139 episodes

Author Alison Treat hosts this weekly podcast focused on her favorite genre. Listen in to her conversations with historical fiction authors about their work. They unpack how the medium of story draws us in, ignites our curiosity, and informs us about the past, so that we can better live in the present.

Historical Fiction: Unpacked Alison Treat

    • Arts
    • 4.8 • 32 Ratings

Author Alison Treat hosts this weekly podcast focused on her favorite genre. Listen in to her conversations with historical fiction authors about their work. They unpack how the medium of story draws us in, ignites our curiosity, and informs us about the past, so that we can better live in the present.

    Joanna Davidson Politano—The Elusive Truth of Silent Films

    Joanna Davidson Politano—The Elusive Truth of Silent Films

    On the final episode of Historical Fiction: Unpacked, I talk with Joanna Davidson Politano about her latest novel, The Elusive Truth of Lily Temple. We had a wonderful conversation about the silent film industry, the part gardens play in this story, and Joanna's research and writing process.



    Here's a description of the novel:



    In her newest narrative, Politano once again whisks readers away to Edwardian England, where an unlikely duo—an underground investigator and a silent-film actress—join forces to uncover secrets and solve cases. But the most baffling case still remains. Dive into the past for a whimsical and layered tale that will leave readers breathless but craving more of Politano’s mesmerizing tales.



    Peter Driscoll, an underground investigator to the wealthy, has been tasked with uncovering the legendary Briarwood Teardrop, an exquisite sapphire, which is currently in the possession of beautiful silent film actress, Lily Temple. In order to stay closer to her, he employs Lily on one of his cases, which leads to a useful partnership. Lily is both charming and quick-witted, but behind her costumes and make-believe world is a woman with a murky past—that includes the Briarwood Teardrop, which she will neither part with nor explain its presence. As she continues to work with Peter, her own story weaves in and out of their encounters, and hints about her background begin to surface. As Peter draws closer to the truth about Lily’s past, danger draws closer to both of them. It is soon obvious that he needs her help as much as she needs his, especially when his life is dependent on Lily’s ability to spin a believable tale.



    Purchase The Elusive Truth of Lily Temple on Amazon (affiliate).



    Check out Joanna's website, and follow her on Facebook, and Instagram.



    Ways you can help the show:



    Join the Historical Fiction: Unpacked Podcast Group on Facebook!



    Be sure to visit my Instagram, Facebook, and website.



    Subscribe to my mailing list (email newsletter) here.



    Follow the show on Instagram!



    Purchase Alison’s historical novel, One Traveler (affiliate).



    Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. If you click an affiliate link and make a purchase, you help support my work without paying any more for the product. Thank you for your support!

    • 22 min
    A.D. Rhine—War and Friendship

    A.D. Rhine—War and Friendship

    This week's episode features a fun conversation. Ashlee Cowles and Danielle Stinson make up A.D. Rhine. They met as military "brats" when they were kids and stayed close over the years. They've united to write a duology, Horses of Fire and Daughters of Bronze. I sat down with Ashley and Danielle to talk about their friendship, their mutual love of Homer's Iliad, and what led them to write these novels together.



    Here's a description of the duology:

    A sweeping and epic duology in which Troy’s strong, yet misunderstood women take center stage in the most famous war in history.

    Andromache is cast as the doting wife of Prince Hector, yet her Amazon warrior name means “battler of men.” The only one with the cunning to outwit the invading Greeks, she must gather a band of outcasts and become the military commander she was born to be before the life she and Hector have built is reduced to ashes. Rhea is a war refugee and a horse whisperer who finally earns a place and sense of belonging in Hector’s stables. To save her new home, she must become an unlikely spy and face down a forbidden love that will test all her loyalties. Helen is blamed by all for starting the Trojan War, but no one knows her real story. To escape her tormentor and foil a plot to undermine Hector, Helen must find the healer within and risk everything by revealing her true face to the one who despises her most.

    Set in the wider landscape of the late Bronze Age collapse, this realistic and immersive Troy is a perilous battleground for warriors and politicians alike, not a playground where the fate of men and women make sport for gods and goddesses. It’s a harrowing novel of palace intrigue, the transcendent bond of female friendship, and the everyday bravery of invisible heroes in times of war.

    The women of Troy are threads spinning on a single loom. Can they reweave the tapestry of fate?

    Purchase Horses of Fire on Amazon (affiliate).



    Check out A.D. Rhine's website, and follow them on Facebook, and Instagram.



    Follow Ashlee on Instagram and Facebook and find her website here.



    Follow Danielle on Instagram and find her website here.



    Ways you can help the show:



    Join the Historical Fiction: Unpacked Podcast Group on Facebook!



    Be sure to visit my Instagram, Facebook, and website.



    Subscribe to my mailing list here.



    Follow the show on Instagram!



    Purchase Alison’s historical novel, One Traveler (affiliate).



    Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. If you click an affiliate link and make a purchase, you help support my work without paying any more for the product. Thank you for your support!

