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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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fljustice
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Post by fljustice » Sun August 7th, 2011, 3:40 pm

Just starting the book today (had an ARC to finish) and looking forward to the discussion!
Faith L. Justice, Author Website
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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
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

Post by Vanessa » Mon August 15th, 2011, 8:13 am

I think I'm in the minority, but I really enjoyed this book! A couple of little odd things like the Duchess of York jumping out from behind a bush naked in the French countryside, I wasn't too sure about. What if someone was walking past????? LOL.

The Joan of Arc parts didn't bother me at all - it was the the author's interpretation/imagination at work. And the Woodville witch thing doesn't bother me either. I think these sort of 'embellishments' are added for entertainment.

I thought Cecily came over very well and as quite a strong person, stronger than her husband, Richard. Like Brenna, I would've liked to have read about Cecily's life after Richard's death but agree it would've made the book a lot longer - and it's quite a long one to start with! I quite liked the daughter, Margaret (Meg), and would like to read a little more about her, too.

I thought it was nicely written - it was put together well - and an easy read. It's the first book I've read by this author and look forward to reading more.
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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fljustice
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Post by fljustice » Mon August 15th, 2011, 3:05 pm

On page 123 and I'm bored. Smith obviously did her homework on historical details: clothing, food, housing, transportation, etc. I like her historical grace notes, but that does not a story make. Two teens in love can be dynamic and compelling (Romeo and Juliet?), but this isn't. This part should have been left out. Also, I've never been a fan of the omniscient POV. Popping in and out of everyone's head feels shallow. I'd rather read a first person or very close third person, which tends to deliver more emotional impact.

I'll start skimming and see if it picks up.
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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favourite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Mon August 15th, 2011, 5:01 pm

[quote=""fljustice""]On page 123 and I'm bored. Smith obviously did her homework on historical details: clothing, food, housing, transportation, etc. I like her historical grace notes, but that does not a story make. Two teens in love can be dynamic and compelling (Romeo and Juliet?), but this isn't. This part should have been left out. Also, I've never been a fan of the omniscient POV. Popping in and out of everyone's head feels shallow. I'd rather read a first person or very close third person, which tends to deliver more emotional impact.

I'll start skimming and see if it picks up.[/quote]

You put my feelings into words exactly, Faith. There's nothing obviously wrong, but I have so many things to read, and the only reason I can find to read this is to hear the reactions of other readers and learn therefrom. Which works best if I get through the thing. I do hope it picks up. I think if I had been younger and perhaps less jaded by so many similar romances, (not to mention living through my own and friends, siblings, and children's romances) the teenage romance would have held my attention better.

Also the period detail is nicely done, but since nothing is new to me and none of the detail really has to do with the story -- or rather, the story seems to exist at that point for no other purpose than to showcase period details -- I'm feeling really critical about every contrived sentence. The thing sits on the nightstand, and yet last night I chose a dusty, boring tome entitled France, the Renaissance Century instead of chewing through the next 100 pages of Queen by Right.

As I writer, I can feel myself in the author's shoes; but even so, I won't be reading any more of her books for my personal entertainment. I feel a little guilty about that--I must be the reader from hell, the most impossible to please. Lots of books that everybody else seems to like don't go over well with me. And yet the big best-sellers that everybody scorns--like Twilight--at least held my attention.

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Brenna
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Post by Brenna » Mon August 15th, 2011, 5:45 pm

Keep going because I do think it picks up. I think of it as a nice, easy read that doesn't neccessarily have you holding your breath in anticipation but leaves you with a feeling that you just made a new friend. Hope that makes sense.

I personally had a hard time with AES's Cecily compared to the little you get to know her in Sunne, but her anguish and dismay at the obstacles her husband continues to put in his own way I think it relatable.
Brenna

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MLE (Emily Cotton)
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Posts: 3564
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favourite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Post by MLE (Emily Cotton) » Thu August 18th, 2011, 2:40 am

I really did try -- after all, the book was a freebie--but at page 196 I finally gave up. It isn't just the slow, low-tension plot--there is something parochial about the writing style. It feels forced, every scene an educational set-piece for a rather dull student. Like Jean Plaidy at her worst.

Of course, Jean Plaidy was a huge success, so I'm sure this book can find the readers it is perfect for. But I'm not one of them, so better to move on.

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fljustice
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Post by fljustice » Tue August 23rd, 2011, 5:43 pm

[quote=""MLE""]I really did try -- after all, the book was a freebie--but at page 196 I finally gave up. It isn't just the slow, low-tension plot--there is something parochial about the writing style. It feels forced, every scene an educational set-piece for a rather dull student. Like Jean Plaidy at her worst.

Of course, Jean Plaidy was a huge success, so I'm sure this book can find the readers it is perfect for. But I'm not one of them, so better to move on.[/quote]

I made it to pg 270 by reading a couple chapters each night before I went to sleep (this is not a book that keeps me awake!) But have to agree with MLE, the plot plods and the writing doesn't elevate it. There seems to be a lot going on politically, but we're stuck in Cecily's world and the author doesn't make it all that compelling. We only get echoes through "pillow talk." I read Thomas Costain's non-fiction series on the Plantagenets decades ago. I think I'll check out those again and see what I'm missing from this book.
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fljustice
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Post by fljustice » Sat August 27th, 2011, 10:08 pm

Had a really bad bout of insomnia Thursday night and thought reading this book might help put me to sleep. Of course, the story finally picked up and I finished it. It's just too bad that it took so long to catch me. I didn't mind the Jeanne d'Arc stuff; thought it added to the story and Cecily's devotion to her and the Virgin Mary worked. I think if Smith started much later in the history (<spoiler>skipped the teen and dead baby years</spoiler>) and carried through the trials of her children, it would have been a much more interesting story.
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