Just finished this series (do 2 books qualify as a series?), and I'm disappointed - not in the books but in being finished with them.
I'm a Rutherfurd fan; I must be b/c finishing these brings me up-to-date in having read everything he's written. Makes me a fan, right? I've heard it said of Rutherfurd that his characters are shallow - just as you get interested, he moves on. In his defense, to that I say, give the guy a break. After all, he's covering pre-history to modern day (in most cases, in one book). How much time could he really spend on in-depth individual character development?
The book is worth a 4, but I gave this a 5 b/c, in addition to an author I enjoy, I discovered a splendid narrator in Simon Vance. Love his voice - somewhere between totally relaxing and keeping me focused so as not to miss a word.
It's a great read; I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
This is just a fun little story. It's typical Agatha Christie, so if you've read her books before, you are well-equipped to know what to expect. That is, her surprises; this book contains her usual twists and turns. It is well-performed. In the absence of Christie's customary sleuths, Marple or Poirot, the story seemed to have a little more flexibility in that the story doesn't have to return to one figure for discoveries/reveals. To me, that made it even more enjoyable. I got both new characters and a new story.
The best thing about this book is the title and the explanation of how the title came to be - a story to make any history-lover cringe, to be sure.
In the preface, the author/narrator promises humor. If you interpret "humor" to mean cheap, sexual innuendos and comments, he scores in a big way. At first, these were tiresome, but they became endless.
One characteristic of any history teacher should be lack of bias; this author has lots of bias, and the history he teaches is strictly through this lens. Not stopping there, he stoops to name-calling contemporaries with whom he disagrees and uses "history" as a platform to push his political views. I mean honestly, what does campaigning for a national gun registry have to do with his pre-civil war Am. history?
To be fair, there is a large amount of good historical information, and the author was lively in his presentation. But that information was unfortunately wrapped in a blanket of smut and another of bias. I prefer my history more historical.
Had I not read George's other books first, this would definitely deter me from reading them at all. This was my final one of her published works, and it was by far the worst. Rather than draw out my review with needless words, as had this book, I'll keep it short: this book was boring.
In school, we would have considered this a "tough read" because it's so historical. With that understanding, I would recommend this book for its detail and fact.
After listening to the preview and reading the other reviews, I was sooooo looking forward to this book! I was disappointed.
The history of Ireland is woven in as a minority to the main story of an odd young person whose own story is uninteresting and dominates the book. I did enjoy the story-telling aspect; the fireside, the pipe and all that, make for a cozy setting. Yet, if you are English or Christian, be prepared to be offended because this author does not like you and makes his opinions prevalent.
I love Henty. My 13-year-old XBox-360-fanatic loves Henty, and that's saying something! HOWEVER, that said, I must agree that the narrator could have been better chosen.
I agree with most of the other reviewers (interestingly we primarily seem to be women) in that the portrayal of Queen Elizabeth in this work seems to be contrary to everything I've ever learned. I've never seen her portrayed as so fickle and spineless, being swayed by whomever spoke to her last. That is misleading.
The story is good in that it holds your attention, but the spin on Elizabeth is fallacious. Such a queen would have been long forgotten.
I gave it two stars instead of three because there is so little actual history represented. It's a personal preference, but I really like history in my historical fiction. KWIM?
I would recommend this book as a good starting point to learn about these two women; it was well-researched. At least, I'm assuming the author was historically accurate although she differed from others I've read recently in a few minor points (timing, more than anything). I enjoyed her spin on Mary's upbringing and attitude playing so directly into her downfall.
The narrator is very good; in fact, her expertise is what got me over the humps. Those humps were the repetitiveness of the author. Okay, so Mary was tall, gorgeous and capitivating to the opposite sex - I got it the first 10 times; I didn't need to hear it another 10.
Overlooking that one flaw, again, I would recommend this book.
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