Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week you compile a list of ten books which coincide with that week’s theme. You can find everything you need to know about joining in here!
This week’s theme is a Valentine’s Day/love freebie, so today I thought I’d talk about the books, films and TV shows that first got me hooked on historical fiction! Being a history nerd I was always bound to love historical fiction, but there are certain stories that were so formative for me and even though I wouldn’t like some of them now, I still have a real nostalgic fondness for them.
The Mummy (1999)
I don’t care how cheesy this film is, it’s still one of my favourite films of all time and I never get bored of watching it. My love for it is second only to the Disney’s 1991 version of Beauty and the Beast. The Mummy is the very first time I encountered a nerd, who remains a nerd, at the centre of an action film and, to this day, Evie is one of my favourite heroines. Also her and Rick are my ultimate OTP, so I have a lot of love for this film.
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)
There are so many different versions of the Robin Hood story, but this one is my favourite and has been since my childhood. Yes, it can be a little cheesy in parts, but, for a film that came out in 1991, Marian feels like a fleshed out character with her own personality and Alan Rickman’s portrayal of the Sheriff of Nottingham is perfection. Is Kevin Costner far too American? Yes, and yet I don’t care. I bloody love this film.
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
I’ve loved this film since I was 12-years-old and my big sister came to visit with a DVD for me about pirates that she thought I’d love. She was right. This film is still such a comfort watch for me, and it’s one of the few stories that does the childhood friends to lovers trope well.
Mel Gibson is trash and this film is so very historically inaccurate, but I’ve loved it since I was probably too young to be watching it. I prefer much more accurate historical fiction these days, but I still have this film to thank for my love of stories about rebellions and bittersweet love—and for teaching me about a figure from Scottish history I never would have learned about at school!
This is another film I’ve seen so many times, and one I’ve watched since I was little, and even though I know the outcome I still hope things might be different every time I watch it. I cry every single time.
Henry VIII (2003)
This two-part TV drama is… trash. Looking back, very little is accurate—it shows Jane Seymour dying mere seconds after the birth of Edward VI and Catherine Parr being present at the death of Henry VIII, for example—but it has a special place in my heart for being the very first drama about Henry VIII and his wives that I ever saw. Ray Winstone can’t act, bless his heart, but he certainly looks the part.
The Prince of Egypt (1998)
This film is stunning. It has a gorgeous soundtrack and the animation is so earthy and beautiful and I’ve loved it since I first saw it when I was around seven-years-old. When the theatres in London reopen, I’m planning to go and see the musical!
Pirates! by Celia Rees
Celia Rees has a lot to answer for when it comes to my love for historical fiction. Her novels Witch Child and Sorceress inspired a lot of my own writing, but Pirates! was the very first novel by her that I read and I still love it a lot. I’d love to re-read it, but I’m scared I won’t love it as much as I did when I was 12.
Charles II: The Power and the Passion (2003)
2003 was clearly a year of influential TV historical dramas for me, because I can still remember being fascinated by this one and particularly on its focus on Charles’s wife and his many mistresses. Shirley Henderson did a brilliant job as Catherine of Braganza.
A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson
Eva Ibbotson wrote several historical novels that would now be classed as YA, and even though I read this one almost 15 years ago now I still remember so much of it so clearly and I had the best time reading it. If historical romance is something you want to explore but you’re not into reading sex scenes, I’d suggest giving Eva Ibbotson’s work a go. I still have a real soft spot for the couple in this book.