Today I have the sweet and talented Elsie Park, whose brand new historical fiction novel, Shadows of Valor, just hit shelves. This medieval tale is a fabulous, romantic pleasure read. It’s also a clean read! (Full summary at bottom of post)
I asked Elsie to give a list of her favorite historical reads. So be sure to put Shadows of Valor and these books on your to-read list 🙂
My 5 favorite historical fiction reads: Why I like them and their influence over my writing
1) IVANHOE by Sir Walter Scott: “Ivanhoe” is the first story that came to mind as a book that I love and helped inspire “Shadows of Valor.” It’s a story I love watching in any version. I adore Ivanhoe as the champion knight and love to “boo” the rogue knights when they kidnap and pillage. The story is full of intrigue, jousts, sword fights, robbers, deception, and daring rescues . . . everything anyone could ever want in an action-packed adventure film today. The dialogue is also written with old English speech, something I love reading, but which I didn’t use in “Shadows of Valor” because today’s reader has less tolerance for it. The only thing I didn’t like about “Ivanhoe” was who Ivanhoe ended up with in the end. I ALWAYS thought it should have been the sweet Rebecca instead of Rowena, despite the potential scandal over the match. Scandal be darned, I’d have done it that way.
2) PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen: Though I love all of Jane Austen’s stories, I adore the bantering that takes place between Mr. Darcy and Elisabeth in “Pride and Prejudice,” especially knowing they’ll end up together in the end. It’s full of such wonderful scenes of them arguing certain points and coming to love-hate each other because of it. I had these scenes in mind when I wrote some of my “discussions” between my two main characters, Sir Calan and Elsbeth. Austen’s PG-rated stories harbor plenty of love, scandals and happy endings to satisfy my romantic streak.
3) THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL by Emmuska Orczy, is the perfect story of a hero harboring a dual identity and having to keep it secret even from the one he loves. A great inspiration for my hero in “Shadows of Valor.” LOVE IT!
4) THE LORD OF THE RINGS and THE HOBBIT by J.R.R Tolkien: These awesome high-fantasy adventures may not be considered “historical” per se, but as they take place in settings with clothing similar to medieval times (albeit with magic and fantastical characters and enemies) they are certainly favorites of mine. Such magical and wonderful worlds that Tolkien created, even adding his poems to the manuscripts. His use of poems inspired me to pen my own for “Shadows of Valor” and even compose the music for them. At least one of the songs in sheet music form will appear as an addendum in “Shadows of Valor,” and all the music can be found on my blog www.elsiepark.blogspot.com under the page entitled “S of V Piano Sheet Music.”
5) SEEKING PERSEPHONE by Sarah M. Eden and BIG IN JAPAN by Jennifer Griffith (the latter not a historical) were wonderful stories with main characters who didn’t have what society would deem perfect bodies or features, but whom I loved and respected for exactly that. When characters aren’t physically “perfect,” having some kind of visible flaw, it really brings out the inner struggles, but in the end, true love as well. I had already given my female character scars before I read both books, but I applauded the authors for writing about characters who were physically imperfect. Two great reads!
Thanks SO MUCH for having me as a guest on your blog, Teri! I’m so grateful for good friends and supporters! 🙂
For more on Elsie and her new book, Shadows of Valor, check out the following:
Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorelsiepark
SHADOWS OF VALOR overview:
Taking place in 1300 A.D. England, The Shadow (aka Sir Calan), a knight-spy working under the direction of King Edward I, hunts down and arrests smugglers who defy the law and evade paying their taxes. The Shadow’s duty is fueled by vengeance from a childhood experience against smugglers. Dealing with society at its worst, The Shadow becomes cynical and struggles to reign in his desire to execute lethal justice before turning the perpetrators over to local authorities. He feels his soul turning black with hate in his continual fight against evil. A childhood acquaintance, Lady Elsbeth, enters his life years later, bringing light to his soul once again, but she has a story of her own, accompanied by physical and emotional scars. Calan feel he needs Elsbeth in his life, but in an effort to keep his identity and duty secret, he must deceive her. This creates distrust and uncertainty between them, as she accepts another man as her suitor. But Calan must ask the question: What’s worth fighting for more? His long-standing desire to avenge a childhood friend or the woman who may be his salvation? What entails is a glorious tale full of deceit, greed, inner struggles, betrayal, and most of all—love.
About Elsie Park:
Growing up in a small mountain town outside of Yosemite National Park, California, U.S.A., Elsie enjoyed playing soccer, playing piano, reading, writing, art and spending time with family and friends. Years ago she spent 18 months in Italy teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. Seeing the castles and old Roman cities only added to her fascination for ancient and medieval culture. In college she studied zoology, botany and criminal justice. She’s worked as a wildland firefighter, security guard and a police officer, but she is currently a stay-at-home mom, spending time with her children and husband. She loves thinking up new ideas for interesting stories and musical compositions to go with them.