I’m a member of GoodReads and today I was looking through the group discussions when I came upon a discussion, really an argument, about whether a fictional historical novel

The Other Boleyn Girl The Other Boleyn Girl
by Philippa Gregory

is telling the truth about what happened in regard to King Henry VIII’s court and marriages. The discussion had been quite heated and as I read I have to admit that I was shaking my head in disbelief.  Fiction is fiction and it means that an author can and does include some elements of reality into their works but they do change reality to suit their stories. Philippa Gregory has made it quite clear that her novels are based on historical fact, not they are historical fact.

And if you look in the dictionary there are several definitions,


[fik-shuhn] Show IPA


1.) the class of literature comprising works of imaginative narration, especially in prose form.
2.) works of this class, as novels or short stories: detective fiction.
3.) something feigned, invented, or imagined; a made-up story: We’ve all heard the fiction of her being in delicate health.
4.) the act of feigning, inventing, or imagining.
5.) an imaginary thing or event, postulated for the purposes of argument or explanation.
So I must ask why are there people who think that a fictional historical novel is the absolute truth as to what happened then (which is what more than one person is saying) and not the imagination of the author? I just thought it was a very, very strange discussion (argument) for people to be having because surely if they had read the book, they would noticed that the book is stated as being fiction.
Now I enjoy Philippa Gregory‘s writing, and I have read several of her books, but fiction is just that, fiction.
If I wanted to read a non fiction account about Henry VIII’s life and times, I would read a book like this Henry VIII: The King and Hi... Henry VIII: The King and His Court by Alison Weir. It is an excellent historical account, with very detailed descriptions obtained by extensive research and it reads like a novel.
So is The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory truth or fiction?  Hmmm…fiction!