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August 2011 BOTM: Queen by Right by Anne Easter Smith

A monthly discussion on varying themes guided by our members. (Book of the Month discussions through December 2011 can be found in this section too.)
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Jemidar
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Post by Jemidar » Thu August 4th, 2011, 6:21 pm

I'm reading this but it's not grabbing me. Way to many modern sensibilities for my liking, plus the same old cardboard stereotypes, York=good Lancaster=bad. If only the politics of the time were that simple! Maybe I to am suffering from reading too many sugary Yorkist novels set in this time period.

I agree that they lived in a superstitious time so accusations of witchcraft etc were a way of explaining the unknown, so a much more normal reaction for them than us. It doesn't mean I believe Jaquetta was a witch though. I also don't think that a pious English woman would have venerated Joan of Arc, one because she was French and England was at war with the French, but also because I was under the impression that the English burnt her as a heretic.

I've also noticed lots of little errors (lazy research?) that are annoying me, and unlike Brenna I'm finding Cecily a little on the painful side as she's shaping up as a real Mary Sue. But I'm only at Chapter 4 (page 49) so that may change as I get more into it--fingers crossed.
Jenny

"Well-behaved women rarely make history."
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

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Brenna
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Post by Brenna » Thu August 4th, 2011, 6:36 pm

I have to admit, I've been taken aback by the whole Joan of Arc storyline. While I don't think it is outside the realm of possibility for someone, especially a true religious person to find sympathy for Joan, I doubt the undercover meeting and the spiritual "meetings" that have taken place since. A little far fetched for me.

Jemidar-she gets better, but she certainly isn't the strong character portrayed in Sunne (and I'm over 300 pages in). Again, this focuses more on the romance than digging too deep into the politics of the time. Richard of York continues to be prohibited from council meetings but there is no real explanation of why. This story may have been stronger if different POV's were used.

Wouldn't be great if some philanthropist were to take their money and run genetic testing on any skeleton's we have left to discover if the "princes in the tower" are the bodies found long ago, is Henrgy VI really Edward's father? These answers could be answered easily enough I would imagine given everything they are able to discover in Egypt and other ancient dynasties.

I'm taking this book for what it is, a nice, easy read about a very difficult time period. I was hoping for more "facts" rather than conjecture, but it was a free book, so how cranky can I really get?
Brenna

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Susan
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Post by Susan » Thu August 4th, 2011, 7:19 pm

[quote=""Brenna""] Wouldn't be great if some philanthropist were to take their money and run genetic testing on any skeleton's we have left to discover if the "princes in the tower" are the bodies found long ago, is Henry VI really Edward's father? These answers could be answered easily enough I would imagine given everything they are able to discover in Egypt and other ancient dynasties. [/quote]

The testing wouldn't need a philanthropist, but it would need the Sovereign's permission. Westminster Abbey is a Royal Peculiar and therefore the
permission of the Sovereign must be obtained.

Here's an article about the remains currently in an urn in the Abbey.
http://www.richardiii.net/r3_controv_princes.htm
~Susan~
~Unofficial Royalty~
Royal news updated daily, information and discussion about royalty past and present
http://www.unofficialroyalty.com/

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Alisha Marie Klapheke
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Post by Alisha Marie Klapheke » Fri August 5th, 2011, 3:39 am

You all are such interesting people. I just love you all. Anyway, I haven't started this book yet, but I will soon. I am interested to see if I like or hate it. I love Joan of Arc and I might be openminded to such silliness as Cicily looking up to her...hmmmm. We'll see. It's just for fun, right? Escape? A jumping off point for what you might want to research? This is fiction...
Last edited by Alisha Marie Klapheke on Fri August 5th, 2011, 3:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: typo

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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Fri August 5th, 2011, 12:53 pm

[quote=""Alisha Marie Klapheke""]You all are such interesting people. I just love you all. Anyway, I haven't started this book yet, but I will soon. I am interested to see if I like or hate it. I love Joan of Arc and I might be openminded to such silliness as Cicily looking up to her...hmmmm. We'll see. It's just for fun, right? Escape? A jumping off point for what you might want to research? This is fiction...[/quote]

For me, there are two sides to the fiction/historical equation. Some just want to be entertained by a good story and some prefer to read historical novels that stay as close to known history as possible (yes, we do understand it is fiction). Some authors like Carrolly Erickson (gawd those historical entertainments as she calls them), make it very clear they are writing is made up fluff, but there are other authors who go all over the net and blog land carrying on about their extensive research and historical accuracy.

