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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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Miss Moppet
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Post by Miss Moppet » Sun February 14th, 2010, 8:36 pm

[quote=""Ash""]
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. [/quote]

I keep hearing about Wicked. I have to get hold of a copy.

Ash
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Post by Ash » Sun February 14th, 2010, 11:23 pm

Its quite amazing - I read it when it first came out, and my reading group at the time chose it. Not only was it an amazing read, but one of the best discussions of a book I've ever had. I would definitely read it before you watch the musical; it leaves way too much out, and changes the ending, which had both my sis and I aghast. So read the real version, and enjoy!
Last edited by Ash on Mon February 15th, 2010, 11:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Margaret
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Post by Margaret » Mon February 15th, 2010, 7:21 am

I enjoyed Wicked a lot, and I keep meaning to read some of Gregory Maguire's other novels.

I also liked March - but I did not read it with the expectation that it would be similar to Little Women at all. And of course, it's not. To me, it was an exceptional novel because it offers a unique take on the Civil War. March becomes a soldier because of his strong and admirable abolitionist beliefs, but his war experiences almost destroy him. So often, the Civil War is categorized as one of the "good wars" along with WWII, because it was fought to free people from slavery. But while the goal was praiseworthy, there may have been a better way to achieve it than a bloody war whose negative ramifications, it can be argued, are still with us. With March, I think Brooks was demonstrating the sad truth that people often go to war with very naive ideas about its nature and what can be achieved thereby. It's possible that Brooks was also suggesting that the happy ending of Little Women would, actually, have been quite bittersweet if the novel had looked a little farther beyond the time of Pa's immediate homecoming.
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Vanessa
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Post by Vanessa » Mon February 15th, 2010, 8:44 am

I loved Wicked and have the two follow ups on my TBR pile - Son of a Witch and A Lion Among Men. I would love to see the show but so far can't get anyone to go down to London to see it with me. Oh woe is me! :(
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Ash
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Post by Ash » Mon February 15th, 2010, 12:04 pm

To me, it was an exceptional novel because it offers a unique take on the Civil War

I'd agree with that; perhaps if she focused on that, and not tried to make a statement about LW, it would have worked. Tho Im not sure that was her fault; in reading about it when it first came out, it was instantly linked to LW, and so expectations were that his story would somehow fit the earlier one. So probably that was a problem with marketing; it was just too hard to see the character of Marmee's husband as just a soldier in the larger picture of the Civil War. Except that she does make reference to March being based on Alcott's father, so it would refer back to the original story.

Vanessa, fwiw, I didn't care for Son all that much, and didn't even attempt to read the other. Let me know what you think tho, I can be persuaded.

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Post by Chatterbox » Mon February 15th, 2010, 4:14 pm

Ash, I got the sense that in writing this she was really thinking of the whole Alcott menage and their circle, and what happens when that collides with war. Using March as the main character was a literary device that (alas) raised some expectations among LW fans which would never have been fulfilled -- this wasn't fan fiction but serious fiction about serious issues. To me, it's one of the best novels set in war that I know, and would certainly be in a top 10 list.

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khalleron
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Post by khalleron » Mon February 15th, 2010, 10:54 pm

[quote=""Margaret""]I also liked March - but I did not read it with the expectation that it would be similar to Little Women at all. And of course, it's not. To me, it was an exceptional novel because it offers a unique take on the Civil War. March becomes a soldier because of his strong and admirable abolitionist beliefs, but his war experiences almost destroy him. So often, the Civil War is categorized as one of the "good wars" along with WWII, because it was fought to free people from slavery. But while the goal was praiseworthy, there may have been a better way to achieve it than a bloody war whose negative ramifications, it can be argued, are still with us. With March, I think Brooks was demonstrating the sad truth that people often go to war with very naive ideas about its nature and what can be achieved thereby. It's possible that Brooks was also suggesting that the happy ending of Little Women would, actually, have been quite bittersweet if the novel had looked a little farther beyond the time of Pa's immediate homecoming.[/quote]

If that were the book I read, I would have loved it, too.

The book I read was about a very well-meaning but stupid man who goes to war and brings about a lot of death and destruction to those around him by being stupid.

Every foul thing March experiences was brought about by his own stupidity, from Grace's whipping in the beginning to the plantation massacre (after which I stopped reading, I admit).

Every few pages I found myself exclaiming, "What a pinhead!"

The book you describe would have been mighty interesting, I agree.
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Chatterbox
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Post by Chatterbox » Tue February 16th, 2010, 12:23 am

Khalleron, interesting points, but while I thought that made March an anti-hero or even non-hero, it also highlighted that we often have no clue what we're doing when we think we're doing "good"; that a lot of "doing good" addresses our own psychological needs vs the real needs of others. To me, that was part of the point of Geraldine's narrative; that we may feel righteous and be causing catastrophe and that whenever we are tempted to feel good and benevolent, we should stop and question our own reactions.

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March

Post by Erika Mailman » Thu February 18th, 2010, 5:12 am

I liked March, really liked People of the Book, and **ADORED** Year of Wonders.

I did wonder if March would have been every bit as effective if the main character hadn't been Mr. March from LW, and instead just another fictional man. I get that Brooks was inspired by Alcott's characters, but keeping them as Marches didn't add much since they were so different from the way they were depicted in LW.

And it was of course clever of her since so many of us who loved LW couldn't wait to read her book.
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Gabriele Campbell
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Post by Gabriele Campbell » Thu February 18th, 2010, 3:19 pm

[quote=""Misfit""]Oh I know it's funny. You guys should be glad the sex is so bad I don't even dare quote it.[/quote]

I made the mistake to read some LOTR slash fanfiction a few years ago. Belive me, there's nothing that can shock me now. :D

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