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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Plagues, Witches, and War: The Worlds of Historical Fiction by University of Virginia

579 ratings

About the Course

A unique and exciting introduction to the genre and craft of historical fiction, for curious students, aspiring authors--anyone with a passion for the past. Read classics of the genre, encounter bestselling writers of historical fiction, and discover your own historical archive while interacting with a global community of interested readers....

Top reviews


Sep 16, 2020

I'm not sure why I took this course. I'm glad I did. I enjoyed all the books and the interaction with authors. This was a way to experience literature without writting 5 papers on a book.


Oct 4, 2020

Too good! The instructor was way too awesome. I am not from Arts or Literature background yet understood everything easily. The author interactions were a really good learning experience

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1 - 25 of 138 Reviews for Plagues, Witches, and War: The Worlds of Historical Fiction

By Carolyn G

Jan 23, 2020

Sadly, unless I purchase a certificate, I can't get even through first quiz and beyond to the rest of the materials. I'm retired and have no need to spend my pension on a course certificate. This should be made clear in the course description - unless you want to pay for a certificate, all you will have is a bunch of definitions from an initial series of talking head lectures - wasted time and not the reason I signed up for this. I feel very misled.

By Heather C

Jul 18, 2020

Loved learning the material but sucks that none of the quizes are available without the upgrade, many other courses I took had free quizes so that at east your course would be 100% complete, this one shows I'm not even done even though I did all the readings and watched the videos. If the quizes are only available for the upgraded accounts, then they shouldn't be on the free portion and hold you back from showing a completed course.

By Serena S

Oct 3, 2016

This course has a lot of extras in it and a lot of food for future thought. The teacher is fun to learn from and I enjoyed his enthusiasm and the joy he expressed in the subject.

By Darren G

Nov 12, 2015

Exceptional experience. I enjoyed the entire course. This was my first real sojourn into the genre and now I'm hooked. Thank you, very much, for sharing this quality education. Be Well.

By Samuel T M

May 4, 2017

All the guests were women. Imagen if all the guests had been men!!!

By Margaret L B

Nov 9, 2017

This course was unique in presentation as well as content. Professor Holsinger's videos were rich and focused. The author videos provided valuable insight into research and character development. I expected there to be writing assignments (having completed the Creative Writing specialization), but I now know that was not the purpose of the course. From a research standpoint, this course was outstanding. Thank you, Professor Holsinger. -Margaret (Peggy) Barnes, Mentor, Creative Writing, The Craft of Style

By Monica M

Jun 16, 2020

Pro: Really liked the professor's style, how he drew on guest lecturers, how he drew on material from many cultural backgrounds, how he wove it all together. I have created an excellent "To Read" list from this course, including many books I would not have known about otherwise.

Con: I audited this course, and unlike many other courses on Coursera, this course would not allow me to submit the quizzes or assignments. It had an oddly and significantly deflating effect on my continued participation in the course. I skimmed a lot more (rather than really absorbing with maximum attention), and now, even though I have completed all the lectures, I cannot 'complete' this course in a way that the Coursera system recognizes it as finished. I guess I will be in an eternal limbo situation, with the course telling my assignments are overdue.

By Tere F

Aug 16, 2016

Although I did not read the course description as well as I should have, this course was actually better for me than I expected. I wish to be a writer, so I take every course I can on writing. This one was exactly what is needed for someone who wants to write historical fiction. I'm not sure that I do, yet, however I am surely prepared if that is the way I want to go in the future.

The videos were incredibly informative. I do plan to go back and take the rest of the weeks that are not necessary for the certificate. In fact, I'm headed there now. If you take this course, you will enjoy it very much!

By June C

Sep 17, 2020

I'm not sure why I took this course. I'm glad I did. I enjoyed all the books and the interaction with authors. This was a way to experience literature without writting 5 papers on a book.

By Anwesha B

Oct 5, 2020

Too good! The instructor was way too awesome. I am not from Arts or Literature background yet understood everything easily. The author interactions were a really good learning experience

By ana o

Apr 4, 2017

Excellent videos and reading material! Now I have more historical novels based on the recommendations done by the scholars! I hope a similar course is prepared presenting more authors!

By Rhonda H

May 30, 2016

Super wonderful class. Very educational and enjoyable. I collected more books after this class and re-read many of them. Recommend The Love Artist featured in one of the sessions.

