I can remember as a kid watching this commercial for Calgon bath products. The harried working mom in the ad came home after a hard day and had only one desire: for Calgon to take her away. The poor lady just wanted some time to herself and a break from the maddening pace of her everyday life. While I enjoy a bubble bath as much as the next person, the ultimate getaway for me is a good book, and nothing lifts me from the mundane quite like historical fiction. How else would I have met the brooding Heathcliff, the tortured Rev. Dimmesdale, and the arrogant but surprisingly sweet Mr. Darcy? Though these characters live in a different time and place, the hopes and fears they possess are not so different from my own. This overlap, the universal portrait of the human condition, is what makes this genre doubly satisfying. Not only do I get to be swept away by the landscapes and events of the past, I also get to meet people who leave an indelible mark on my imagination. Through their stories, these characters whisper warnings and encouragements, and they remind me never to give up. No matter what my day’s been like, the promise of spending a few moments immersed in compelling historical fiction makes it all worthwhile.
-Vickie Price Taylor