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Norah Lofts The King's Pleasure

Ash
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Norah Lofts The King's Pleasure

Post by Ash » Fri December 26th, 2008, 2:50 pm

I am surprised there is no thread of her work here. She is a British author who wrote from 1949 through the 70s. While she wrote mysteries and romance, the books that attracted me the most where her historic fictions. The one I most recently read was a re-release of the story of Katharine of Aragon, The King's Pleasure

I have long dispared of the Historic Fiction that has become popular of late. The sensational, the revisionism, the sexual details, have taken the place of the historic event that is as interesting and exciting in and of itself. I have been a fan of Lofts for a very long time, and was excited to see King's Pleasure re-released

We all know the story here. Usually Katherine is portrayed as a solemn, ultra religious, stubborn woman who stands in the way of Henry and Anne's true love. Balderdash. This is the story of a very complex woman, the great love she had with Henry, and why she continued to love him long after he abandoned her. The story is told simply, but with great detail to the time and place and the people. Its done without the trappings that other authors use to sell their books- there is no sensationalism, or revisionism here. This is HF at its best. Anne Boleyn is in the background here, Katherine is queen of this story.

I did find it interesting to learn just how close to civil war England came over this conflict; one word from her would have sparked it. She kept to her convictions; but it is an interesting 'what if': if she told Mary to go ahead, would the reformation have taken a back seat to the uprising, and what would have been the result?

I am giving four stars instead of five, because towards the end the story becomes repetitious and probably could have been combined in some way. Katharine was moved several times in her last years, to places that were worst than the one before. Many people helped or tried to help, and the populace loved her so much that there was almost an uprising. This is important to the story, but some times it did get to be a bit much. Still,at four stars she is far better than some popular HF authors, and joins the rank of Penman and Chadwick as the top writers in the genre, in my book.
Last edited by Ash on Fri December 26th, 2008, 2:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favourite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
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Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Fri December 26th, 2008, 4:00 pm

Great review, Ash! I read this one a couple years ago, and you have nailed it. I love Loft's attention to truth as much as it can be seen; she is much like Plaidy in that. But then in her day, HF writers were supposed to do their research and not mess with history.

Also agree about the ending. Although I'm sure it eas much easier to read than to live through.

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nona
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Post by nona » Fri December 26th, 2008, 7:44 pm

Ash what do you think of Concubine?

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diamondlil
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Post by diamondlil » Fri December 26th, 2008, 8:17 pm

I've copied this first post into the review section. This can be a thread for Norah Lofts in general.
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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Fri December 26th, 2008, 9:59 pm

I've tried a couple of Lofts' books Hester Roon and The Lute Player. Both were just so-so, but part of that was the slow paced subject matter. I'd like to give at least one more a try.

Ash
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Post by Ash » Fri December 26th, 2008, 10:33 pm

[quote=""diamondlil""]I've copied this first post into the review section. This can be a thread for Norah Lofts in general.[/quote]

Thanks - I wasn't sure how that worked!

I haven't read Concubine yet, and am not sure I can; Ive read so much about Anne over the years that another one, even a very well written one, may do nothing for me. We'll see tho. She also wrote A Crown of Aloes, about her Katherine's Isabella of Spain. I don't remember much about it, may be rereadng it soon.

Misfit, start with her house books: Bless this House and Wayside Tavern, or Townhouse, which is the first of a trilogy. In each book, the house is a big part of the story as the families living in each grow and change through history. Bless this House is the one I started with and it got me hooked. I loved Wayside Tavern because it starts out as a Roman Temple!Pargetters is her final one. Her era is from around 1500 to around 1750.

http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/l/norah-lofts/

This website is a look at all of her work. I wish it would divide it all up between histories, mysteries, romance....but there's a lot to explore.
Last edited by Ash on Fri December 26th, 2008, 10:45 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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nona
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Post by nona » Sat December 27th, 2008, 2:22 am

Well I bought the Kings Pleasure and Concubine tonight so i'll give it ago.

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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Sat December 27th, 2008, 2:24 am

[quote=""nona""]Well I bought the Kings Pleasure and Concubine tonight so i'll give it ago.[/quote]

Nona, LOL but your shopping habits would make any bookseller happy and any husband quite cranky. You go girl :)

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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Sat December 27th, 2008, 11:25 am

I've read a lot of Norah Lofts, including her mysteries. I have always much preferred her to Plaidy. I'm not sure that I've read The King's Pleasure though.
I would agree that her town house books are a great place to start. Madselin is excellent as well. I quite enjoyed The Lute Player as far as I remember, but it's not the best she's ever written. I really liked How Far to Bethlehem too - although it's half a lifetime since I read it!
Last edited by EC2 on Sat December 27th, 2008, 11:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: typo
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

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Tanzanite
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Post by Tanzanite » Sat December 27th, 2008, 12:49 pm

I liked The King's Pleasure and The Concubine. Didn't really care for Eleanor the Queen and thought Crown of Aloes was just OK.

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