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Worst HF you've ever read

For discussions of historical fiction. Threads that do not relate to historical fiction should be started in the Chat forum or elsewhere on the forum, depending on the topic.
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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Mon November 16th, 2009, 2:14 am

[quote=""diamondlil""]Image Gaveston by Chris Hunt

I licked my lips. "Unpeel, O blessed one."

The book flew right after that quote :o :D [/quote]

I had just about forgotten about the peeling. Now you have reminded me! Thanks...not.[/QUOTE]

Yeah, but your comment just made me laugh my arse off :eek: :D
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Jemidar
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Post by Jemidar » Sat February 13th, 2010, 11:49 am

Love this thread :D .

[quote=""Telynor""]Margaret George's novel about Mary Magdalene and the one about Helen of Troy
The Crimson Petal and the White by Michael Faber (I know, people love it, but I hated it...) [/quote]

Helen of Troy was DNF for me. I nearly got there...but didn't quite make it. Like others have said I found both Helen and Paris hard to care about and wasn't convinced they were worth the war and the heartache.

I bought The Crimson Petal and The White because it came so highly recommended, but it has sat gathering dust on my bookshelf for years now because I'm not really into Victorian stuff, especially bleak Victorian stuff. (Is there any other type? :p ) Think I may well just donate it to Vinnies and be done with it!

[quote=""EC2""]...and I much preferred The Name of the Rose the film, but couldn't get on with the book. [/quote]

[quote=""Leo62""]I'm with you on the Name of the Rose - film was great, didn't make much headway with the book... ...though I really enjoyed Foucaults Pendulum. [/quote]

I loved both the movie and the book, although admittedly the movie is much more accessible and the book had me wishing I'd paid much more attention in my high school Latin classes :p . The one thing that did annoy me about the movie though, was s that it was never poperly explained why it was so important that he know the name of the girl he...ahem...meets in the kitchen, which is a big issue in the book and where the title comes from.

I haven't liked any of Umburto Ecco's other books nearly as much as TNotR, but the opening scene in Foucault's Pendulum had me riveted by the clarity of the description.


[quote=""Chatterbox""]Carolly Erickson's fiction -- if she wants to be really inventive, why not just invent characters? Why create entirely new lives for people whose real lives were well known and documented?

Suzannah Dunn's books -- the height of improbability. At least the Sixth Wife was a fun read; the other two are tedious, to boot.[/quote]

[quote=""boswellbaxter""]I'm still shaking my head over her having Katherine Parr give birth during a siege of her home.[/quote]

I just recently finished Erikson's The Last Wife of Henry Vlll and had pretty much the same reaction. Some of her subject matter is so well documented that I couldn't believe the liberties she took! And yes, the birth scene in the castle tower during the siege ended the book on a somewhat :eek: note for me!

I also disliked Dunn's The Sixth Wife because of all the improbabilities! For me it was what I call a "costume drama" (where everyone is in period dress but espousing modern language, morals and ideas) and it could just as easily been set in a current soap. I think it was in her Author's Note (or was it in the author questions right at the back?) that Dunn admitted she didn't actually like her main character, and by the end of the novel I had to agree with her. Her Katherine Willoughby/Brandon was truly awful.

Jenny

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Margaret
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Post by Margaret » Sat February 13th, 2010, 8:44 pm

The Crimson Petal and the White is not all that bleak, actually, although the opening qualifies. The heroine is very smart and determined and, although she has a tough row to hoe, she is ultimately the mistress of her own destiny. You might want to give it another whirl before you donate it.
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Post by khalleron » Sat February 13th, 2010, 11:20 pm

The Pillars of the Earth was highly recommended to me by an old acquaintance I recently reconnected with at a friend's wedding.

She also recommended March by Geraldine Brooks, and oh dear, it would have been thrown against the wall except it was an ebook.

OK, I wasn't happy that she made the spiritual center of Little Women a screaming termagant, or that she made the father a faithless hypocrite, but for Pete's sake, did she have to make him so stupid?

I can roll with it if someone's conception of a character is different from mine, but stupid characters I simply cannot abide.

Not even mentioning the historical errors.

