Historical women’s fiction is a genre that has surged in popularity in recent years with contributions from such amazing authors as Rhys Bowen and Jojo Moyes. Today I want to talk about the three Ws as a way for a new reader of historical women’s fiction to enter the genre.
Who Are the 3 Ws
Karen White, Beatriz Williams, and Lauren Willig first collaborated in 2016 on the riveting historical women’s fiction novel, The Forgotten Room. The Forgotten Room is the story of three generations of women who all have a different connection with a home in Manhattan’s Upper East side. Each collaboration has kept this theme of three female voices, which is brilliant because each author gets to truly showcase her writing style. Once you read the authors individually you’ll begin to pick up on each of their unique voices and attempt to identify them in the collaborations.
For example, Karen White is an author of Southern women’s fiction, a subset of the popular women’s fiction genre. Each of the three Ws’ collaborations has contained a character of Southern disposition. As a true Karen White fanatic, I can easily pick out her writing for her exquisite attention to detail and her superb mastery at conveying a character with delectable Southern details.
Beatriz Williams lends an air of tension to everything she writes, and this comes through in these collaborations, particularly in the trio’s second endeavor, The Glass Ocean, released in 2018. The Glass Ocean reveals a mystery that sunk with the torpedoed Lusitania. Williams is adept at spinning an otherwise mundane tale into a frenzy of taut emotions. Williams writes strong, spicy female characters, which is what attracted me to her books in the first place. (If you haven’t read her historical women’s fiction novel, The Wicked City, now is the time to get it before the second in the series releases December 10 of this year!) Williams’ characters have movement and not just in their plot lines. Her characters have a propensity to actually pitch you forward in the story. You’re always racing to keep up with them and in the end you’re left breathless and satisfyingly stunned at the conclusion.
Lauren Willig lends her expertise to history. I never read the Pink Carnation series for which Willig gained fame. I came in at The Ashford Affair and was soon wooed by the tantalizing way Willig toys with history. As a trained historian, I was left dangerously unsettled and pleasantly intrigued. When I view these collaborations as a whole, I see Willig as the frame that brings the entire story together. Without her, these collaborative novels would not be quite what they are thanks to Willig’s astonishing talent for weaving history through her words.
Where to Start in Historical Women’s Fiction
Three distinct voices so perfectly blended and yet so charmingly identifiable. If you’re new to historical women’s fiction, pick up a copy of The Forgotten Room and lose yourself in the splendid concoction that results from three incredibly talented authors combining forces. But be sure to get through The Glass Ocean before their third collaboration, All The Ways We Said Goodbye, releases January 14, 2020.