    • 37 min
    Erin Bartels—Recognizing Women Artists in History

    Erin Bartels—Recognizing Women Artists in History

    Award-winning author Erin Bartels joins me on the show to talk about her latest novel, The Lady with the Dark Hair. We discuss the barriers women historically faced when they wanted to pursue a career as an artist as well as the recent emergence of female artists from history.



    Here is a description of the novel:



    A charismatic man with a legacy that long outlives him.

    A forgotten woman whose fate is forever tied to his.

    And the family whose history is still being written.



    Toulouse, France—1879

    Catalan orphan-turned-fugitive Viviana Torrens has found sanctuary serving in the home of an aging artist in Southern France. It is in his studio that she meets Francisco Vella, a Gibraltarian merchant who sells artists’ pigments. When her past catches up to her, she is compelled to pose as Vella’s sister and join him on his travels or be deported back to Spain to stand trial. Along the way she will discover that the many parts she has been playing in order to hide her identity have far-reaching implications she never could have foreseen.



    East Lansing, Michigan—Present Day

    Esther Markstrom and her artist mother have always been proud of their ancestor, painter Francisco Vella. They even run a small museum and gallery dedicated to raising awareness of his scandalously underappreciated work. But when Esther reconnects with her former art history professor, she finds her once-solid family history on shaky ground as questions arise about Vella’s greatest work—a portrait entitled The Lady with the Dark Hair.



    This dual-timeline story takes you on a captivating journey across time and continents, where past and present converge in a relentless search for truth, identity, and the freedom to follow one’s dreams.



    Purchase The Lady with the Dark Hair on Amazon (affiliate).



    Check out Erin's website, and follow her on Facebook, and Instagram.



    Ways you can help the show:



    Join the Historical Fiction: Unpacked Podcast Group on Facebook!



    Be sure to visit my Instagram, Facebook, and website.



    Subscribe to my mailing list here.



    Follow the show on Instagram!



    Purchase Alison’s historical novel, One Traveler (affiliate).



    Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. If you click an affiliate link and make a purchase, you help support my work without paying any more for the product. Thank you for your support!

    • 33 min
    Allison Pataki—America's Forgotten Leading Lady

    Allison Pataki—America's Forgotten Leading Lady

    New York Times Bestselling author Allison Pataki joins me on the show today to talk about her latest release, Finding Margaret Fuller. We discussed Margaret's place in history, the many famous transcendentalist writers she was connected to, and her influence on the U.S. feminist movement. We also talked about Allison's research process, including her visit to Concord and Walden Pond and how real historical figures morph into a characters in her novels.



    Here's a description of the novel:



    Massachusetts, 1836. Young, brazen, beautiful, and unapologetically brilliant, Margaret Fuller accepts an invitation from Ralph Waldo Emerson, the celebrated “Sage of Concord,” to meet his coterie of enlightened friends shaping a nation in the throes of its own self-discovery. By the end of her stay, she will become “the radiant genius and fiery heart” of the Transcendentalists, a role model to young Louisa May Alcott, an inspiration to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s character of Hester Prynne and the scandalous Scarlet Letter, a friend to Henry David Thoreau as he ventures into the woods of Walden Pond . . . and a muse to Emerson himself. But Margaret craves more than poetry and interpersonal drama, and she finds her restless soul in need of new challenges and adventure.



    And so she charts a singular course against a backdrop of dizzying historical drama: From Boston, where she hosts a women-only literary salon for students like Elizabeth Cady Stanton; to the editorial meetings of The Dial magazine, where she hones her pen as its co-founder; to Harvard’s library, where she is the first woman to study within its walls; to the gritty New York streets where she spars with Edgar Allan Poe and reports on the writings of Frederick Douglass. Margaret defies conventions time and again as an activist for women and an advocate for humanity, earning admirers and scathing critics alike.



    When the legendary Horace Greeley offers an assignment in Europe, Margaret again makes history as the first female foreign news correspondent, mingling with luminaries like Frederic Chopin, Walt Whitman, George Sand, and more. But it is in Rome where she finds a world of passion, romance, and revolution, taking a Roman count as a lover—and sparking an international scandal. Evolving yet again into the roles of mother and countess, Margaret enters a new fight for Italy’s unification.



    With a star-studded cast and epic sweep of historical events, this is a story of an inspiring trailblazer, a woman who loved big and lived even bigger—a fierce adventurer who transcended the rigid roles ascribed to women, and changed history for millions, all on her own terms.



    Purchase Finding Margaret Fuller on Amazon (affiliate).



    Check out Allison's website, and follow her on Facebook, and Instagram.



    Ways you can help the show:



    Join the Historical Fiction: Unpacked Podcast Group on Facebook!



    Be sure to visit my Instagram, Facebook, and website.



    Subscribe to my mailing list here.



    Follow the show on Instagram!



    Purchase Alison’s historical novel, One Traveler (affiliate).



    Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. If you click an affiliate link and make a purchase, you help support my work without paying any more for the product. Thank you for your support!

