Philippa Gregory’s ‘A Respectable Trade’

A Respectable Trade is, IMHO, Philippa Gregory’s most confrontational book. I wouldn’t say her best-written book, but definitely her most uncomfortably thought-provoking, even beating out the incest-and-rape storyline of Wideacre’s sequel, The Favoured Child. I’ll given Gregory credit where credit is due; for her failings as a writer, she has always had a knack for […]

Brandy Purdy – The Boleyn Wife

Brandy Purdy, author of The Boleyn Wife, has a rather appropriate first name; after a hundred pages of her take on history, I wondered if she had consumed a hell of a lot of it while writing the book.  After a hundred and fifty I wanted some. It’s not so much historical fiction but fiction […]

Jodi Picoult – Handle With Care

Ah, the time I have wasted reading Jodi Picoult in the hope of finding a novel that rivaled her Nineteen Minutes. Most of them are just plain boring, but some are downright offensive to several groups, like Salem Falls and My Sister’s Keeper. Her second most recent novel, Handle With Care, falls into this category. […]

Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper

Note: this critique is of the book My Sister’s Keeper, although I refer to the movie. The movie mostly follows the book until the final court scene, whereupon it goes off in two different directions. Discussion on both book and movie are welcome. Spoilers beware. (IMHO, it’s not worth reading, anyway.) Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s […]

Philippa Gregory’s The Boleyn Inheritance

For me, Philippa Gregory is one of those writers who can write in appalling, narrow stereotypes (for example, Beatrice Lacey) while also fleshing out and vindicating women who have been vilified by history (Queen Mary). The Boleyn Inheritance is the immediate sequel to The Other Boleyn Girl, and third chronologically in her series of six […]

Philippa Gregory’s ‘The Queen’s Fool’

The Queen’s Fool is, IMHO, the best of Philippa Gregory’s six Tudor novels. It follows the story of Hannah, a Jewish girl in the reign of King Edward V, Queen Mary and the dawn of Queen Elizabeth’s era. What’s noteworthy about it is that it’s one of the few narratives that portrays Mary in a […]

Alison Weir – Innocent Traitor

Alison Weir’s Innocent Traitor tells the story of Lady Jane Grey, who may or may not have been the first Queen Regent of England, depending on which historian you cite. What’s interesting about it is that Weir has chosen to tell the story from a dozen different perspectives, only one of whom is a man. […]