After what I've read here about Pillars of the Earth, I don't think I'm going to be taking any more book recommendations from this friend, either.
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Jemidar
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Post by Jemidar » Sun February 14th, 2010, 7:00 am

[quote=""Margaret""]The Crimson Petal and the White is not all that bleak, actually, although the opening qualifies. The heroine is very smart and determined and, although she has a tough row to hoe, she is ultimately the mistress of her own destiny. You might want to give it another whirl before you donate it.[/quote]

In that case I will leave it on the shelf for a bit longer then. The real problem is that I always find something that I want to read more...but who knows, one day the mood might strike me.

Thanks Margaret :) .
Jenny

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Vanessa
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Post by Vanessa » Sun February 14th, 2010, 10:24 am

I loved The Crimson Petal and the White. Sugar was quite a woman! I found it very compelling and atmospheric reading.

I also loved Pillars of the Earth. It's more of an adventure story than historical fiction, I thought. Indiana Jones meets Robin Hood - a good title would've been Robin Hood and the Cathedral of Doom! :D
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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Sun February 14th, 2010, 1:53 pm

[quote=""Jemidar""]In that case I will leave it on the shelf for a bit longer then. The real problem is that I always find something that I want to read more...but who knows, one day the mood might strike me.

Thanks Margaret :) .
[/quote]

There really are times when a book when you can pick up a book at a different point in your life and end of loving it the second time around. Although I am fairly confident that is not going to happen with me and Pillars. No way, no how :D
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Ash
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Post by Ash » Sun February 14th, 2010, 2:55 pm

[quote=""khalleron""]The Pillars of the Earth was highly recommended to me by an old acquaintance I recently reconnected with at a friend's wedding.She also recommended March by Geraldine Brooks, and oh dear, it would have been thrown against the wall except it was an ebook.[/quote]

Hee, so much for her book recs. Little Women was a childhood favorite, a book I read so often that I went through two copies. So I was eager to read March, and like you, totally disgusted. I could not understand why she'd think that the character she wrote would have been so loved by Marmee and her girls. I understood that her characterization was based on Alcotts father, since she based Little Women on her and her sisters, but it just didn't fit (btw People of the Book is much better, at least till the final 20 pages or so)

And don't get me started on Pillars of the Earth. But I think you know that :)

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khalleron
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Post by khalleron » Sun February 14th, 2010, 3:59 pm

[quote=""Ash""]Hee, so much for her book recs. Little Women was a childhood favorite, a book I read so often that I went through two copies. So I was eager to read March, and like you, totally disgusted. I could not understand why she'd think that the character she wrote would have been so loved by Marmee and her girls. I understood that her characterization was based on Alcotts father, since she based Little Women on her and her sisters, but it just didn't fit (btw People of the Book is much better, at least till the final 20 pages or so)

And don't get me started on Pillars of the Earth. But I think you know that :) [/quote]

I had mentioned to this friend that I had just finished rereading Little Women, a book I've also adored since childhood, and still do. It has much depth, and I always find something undiscovered, no matter how many times I read it.

I'm a bit nonplussed by why Brooks wrote March in the first place - generally when one 'riffs' on another person's work, it's because one admires it, isn't it? Brooks seemed determined to destroy all that was lovely about LW. I didn't finish it, disgust is quite the right word, yes.

Can't understand why it won so many prizes either - it's very poorly researched and the characters are unlikeable. Unless when prize givers say 'literary' they mean 'dark and cynical.' That's the only explanation I can come up with.

Me, I can handle dark, but there has to be light somewhere, or what's the point?
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Ash
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Post by Ash » Sun February 14th, 2010, 6:30 pm

I still think she won the Pulizter because judges confused her title with The March by EL Doctorow, a much better (tho not perfect) book.

I do like her writing nonfiction. Her first book about finding the penpals of her youth was excellent, and Nine Part Desire is her at her best (she is a journalist by trade and it really shows well in this book). But she just doesn't get it in March. If she wanted to take a bio or HF of LM Alcott's father, do so, but don't mess up a favorite book.

That being said, some of my fav books have been stories that take a well known character or person, and turn the story inside out and upside down. Wolf Hall is one, several of Gregory Maguires books (esp Wicked) fit the bill. Shakespear took bits from earlier work to write Hamlet, Macbeth and others. But if an author is going to do this, it has to make sense to the readers.

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