I have previously really enjoyed 'The Uncrowned Queen' and 'The King's Concubine' so I was looking forward to this one. Unfortunately I was rather disappointed. Anne O'Brien says in the afterword, that there is very little information about Queen Katherine Valois, wife of Henry V and mother of Henry VI as well as grandmother of Henry VII, and that the general impression is of a rather dim and uneducated if beautiful woman. I did not feel that that impression was in the least dispelled. Very little attempt is made to describe Katherine's daily life. What was she doing all those days in her little court? Did it really take her several years to ask why her Welsh husband was forbidden to wear a sword? And when her husband would not answer, she had to call Warwick!? Surely any lady of her court could have told her, or were they all dumb blondes as well? Her relationship with Owen Tudor looks like a wistful fanfic. The girl does her damnedest to repel him, but he understands why she behaves the way she does and does not take offense and everything works out. Sure, I guess it happens occasionally.
When she decides to put things right nothing can stop her, so she travels to face the Council then and there. At the danger of giving birth right in the Council Chamber. But luckily her waters broke outside in the street.
Which again goes to prove that she is far from an idiot. Right?
So there. Can't say I am impressed.
#54 Orlando Figes: Natasha's Dance
A book on Russian culture, starting from the times of Peter the Great and going until Khrutschev. I have found it very interesting and full of interesting insights. It kind of crystallises the idea though that all the Russian writers were mainly using literature to battle their own demons. Lots of demons. Having read pretty much everything mentioned in the book during my school years, I feel justified in saying that I really don't want to reread any of that with the exception of Pushkin.
The second part, post-Revolutionary was rather one-sided and seemed to indicate that all the good writers and musicians and artists either emigrated or were murdered by Stalin. I am not sure I agree with that. And at least people were reading books then.
#55 Neil Gaiman: The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Other people have reviewed this before me. I have really enjoyed it. A deceptively simple story, simply told.
#56 Phil Rickman: Crown of Lights
Another one from the series of supernatural thrillers about Merrily Watkings. I am afraid, I am becoming hooked.