My favourite character is Geoffrey Chaucer ( who is probably not even remotely like the real Geoff Chaucer); but is so fun and funny and has such flair and so many lovely quips.
"I'm a writer", he announces, "I give the truth scope."
As a reader, I enjoy historical novels which capture the essence of a time period, laced with verisimilitude, painted with enough accuracy that I can feel the time period, sprinkled with factoids and little tidbits that make me feel I am learning something. I don't need every.single. moment to be perfect. For perfection and aptitude, I can go and take a university degree or pick up some wildly-long scholarly tone.
As a writer, I need to allow myself to write the way I read. I need to forgive myself for not knowing everything. Granted 1917 isn't the middle ages and there are photographs and videos and first-hand narratives and headlines to be found. I am rather lucky in this way. In other ways I am not. The Halifax that existed---the Richmond that existed ( a neighbourhood I write extensively about which was annihilated into a devastated, snowy wasteland by the explosion) is gone. I can read first hand accounts; but I will never be able to walk it or feel it or see it as it was.
I have to then rely on imaginative scope. I have to hope that eventual readers will flit the pages with a taste of what existed, may learn a few interesting facts that I extracted from research, will allow me a few mea culpas.
I pardon authors on this score all the time. Indeed, I am more turned off when authors intercept their historical narrative with superfluous facts about a time. It's so intrusive. I don't want to cut off the flow as a writer; because as a reader that is something I despise.
As a reader, what are the things that you look for in historical fiction? What pardons do you make?