I have seen readers carrying on about some of these more *fictional* versions of history and they take these books as fact.

Which is why we're bringing it up here - so other readers can be informed and make their own decision if the book is a fit for them or not.

And in the end, whether a book is fictional or stays close to known history it still must be well written and entertaining and everyone's tastes can differ as to what is entertaining. Mine do not lean towards Richard and Mary Sue's doing battle with the evil evil Lancasters. Just sayin'. ;) :) :o
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

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Brenna
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Post by Brenna » Fri August 5th, 2011, 5:22 pm

I finished this book last night and was a little disappointed that the book ended with Edward's 1st victory at Towton. I was hoping Cecily might finally come into her own after Richard's death and the story would pick up. I guess that would have required doubling the book size, but I might have been ok with that.

Like Misfit, I really enjoy books that are based more in the historical/factual sense rather than the historical/could have happened. This book definitely fits into the latter. I think there was way too much focus on the whole Joan of Arc storyline and the affect she supposedly had on Cecily. It was a bit much. However, the story made for an easy read so it was easy to get through.
Brenna

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Alisha Marie Klapheke
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Post by Alisha Marie Klapheke » Sat August 6th, 2011, 1:26 am

[quote=""Misfit""]For me, there are two sides to the fiction/historical equation. Some just want to be entertained by a good story and some prefer to read historical novels that stay as close to known history as possible (yes, we do understand it is fiction). Some authors like Carrolly Erickson (gawd those historical entertainments as she calls them), make it very clear they are writing is made up fluff, but there are other authors who go all over the net and blog land carrying on about their extensive research and historical accuracy.

I have seen readers carrying on about some of these more *fictional* versions of history and they take these books as fact.

Which is why we're bringing it up here - so other readers can be informed and make their own decision if the book is a fit for them or not.

And in the end, whether a book is fictional or stays close to known history it still must be well written and entertaining and everyone's tastes can differ as to what is entertaining. Mine do not lean towards Richard and Mary Sue's doing battle with the evil evil Lancasters. Just sayin'. ;) :) :o [/quote]

I agree completely. Authors must own up to what they write. If they write just for entertainment, they should say so. If they claim accuracy, they better bring it. Honesty--as in all things except s*x and exes--is the best policy.

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Vanessa
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Currently reading: The Farm at the Edge of the World by Sarah Vaughan
Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
Favourite HF book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell!
Preferred HF: Any
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Post by Vanessa » Sat August 6th, 2011, 2:26 pm

[quote=""Brenna""]Does anyone know which castle that is on the cover? It might be in the Author's Note, but I won't read that until the end. And the lovey dovey stuff as stopped now that I'm 200 pages in and wow, I feel horrible for Cecily! God really wasn't a big fan of the white rose for sure![/quote]

It's Raby Castle.

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

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Elizabeth
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Post by Elizabeth » Sat August 6th, 2011, 5:35 pm

[quote=""Misfit""]For me, there are two sides to the fiction/historical equation. Some just want to be entertained by a good story and some prefer to read historical novels that stay as close to known history as possible (yes, we do understand it is fiction)....[/quote]

I'd like to think that the one--an accurate historical setting--is not necessarily independent of the other--an entertaining story. Some of my favorite historical novels place fictional characters with a rip-roaring fictional plot against a well-researched and accurate historical background. Dorothy Dunnett is a prime example, as is James Clavell, Gary Jennings, Winston Graham (am on a Poldark re-reading adventure lately) and many others.
THE RED LILY CROWN: A Novel of Medici Florence.
THE FLOWER READER.
THE SECOND DUCHESS.

www.elizabethloupas.com

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Misfit
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Post by Misfit » Sat August 6th, 2011, 6:53 pm

[quote=""Elizabeth""]I'd like to think that the one--an accurate historical setting--is not necessarily independent of the other--an entertaining story. Some of my favorite historical novels place fictional characters with a rip-roaring fictional plot against a well-researched and accurate historical background. Dorothy Dunnett is a prime example, as is James Clavell, Gary Jennings, Winston Graham (am on a Poldark re-reading adventure lately) and many others.[/quote]

Yep, I loved Barbara Erskine's Child of the Phoenix despite being slight put off at first how she was changing history. Then I kicked back, remembered it was a story in a historical setting and not a historical novel, and enjoyed it a great deal.

My problem is though, is that most of these newer historical novels are not well written, nor are the entertaining IMHO. There are still some bright spots out there like you, BB, EC and Sharon of course ;)
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

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