I like many things that are no longer easy to find in 2017 — creaking floorboards, claret, hunting trophies, skilled embroidery, the rituals of taking tea, sidesaddles, epistolary friendships, the recitation of poetry — but these things are still commonplace in historical fiction, and I can drink my fill of them.
Mathilda Empress by Lise Arin
A novel of the medieval queen who lost her empire and her heart.
Matilda, a twelfth-century Empress of the Holy Roman Empire and daughter of Henry I, is twenty-four years old and a widow. She returns to inherit her father’s double realm of England and Normandy, but is promptly married against her will to Geoffrey, a minor continental nobleman. Absent from England at the time of her father’s death, Matilda loses her throne to her cousin, Stephen, despite their ongoing and secret love affair.
For almost twenty years, anarchy reigns throughout the empire, and their illicit passion fluctuates between hatred and obsession. The only hope is the Empress’ growing faith and their illegitimate son, whose rightful claim to the English throne could finally halt the bloody, endless war.
In the vein of Philippa Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl, Matilda Empress illuminates the real history of the early English monarchs, while exploring what is at stake when a strong woman at the center of great upheaval refuses to play by the rules laid out for her.
About the Author:
Lise Arin has a BA from Harvard and a PhD from Columbia. She is thrilled to be publishing her first novel of historical fiction, MATILDA EMPRESS, on March 14, 2017. She lives in New York City with her husband and children.