I don't consider myself a fan of historical fiction, but I guess I'm committed to reading the best things being written in the genre. First the in-store book club delved into Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall, and just several months later we're plowing through David Mitchell's The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. Unlike the former, Mitchell's novel of a Dutch trading post on the edge of Japan circa 1800 does not have to hew to specific facts about specific people. Mitchell notes in this essay in The Telegraph that the novel was inspired by an inadvertent visit to Dejima, the ruins of the Dutch East India Cmpany's warehouse. That said, he still chose to hew to the traditions of historical fiction, such as having the characters speak in "bygonese." Read more here.
Into the Beautiful North, by Luis Alberto Urrea is our pick.