Does it bother you when a book contains historical inaccuracies or is it okay for an author to take literary license?
I recently listened to Code Name Verity and the author had a note after the book where she admitted to changing a few facts to make her book flow better. I was kind of surprised she even brought it up, because those details were so minor. I don’t consider myself an expert on historical facts, and when I read a book of fiction I expect quite a bit of literary license to be taken. For the most part I don’t read too much historical fiction but instead focus on the fantastical books. So I don’t expect anything to be based in truth. But when I read a non-fantastical book, I do expect general laws of physics and overall well known facts to still apply. I do expect the author to do some research on a topic being written about, so that the story flows well and doesn’t sound completely fake. But I’m not getting upset if the little intricate details are missed or made up.
I think it really depends. I mean if a book is good, it is good. I suppose some topics I am more interested in accuracy than other topics. For instance, I dislike books in which the author knows NOTHING about horses, but the main character has many interactions with them. Like, don’t write about a breed that didn’t exist during the middle ages. If I am fairly knowledgeable about a subject and the author gets sloppy or lazy with research, I feel like it takes away from the book. However, if I am not knowledgeable about the subject, I am not disheartened to discover that that particular model of automobile didn’t become available to the average consumer until three months after the author claims her protagonist was driving it. Fickle, I know.
This is a fitting topic for me, as I just finished reading The Tournament by Matthew Reilly about Queen Elizabeth I (come back at the end of the week for my review!). The main characters are real, but the circumstances are not. With Google or Wikipedia a click away, it’s pretty easy to check the historical accuracy in books. But for me, I think fiction means fiction. I might research a person or event that interests me. But I don’t usually care enough to question the plot. I trust, probably naively, that a reasonable amount of research was conducted and that the major story arcs and character decisions are accurate.