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"Before Versailles" by Kathleen Koen

Want to read a certain historical novel with other members and discuss it as you go along? Start a thread here!
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Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Fri July 29th, 2011, 11:53 pm

Hi Jeanne and welcome.

I very much want more of Alice and Richard and I kept hoping to see glimpses of them in this one. She was maid of honor to Henriette, wasn't she? And I saw a de Soissons (sp?) in this one, and I kept waiting for THAT Philippe to make an appearance. Any little bit like that really would have lifted it up for me.
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

Jeanne
Scribbler

Postby Jeanne » Sat July 30th, 2011, 5:12 am

"Misfit" wrote:Hi Jeanne and welcome.

I very much want more of Alice and Richard and I kept hoping to see glimpses of them in this one. She was maid of honor to Henriette, wasn't she? And I saw a de Soissons (sp?) in this one, and I kept waiting for THAT Philippe to make an appearance. Any little bit like that really would have lifted it up for me.


Good evening, and thank you. I do have to post an introduction yet, so I will keep my remarks tonight brief; I just happened to see the tag for the _BV_ discussion, and that *is* one of the books I'm reading right now.

I am also hoping for a glimpse of Alice in _BV_; she was indeed one of Madame's maids of honour. I suppose it depends on how far forward in time this book goes from the point it's at.

{SPOILER}

I have decidedly run across the Chevalier de Lorraine at the point I am at. I'm guessing we get to see how that sordid little bit of business gets started.

Jeanne
Scribbler

More BV

Postby Jeanne » Thu August 4th, 2011, 8:33 pm

I'm about 3/4 of the way through _BV_; it finally grabbed me as more of the POV shifts start to intersect and make sense.

Yet another treatment of the boy in the iron mask; it's an intriguing theory.

Jeanne

Jeanne
Scribbler

Fiction Based on a Real Historical Character

Postby Jeanne » Thu August 4th, 2011, 8:40 pm

"oldhousejunkie" wrote:For whatever reason, I think her books could use a good editor. The prose is too overdone, IMO. But of course, I'm a spare writer, so I tend to gravitate towards similar writings.

I liked "Through a Glass Darkly" and its prequel "Dark Angels." Both were too long, although I was invested enough in the characters to finish both, which says a lot for me nowadays.

This book is hard to get into, it shifts POVs every other paragraph it seems.

I'm already thinking that Sandra Gulland's "Mistress of the Sun" is better. But snaps to any author who writes fiction based on a real historical character. I am quite daunted by the idea!


Hi! - the phrase you used really caught my attention - obviously, since I quoted it in the title - and I was wondering if I could persuade you to elaborate on it. Why are you daunted by the idea?

There are a lot of different approaches to take to writing a novel, and a thousand different decisions to make about POV, voice, the characters...I find that my personal preference for reading, and almost inevitably for writing, is to stick to historical people. One reason is that it's a huge amount of fun to work out a motivation for actions seemingly inexplicable in a modern light. Another is that I find that the things that have actually happened in history are far more compelling than a lot of the things that are made up. This is just my opinion, and right off the bat I can think of several favourite historical novels with fictional major characters (Lady Dunnett's books, the works of M. M. Kaye, etc.).

If there's a thread devoted to this out there somewhere, please point me to it, or transfer the discussion over there, since this is a topic that intrigues me.

Jeanne

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oldhousejunkie
Scribbler
Location: South Carolina
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Postby oldhousejunkie » Thu August 25th, 2011, 9:26 pm

"Jeanne" wrote:Hi! - the phrase you used really caught my attention - obviously, since I quoted it in the title - and I was wondering if I could persuade you to elaborate on it. Why are you daunted by the idea?

There are a lot of different approaches to take to writing a novel, and a thousand different decisions to make about POV, voice, the characters...I find that my personal preference for reading, and almost inevitably for writing, is to stick to historical people. One reason is that it's a huge amount of fun to work out a motivation for actions seemingly inexplicable in a modern light. Another is that I find that the things that have actually happened in history are far more compelling than a lot of the things that are made up. This is just my opinion, and right off the bat I can think of several favourite historical novels with fictional major characters (Lady Dunnett's books, the works of M. M. Kaye, etc.).

If there's a thread devoted to this out there somewhere, please point me to it, or transfer the discussion over there, since this is a topic that intrigues me.

Jeanne


My apologies for just now replying--I've been in the process of moving, starting a new job, etc.

My educational background (and some of my professional background as well) is semi-historical. I find the idea of writing about a historical character daunting because I don't have much freedom. The historian in me kicks in so I don't really believe in embellishing someone who was a breathing human being. I think I would be less daunted if there was little known about a specific person--it might allow a bit more liberty. I do, however, make use of historical personages as background characters. My Civil War novel features Edwin Staunton (Secretary of War for the Union) and Benjamin Bragg (brigadier general for the Confederacy). They are cameo characters, so perhaps I don't feel as restricted by interpreting them into the plot line.

As I have written this, my mind has begun to turn though. Perhaps it wouldn't be so bad to use a historical personage as a main character. We are simply telling their story!
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