By Sarab P

Dec 5, 2015

This course was just what I was looking for, being a budding historical fiction writer myself. It made me authenticate that I was doing mostly everything right so far. I have three complete novels in my treasure trove and three as work in progress. Bringing in authentic authors of historical fiction gave me first hand tips, and precious insight into the experiences of real life writers just like me, who take true pleasure in what they do, and do best. I would indeed appreciate a sequel to this well put together course; the sooner the better! Congratulations, Professor Holsinger! Thank you, University of Virginia! P.S. I could do with a complimentary Certificate of Accomplishment, though.

By Marrissa R

Aug 7, 2020

A very interesting course with a fascinating subject I've been intrigued by for a while. It gave me many skills and techniques to think about as I attempt to eventually become a historical fiction writer myself someday. My only negative critique is that I wish it dealt with the witches and medieval aspects of the course in the beginning rather than towards the end.

By Ana O

Aug 26, 2015

I really enjoyed this course. It was my first one in Coursera and it was very helpful to do it at my own pace. I found very useful advice regarding sources and research strategies. The seminars were very good and also the conversations. The sound could be improved but having subtitles helps to overcome the technical issues. Thank you.

By Natalka K

May 17, 2020

Great interviews with authors. Basic info is of big value.

However, as I'm only auditing the course , would be great to be able to take tests, just to see where Im am on the learning scale. No certificates for auditing students is fair enough.


By Teresah T

Oct 10, 2015

Lovely course for historical fiction enthusiast. There's a wonderful reading list required to read as well as multiple guest speakers besides the professor to help explain more about the genre.

By monica r

May 1, 2024

This was such a great class! Taken just for self knowledge. Professor H is such a great and thorough speaker and teacher. He leads the class through the course on a we L planned path of know Edge that end in insights as well as in depth learning. One of the most helpful and interesting plans in the course was to include both students and writers! It makes the class so much more full and rewarding for all as well as stimulating questions that otherwise would not have been available. Kudos to couriers and professor H!

By Nazire C

Sep 7, 2015

This course was great. It is obvious that it was carefully planned and laid out. The visiting scholars were a great opportunity to not only learn about historical fiction and what kind of research is done, it's also was a great way to learn the process of writing. The necessary text that ought to have been taught was given carefully, without suffocating the student. It was fun and knowledgeable class. I would recommend this class highly to anyone who is really interested in literature and fiction!

By Michael G L

May 28, 2020

Excellent and well constructed course. As a librarian, I appreciated the content and I will be using one of the books covered for a library reading group. This is Anna Katharine Greene’s The Forsaken Inn.

I would not have found this without the course. I also appreciate the fact that this course DOES NOT make use of peer-reviewed assignments. Those are annoying, are poorly graded, and often get stuck when a course has few enrollments. The assessments are strictly quizzes.

By Rachel V

Aug 28, 2020

Professor Holsinger is fantastic and all the guests he brings on are charismatic and insightful. I've learnt a lot in just a few days and the lectures are well timed and crafted, not too heavy. Truly, kudos to Professor for having put together a riveting and informative syllabus. I have a new appreciation for historical fiction and it's critique and I hope to read any future historical fiction with improved criticism and knowledge. Thank you!

By Danee v d E

Oct 9, 2020

I absolutely loved this course, as it introduced me to a side of literature that I would otherwise not be taught about during my classes. It combines two of the things I love most: history and books, and does this in an incredibly interesting manner. I would recommend this course to anyone that is interested in history, books and writing, and hope everyone enjoys it as much as I did!

By Linda L

Feb 6, 2022

I found this course to be very interesting and informative. The historical background on historical fiction and the author interviews were a highlight for me. So many great books to read. The wealth of resource material was awsome. I am so glad that I checked out the discussion group early in the course where I found out that week 12 was a resources chapter.

By Carol G

Feb 3, 2019

This course is brilliant. Prof Bruce is a terrific teacher and guide through a mountain of fascinating resources.

The visiting writers are charismatic and so willing to answer questions about their writing, the students are engaged in discussion and ask excellent questions

Terrific links to as much core and supplementary reading as you would want,

Thank you so much

By David M Y

Jul 21, 2020

This class was really well done, well organized and thoughtfully presented. I wish all my Lit classes had been this interesting. The course materials come with many recommendations for further reading and I will definitely be checking them out over the coming months. Overall I am very happy to have taken this course and give it my highest recommendation.