Saturday, 28 September 2013

The Boleyn Deceit (The Boleyn King #2), Laura Andersen - The Review

In an age when you may be put to death for marrying without the King's consent, the lovely Minuette Wyatt must negotiate with the affections of an already betrothed King (William is betrothed to a princess of France), deal with the politics and implications of the King's affections in a polarized court, and also manage to conceal the affections of her heart for the King's right hand man and best friend, Dominic Courtenay.

The Concept
People are so gullible it makes me sick!

Just because a couple of old farts calling themselves historians say something happened doesn't mean it did. Burn your so called history books and prepare to self flagellate. Queen Anne Bullen never had any miscarriages. She had a son and he lived to be king!

This is part of his-story!

Go punish yourselves now.

The Writing
It is written in a sharp and concise language. Definitely not spare, but as befits the telling of true history no unnecessary words have been used.

Switches between the viewpoints of Minuette, Dominic and Elizabeth (yes, the Elizabeth you think you know).

There're even excerpts from Minuette's journal/diary, translated into modern English for your easy reading.

The Story
To appease Catholics who still feel that Mary, daughter of Katherine of Arragon, is the rightful heir to the throne, eighteen year old William commits to marry Marie (a princess of France) when she reaches an appropriate age.

In the now however, he only has eyes for Minuette (main character) - his sister Elizabeth's attending gentle woman (or whatever they're called), and friend. Minuette likes William but loves Dominic. Dominic likes William but loves Minuette.
How soon before William discovers that the apple of his eye and his best friend believe they have been arrowed together by Cupid.
Dun dun dun du-dunnn.

The word about town is that William is thinking only with his little head and intends to follow in the footsteps of his father (King Henry the Eighth), and break a royal union just so he can marry his mistress. Somebody has to dissuade William, dissuade Minuette or eliminate Minuette. Somebody will try all three, but to what degrees of success though?
Dun dun dun du-dunnnn.

Then there's the added intrigue of the politics of ambitious families and gentlemen at court.

Of course if you've had the pitiful pleasure of being plied with the story of that time according to your dour historian, the similarities between the events chronicled in this book and the happenings of King Henry the Eighth's court may lessen your enjoyment of this Laura-story.

The Resolution
The ending is an end, and a good ending too but it is hard to not notice that what it really is, is a set-up for the final book of the trilogy.

The Verdict
When I thought the author had invented the majority of the history in this book, I rated it as a great book, but then a dour historian got to me and succeeded in souring my elation.

So this one is only a good book.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Wolf Hall (Thomas Cromwell #1), Hilary Mantel - The inteRview

But it is no use to justify yourself. It is no good to explain. It is weak to be anecdotal. It is wise to conceal the past even if there is nothing to conceal. A man's power is in the half-light, in the half-seen movements of his hand and the unguessed-at expression of his face. It is the absence of facts that frightens people: the gap you open, into which they pour their fears, fantasies, desires

A walk in the footsteps of Thomas Cromwell, from his son of an abusive blacksmith childhood, through his teeth-cutting apprenticeship with the Cardinal of York - Cardinal Wolsey, to his becoming the second most revered gentleman of King Henry the Eighth's Court.

Lazy, Crazy And Too Busy So Why,
Pick up a thousand and something pages of historical fiction covering what must be the most covered period of British History?

It is the critically acclaimed ManBooker prize winner of 2009 with an equally critically acclaimed sequel which also won the ManBooker prize in 2012.

And I was reading another storybook, attempting to rewrite the history of King Henry VIII's court and I wanted to be able to separate fact from fiction without reading the actual history.

They say it is a tough read, it's a long read and it's a good read. Reading it has got to put you in some type of exclusive club right?

So Are You Going
To say it is awesome and become a part of that club, or are you going to trash it and put yourself in an even more exclusive club?

It is awesome. A real piece of technical quality. Never read a book like it. Flirting with confusing my mind but always managing to keep everything straight in my mind.

It is a piece of trash. It has no soul. Written it seems only to prove how great a writer the author is.

They say, it casts fresh light on the life, work and thoughts of a much maligned but great English gentleman.

So Are You Going
To agree that he is far better than he is  usually portrayed, or do you wish to seem an intelligenter-than-all critique and reveal how much of nothing this book has added to the image of Thomas Cromwell?

The book fails. Thomas Cromwell is still the devil. Or his incarnate. He appropriates other people's properties by force of logic (aka stealer), he interprets fact and fiction to suit his aims and ambitions (aka liar), and he separates individuals from their personhoodness without a second thought (aka killer).

The book is a masterful depiction of human nature. Thomas Cromwell is a great man who rose from the gutter to become second in command to a king; all by virtue of his own hardwork and ingenuity. Managing all the while to keep his honour and dignity in an age when those things were being auctioned to dogs (going to the dogs).

They say, the writing is pure genius.

So Are You Going
To finally have an answer that doesn't seem contradictory?

The writing is pure genius, except for its blatant discrimination against even numbered persons.

Exclusivity for first persons (presumably the author, I) and for third persons (Thomas Cromwell, he), and a lumping with the masses for second persons (the reader, you) and for fourth persons (everybody else in the book, ? )

Plus if you think chicken feet pitpattering is beautiful art, there's a classical piece of work for you in chapter two of part two of the book.


Are You Going
To answer questions pertaining to your uselessness or bitterness as a critic?



So Are You Going
To say who you think should pick this book up and look forward to reading it?

Everybody with a brain.

Go On,
Speak your thoughts and feelings on this book so we can get going.

My mind says Congratulations, book!

But it is not about to succumb to its gravitational pull of love.