Welcome to the Historical Fiction Online forums: a friendly place to discuss, review and discover historical fiction.
If this is your first visit, please be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above.
You will have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed.
To start viewing posts, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

What Are You Reading? August 2013

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.
User avatar
emr
Compulsive Reader
Posts: 840
Joined: January 2009
Location: Castilla

Post by emr » Mon August 19th, 2013, 10:31 am

started reading Court of the Lion by Eleanor Cooney, my hardcover edition +900 pages truckstopper size, no comment on the font size :p so I've got the kindle edition to go on reading...Very good so far.
"So many books, so little time."
— Frank Zappa

User avatar
sweetpotatoboy
Bibliophile
Posts: 1641
Joined: August 2008
Location: London, UK

Post by sweetpotatoboy » Mon August 19th, 2013, 10:43 am

I just finished "Habits of the House" by Fay Weldon, volume 1 in a new Downton-esque trilogy. Truth told, the book is an embarrassment; the publisher should be ashamed.

And, yes, I'm blaming the publisher more than the author because -- with a bit (all right, quite a bit) of work, not least a vaguely decent copy editor willing to avoid every single page being littered with grammatical, punctuation and continuity errors as well as pure nonsense - it could have been rescued into a forgettable but passable piece of light entertainment.

I've just started "The English Monster" by Lloyd Shepherd. Hopes are higher.

User avatar
Vanessa
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 4226
Joined: August 2008
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 19th, 2013, 12:45 pm

Eeek, I have Habits of the House on my Kindle! However, I don't think I paid very much for it. Perhaps it's one for the beach!

I've just started Bellman and Black by Diane Setterfield. I didn't realise it was a ghost story.
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

User avatar
Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 9581
Joined: August 2008
Location: Seattle, WA

Post by Misfit » Mon August 19th, 2013, 2:25 pm

[quote=""sweetpotatoboy""]I just finished "Habits of the House" by Fay Weldon, volume 1 in a new Downton-esque trilogy. Truth told, the book is an embarrassment; the publisher should be ashamed.

And, yes, I'm blaming the publisher more than the author because -- with a bit (all right, quite a bit) of work, not least a vaguely decent copy editor willing to avoid every single page being littered with grammatical, punctuation and continuity errors as well as pure nonsense - it could have been rescued into a forgettable but passable piece of light entertainment.

I've just started "The English Monster" by Lloyd Shepherd. Hopes are higher.[/quote]

I was pretty underwhelmed with it, it really felt like the publisher wanted to get on the DA wagon and hired an author to slap something out, something they could maybe sell for television as well.

I'm back to reading Once More, Miranda by Jennifer Wilde. Georgian era with a bit of an Eliza Doolittle twist.
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

User avatar
sweetpotatoboy
Bibliophile
Posts: 1641
Joined: August 2008
Location: London, UK

Post by sweetpotatoboy » Mon August 19th, 2013, 3:02 pm

[quote=""Misfit""]I was pretty underwhelmed with it, it really felt like the publisher wanted to get on the DA wagon and hired an author to slap something out, something they could maybe sell for television as well. [/quote]

I have no problem with the whole "jumping on the Downton Abbey bandwagon" objective per se. It seems a fairly sensible commercial notion and there are a hell of a lot of novels being published at the moment that have clearly been commissioned with that aim in mind and marketed none-too-subtly to attract that market.

And to be honest, that's why I picked up this book from the library. I thought it would be an entertaining read. And by a reputable author to boot.

It's just the execution I had a (major) problem with.

My earlier comments may have focused on 'surface' errors that a copy editor should have fixed. (Indeed, I very much had the impression that I was reading the first un-edited draft sent to the publisher rather than something intended for publication. Were all the editors on holiday that month? Or does Weldon carry such clout that she was able to insist no-one needed to touch her work? I'm more-than-half inclined to email the publisher to complain - for the first time in my life. And this was the paperback - there was time after the hardback to correct basic errors.)

