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Suzannah Dunn

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Ariadne
Bibliophile
Location: At the foothills of Mt. Level

Suzannah Dunn

Postby Ariadne » Wed August 27th, 2008, 8:01 pm

Has anyone here read her novels? If so, what did you think? I know she takes a modern approach to historical fiction and uses contemporary slang in dialogue (and has said she doesn't write historical fiction).

The other day I looked up her latest, The Queen's Sorrow, on Amazon UK and saw mostly one-star reviews, which were consistent in giving the reasons the readers didn't like the book. It won't be out in the US until early '09. I don't know how keen I am to read more Tudor-era novels, but it makes me very curious. One of those authors whose works you either love or hate?

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Perdita
Reader
Location: London
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Postby Perdita » Sat August 30th, 2008, 8:14 pm

I find her style too dry and clinical. She does use very modern language for HF which is OK in itself but for some reason I can't warm to her writing at all.

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Juniper
Scribbler
Interest in HF: I studied English Literature and History at college. Historical fiction blends my two passions together in one neat package.
Location: Missouri, USA
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Postby Juniper » Wed September 3rd, 2008, 4:24 am

I don't find it easy to connect to her characters, as they don't have much depth to them. I didn't think that her use of more contemporary language would bother me, but it did. Having read so much HF it threw me off balance, and not in a good way.

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Vanessa
Bibliomaniac
Currently reading: The Road To Newgate by Kate Braithwaite & Darling Blue by Tracy Rees (Pigeonhole)
Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
Favorite HF book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell!
Preferred HF: Any
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

Postby Vanessa » Wed September 3rd, 2008, 9:26 am

I've read The Sixth Wife. I received as a proof copy from Harper Collins quite a while ago now. I enjoyed it - it was written in quite a contemporary way but it didn't bother me. I have The Queen's Sorrow on my TBR pile, too, as well as the Queen of Subleties.
Last edited by Vanessa on Wed September 3rd, 2008, 9:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
currently reading: My Books on Goodreads

Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you ~ The Shadow of the Wind

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Amanda
Compulsive Reader
Location: Sydney, Australia

Postby Amanda » Mon December 1st, 2008, 11:37 pm

I just finished "The Queen's Sorrow". I didn't think it was too bad. I prefered it to "The Sixth Wife", where I didn't like how she portrayed Cathy, who was a real historical figure. Here in "The Queen's Sorrow" her main character is a fictional character.

Though it is curious, as the cover and the blurb on the back of the book make you think that the story is about Queen Mary I. In fact, it is more about the England and London of her time. She makes very few appearances in the book. Maybe the marketing of this book has run of the rails a bit? Its a bit of a puzzle.

As one of the Amazon reviews said "who wants to read about a Spanish sundial maker?" Well, its not quite like that either! I suppose if you have read anything about Mary's marriage to Phillip, and the arrival of the Spanish entourage, you are aware of the Londoner's animosity to the "foreigners". This story shows the difficulties from the Spanish side. Here they arrive in England, only to find that they are needed, as the English have set up Philips household. There isn't enough room in the palace, so people are billeted out. And were do they take their meals? And the meals are so different to Spain! And they aren't able to just turn and go home to Spain either, so money dwiddles, clothes need replacing or repairing, and lots of day to day things. But when they can't speak English, and the English are wary of them at best, life is a bit difficult. The English are waiting, waiting, waiting to see how the future will play out for them. Will Mary have an heir, a Catholic heir? Or will her sister be next on the throne and allow them to revert to the Church of England?

All in all it wasn't a bad book really. Just not what was expected!

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Ariadne
Bibliophile
Location: At the foothills of Mt. Level

Postby Ariadne » Tue December 2nd, 2008, 12:06 am

Thanks for reporting on it, Amanda! It sounds like a unique take on the period, and I'll add it to my wishlist. Another case of deceptive marketing, sounds like.

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Amanda
Compulsive Reader
Location: Sydney, Australia

Postby Amanda » Tue December 2nd, 2008, 3:30 am

I wonder how much say the author would have had in how her book was marketed? I mean, she had already written two books about the same time period with the central characters being two true historical figures. Maybe the publisher thought a similar approach would be more attractive to readers.

I know from reading some of our author members posts, that things like covers and marketing are often out of the hands of the author.

In this case, the combination of the cover and the back cover blurb, really steer you down the wrong track of what to expect.

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Helen_Davis
Compulsive Reader

Postby Helen_Davis » Tue December 2nd, 2008, 3:33 am

I would have preferred a book on Mary :mad:

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Veronica
Avid Reader
Location: NT, Australia

Postby Veronica » Thu August 27th, 2009, 8:14 am

Just finished THe queens of subtleties. And as mentioned the language is very modern, it was ok but I think for you guys that are REALLY in to HF this would not be to your liking. I said it wasn't the best, especially not when she used the words "**** off" three times... I would guess that wouldn't had been said back in the days?
Also we follow Anne Boleyn and Lucy Cornwallis, two stories that does not involve each other the slightest. It dosen't even seem to match up in the time frame, while Lucy is telling the story one preson is dead but when reading about Anne's story the person is still alive.
Not a crap book but I would not recommend it to anyone really. Got Dunn's other books, lets see if they might be any better...
[SIZE="3"]"Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted"[/SIZE]

Carla
Compulsive Reader
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Postby Carla » Thu August 27th, 2009, 10:41 am

I've read and reviewed The Sixth Wife. (Can't remember if I posted the review here; I'll check, and post it in the Reviews section if I didn't). I'd rate it so-so. It felt rather "flat", and I didn't particularly get a sense for the characters as people, if that makes any sense.

I'd agree with the author that she "doesn't write historical fiction". That's not because of the aggressively modern writing style, which I could take or leave, it's because I felt the story could have been happening at any time and in any place. It struck me as a fictional love triangle with some historical names hung on it.
PATHS OF EXILE - love, war, honour and betrayal in Anglo-Saxon Northumbria
Editor's Choice, Historical Novels Review, August 2009
Now available as e-book on Amazon Kindleand in Kindle, Epub (Nook, Sony Reader), Palm and other formats on Smashwords
Website: http://www.carlanayland.org
Blog: http://carlanayland.blogspot.com


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