    • 28 min
    Jennifer Ryan—The Underground Library

    Jennifer Ryan—The Underground Library

    I had a wonderful conversation with Jennifer Ryan about her newly released novel, The Underground Library. It's based on the real Bethnal Green Library, which went underground to service the bomb shelters beneath the streets of London during the Second World War. Jennifer and I chatted about the roles women played during World War II, how research inspires her stories, and what lead her to become an author.



    Here's a description of the novel:

    When new deputy librarian, Juliet Lansdown, finds that Bethnal Green Library isn't the bustling hub she's expecting, she becomes determined to breathe life back into it. But can she show the men in charge that a woman is up to the task of running it, especially when a confrontation with her past threatens to derail her?

    Katie Upwood is thrilled to be working at the library, although she's only there until she heads off to university in the fall. But after the death of her beau on the front line and amid tumultuous family strife, she finds herself harboring a life-changing secret with no one to turn to for help.

    Sofie Baumann, a young Jewish refugee, came to London on a domestic service visa only to find herself working as a maid for a man who treats her abominably. She escapes to the library every chance she can, finding friendship in the literary community and aid in finding her sister, who is still trying to flee occupied Europe.

    When a slew of bombs destroys the library, Juliet relocates the stacks to the local Underground station where the city's residents shelter nightly, determined to lend out stories that will keep spirits up. But tragedy after tragedy threatens to unmoor the women and sever the ties of their community. Will Juliet, Kate, and Sofie be able to overcome their own troubles to save the library? Or will the beating heart of their neighborhood be lost forever?

    Purchase The Underground Library on Amazon (affiliate).



    Check out Jennifer's website, and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and X.



    Ways you can help the show:



    Join the Historical Fiction: Unpacked Podcast Group on Facebook!



    Be sure to visit my Instagram, Facebook, and website.



    Subscribe to my mailing list here.



    Follow the show on Instagram!



    Purchase Alison’s historical novel, One Traveler (affiliate).



    Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. If you click an affiliate link and make a purchase, you help support my work without paying any more for the product. Thank you for your support!

    • 32 min
    Joel H. Morris—Exploring Lady Macbeth

    Joel H. Morris—Exploring Lady Macbeth

    This week's episode brings you a conversation with Joel H. Morris. His debut novel, All Our Yesterdays, releases next week, and it's the origin story of the famous lady featured in Shakespeare's play Macbeth. Joel and I discussed his love of Shakespeare and how he became fascinated with one of the most studied female literary figures.



    Here's a description of Joel's novel:



    A propulsive and piercing debut, set ten years before the events of Shakespeare’s historic play, about the ambition, power, and fate that define one of literature’s most notorious figures: Lady Macbeth.



    Scotland, the 11th Century. Born in a noble household and granddaughter of a forgotten Scottish king, a young girl carries the guilt of her mother’s death and the weight of an unknowable prophecy. When she is married, at fifteen, to the Mormaer of Moray, she experiences firsthand the violence of a sadistic husband and a kingdom constantly at war. To survive with her young son in a superstitious realm, she must rely on her own cunning and wit, especially when her husband’s downfall inadvertently sets them free.



    Suspicious of the dark devices that may have led to his father’s death, her son watches as his mother falls in love with the enigmatic thane Macbeth. Now a woman of stature, Lady Macbeth confronts a world of masculine power and secures the protection of her family. But the coronation of King Duncan and the political maneuvering of her cousin Macduff set her on a tragic course, one where her own success might mean embracing the very curse that haunts her and risking the child she loves.



    Purchase All Our Yesterdays on Amazon (affiliate).



    Check out Joel's website, and follow him on Instagram.



    Ways you can help the show:



    Join the Historical Fiction: Unpacked Podcast Group on Facebook!



    Be sure to visit my Instagram, Facebook, and website.



    Subscribe to my mailing list here.



    Follow the show on Instagram!



    Purchase Alison’s historical novel, One Traveler (affiliate).



    Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. If you click an affiliate link and make a purchase, you help support my work without paying any more for the product. Thank you for your support!

    • 30 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
32 Ratings

32 Ratings

Linscini ,

Interesting and stimulating author show

I really enjoy this podcast while I drive home from work a lot of times to keep mind inspired and open to new and established authors and how I can apply their approach to what I’m doing.
The unique stories they’re creating keeps my wheels turning and hearing their personal paths to publication provides hope and great encouragement for others.
When the show starts off with a great sound bite hook from the overall interview, it really draws me in to the show. Great show production technique that always works well.
Thanks for a useful and enjoyable show.

LEB writer ,

For fellow history buffs

Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres and I’m always looking for new authors to try. This podcast is a wonderful resource. Nothing inspires my interest like hearing an insightful interview with an author. Anyone who enjoys inspirational historical fiction should listen.

T. Duta ,

Delightful

This podcast is truly a delight. Alison has a soothing voice that invites you into her storytelling world of books and tea. I love her Q and A style with her guests that expose us to new content! Historical Fiction: unpacked is a fun way to learn and relax!

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