However, the book has fundamental issues as well: a complete absence of dramatic tension, no character development, no real lead characters the reader can identify with, implausible conversations and character interactions, inconsistent 'voice' and so on.

Most of the customer reviews seem fairly favourable, but if you have a look, there are quite a few negative reviews that echo my thoughts, which is a relief to hear.

But, you know the funny thing? I know my library has the second book on the shelves and I'm very likely to read that one too!! Partly because I want to see if it's as shoddy as the first one, but also because part of me wants to know what happens next!!

Vanessa: don't let me (completely) put you off reading it. I'd be interested to know your reaction, though I'm sorry if I've prejudiced your response to it already....

JenniferLovesRoxi
Scribbler
Posts: 30
Joined: May 2013

Post by JenniferLovesRoxi » Mon August 19th, 2013, 4:50 pm

I gave up on The Cross and the Dragon last night. It was pretty awful. Very simplistic writing, poor character developments, with a main character who has already secured a marriage with the man she wants to marry but still keeps thinking to herself that she needs to get pregnant by him before they are even betrothed to ensure that she isn't married off to a man she hates. I gave up at about 100 pages in.

This morning I started Selene of Alexandria by Faith L. Justice. I've only read the first two chapters, but I am enjoying it very much so far!

annis
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 4585
Joined: August 2008

Post by annis » Mon August 19th, 2013, 5:10 pm

Posted by JenniferLovesRoxi
I gave up on The Cross and the Dragon last night. It was pretty awful
I'm with you on that one! Like you I was looking for novels set in Carolingian times and this one sounded interesting with its Ring Cycle twist, but it turned out to be a shocker and was soon abandoned in disgust. Sometimes you look at those great reviews and just shake your head, wondering if you're actually reading the same book :(

Paths of Exile is brilliant and hope we get to read more of Eadwine's adventures soon - no pressure, Carla :)
Last edited by annis on Mon August 19th, 2013, 5:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
EC2
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 3661
Joined: August 2008
Location: Nottingham UK
Contact:

Post by EC2 » Mon August 19th, 2013, 7:50 pm

Justin, I am stunned. Faye Weldon is the sort of author respected by the establishment and Radio 4. Sounds as if she needs to take a holiday or has gone past her sell by date! So does her copy editor. I should complain.

I've been holding off reading The Cross and the Dragon, mainly because it's been being pushed at me on a Facebook forum for what seems like forever. I won't bother now!

Me, I am reading and enjoying Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brookes. 101 pages into the paperback now, and quite absorbed.
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal

www.elizabethchadwick.com

User avatar
princess garnet
Bibliophile
Posts: 1569
Joined: August 2008
Location: Maryland

Post by princess garnet » Mon August 19th, 2013, 8:56 pm

Las Vegas: The Fabulous First Century by Thomas Ainlay, Jr. and Judy D. Gabaldon (NF)
As title states, a local history about the famed city. Before the casinos, Las Vegas was a ranch/watering hole then a stopping point on the railroad. It was quite a different place before gaming!
Last edited by princess garnet on Mon August 19th, 2013, 9:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 3562
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) » Tue August 20th, 2013, 12:14 am

I was enjoying the first chapter of Moloka'i, when along comes my kindle and tells me that The Ghost Bride has just come out. It's YA HF with an unusual setting -- 1890's Malaysia, an expatriate Chinese community, and an unusual twist: it is custom for a wealthy family whose son dies young to 'marry' his ghost to some girl, who will then live in the parent's house as a widow.

Sounds creepy to start with, but there's a paranormal aspect that makes it even creepier! :D
So I ordered a sample, and when I got to the end of it, I pushed the 'buy' button.

Disclaimer: I know the author.
Double recommendation: besides being a great storyteller, Yangsze Choo is a really nice person.
Last edited by MLE (Emily Cotton) on Tue August 20th, 2013, 12:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

Post Reply

Return to “General Discussion”