February 3rd, 2011

Book Smooch

#6 for 2011

6 / 50 books. 12% done!

#6 was All the Queen's Players by Jane Feather

From Amazon.com: Rosamund Walsingham is from a lesser branch of the Walsingham family, with no real fortune or prospects until she catches the eye of her influential cousin, Francis Walsingham, Queen Elizabeth's spymaster and secretary of state. He sends the beautiful young woman to court to act as his eyes and ears, a task she performs well until she gets involved in an ill-advised liaison with fellow courtier, William Creighton, who has similarly dim prospects. Disgraced, Rosamund is sent to spy on Elizabeth's sister, the imprisoned Catholic queen Mary, but soon discovers that the cost of these political games is greater than she could have anticipated. Accomplished romance author Feather (A Husband's Wicked Ways) delivers another reliably steady historical, but sidesteps the most provocative opportunities of her Elizabethan court setting in favor of a fairly tame tale. Rosamund is too typical a heroine, while Feather's most interesting characters-the historical figures of Francis and Christopher Marlowe-are relegated to sideline roles. Fans of historical romances should probably skip this in favor of a Tudor tale with more heat.

My thoughts: Kind of a fun romp, but not all it could have been. I would have liked to see Feather explore the relationship between Thomas Walsingham and Kit Marlowe more. Though I am not sure that they way she paints their sexual and romantic relationship is true to period. Yes, historians have posited that homosexuality was fairly common in Elizabethan times, but I doubt that the two men would have been as open as Feather paints them (though they are not "out" in the modern sense in any way.) This reads much more like, as Amazon says, a fairy tale. This may be because Rosamund herself is a fictional character, and Feather can build whatever ending she wants for her. It's a fun book, pure candy -- more so than even the Secrets of the Tudor Court series I am currently finishing -- and would make for some fairly mindless reading on a cold winter night.  
El Corazon

17. Jack the Ripper: The Facts; 18. The Second Part of King Henry the Sixth

Jack the Ripper: The Facts
by Paul Begg

Started: January 28, 2011
Finished: February 3, 2011

This is the best book I've ever read on Jack the Ripper because it does just what it says it's going to do its title--sticks to the facts. Begg doesn't try to figure out who Jack the Ripper is in this book. He just presents pretty much all the known facts about the murders and the main suspects and backs them up with as many footnotes as possible. He's also a pretty good writer so this book is not a dry read at all. 418 pages. Grade: A-
The Second Part of King Henry the Sixth
by William Shakespeare

Started: January 12, 2011
Finished: February 3, 2011

I guess this was OK if you just view at as an action movie. I just don't know enough or care enough about the history behind the story being told here. 31 pages. Grade: C
Total # of books read in 2011: 18
Total # of pages read in 2011: 4,576