Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Source of Much Reluctance

As authors go, I'm a little (read: A LOT) in love with Alison Weir. She writes these positively fantastic history books about the royalty of medieval-early Rennaissance England. My favorites are about the Tudors, of course. I read and re-read them, and I am going to have to replace my copy of The Six Wives of Henry VIII after one or two more re-readings. I don't know whether it's that the local bookstores don't stock her or they just aren't putting her where I can see her, but I haven't seen a new book from her since I started college, and that's not because she hasn't been writing them. So, imagine my excitement when I saw one of her books prominently displayed at the local Books-a-Million!

The colorful array of Phillippa Gregory books surrounding it should have warned me.

The Innocent Traitor is not one of the deliciously detailed history books she is so well loved for; it's her debut novel.

I felt betrayed, but I cracked it open and gave it a try. The couple of pages I read were as disappointing as I feared. The femininist viewpoint is heavy-handed, as are the introspection and dialogue. She still tries to sneak in little history details like what a certain coat-of-arms looked like. For example, the dialogue sounds more like a conversation you would imagine playing out in your own head than one you would hear in real life, and she tries to maintain the tone of Tudor English, which can't quite happen well in a modern book since it is not native to the writer, and the cadence would flow entirely differently due to the Great Vowel Shift. So far, I don't think it's working for her, but maybe she'll be eventually on to something.

Still, her actual history books still beat the pants off of Phillippa Gregory's sighing and forcedly-lush fiction.

1 comment:

RG said...

A friend of mine is very into Phillpa Gregory and Jean Plaidy historical novels. I haven't really gotten into them because, well, PC. And other things, but mostly PC. But maybe I will give Alison Weir (I typed "Weird" at first by mistake...I bet that's NEVER happened to her before!) a mistake when I wrest some time back from the 2nd Floor.