"EC2" wrote:Great review Daphne - loved it! You got the of recent books 'dumbed down' impression too. I thought it was perhaps just me. This will probably go on my long term TBR. It does raise challenges for an author who wants to tell stories from history, when some of the protagonists are unappealing. Do you not tell their story at the outset and leave them forever in the dust, concentrating only on the shiny ones. Do you warp history and make the unappealing ones shiny, or do you let the historians tell the tale (assuming the can get a contract)? What makes you want to write about them in the first place? Do you have the skill to bring them to life, and even if you do, are the readers going to adversely comment because they don't like the character?
Thanks! As for dealing with an unappealing protagonist, I think it is a credit to Gregory's writing that I enjoyed the story despite disliking Margaret so much. Part of it may be due to the way she characterized Stafford and Stanley which sort of balanced out Margaret. And even though there were things Margaret did that contributed to my dislike of her, when you understand her motiviation, as a mother, you kind of see where she is coming from. That doesn't make it "right" by any means, but it did make me empathize with her on some level. Who really knows how far one would be willing to go for their child - you may not know until you are faced with the decision. I found some fascination in Margaret's thought process and slight hesitation at a critical decision that had she decided differently, would have changed everything.
Maybe her "unlikeablility" is why there are so few books on her. I really hope authors do take on the unlikeable ones and show them as they were but the story has to be good and well written. In contrast, the latest by Kate Emerson (Between Two Queens
) had an unlikeable main character and the story was boring on top of it. The first I can overlook, but not the second.