Monday, August 03, 2009

Pippa Greg

O, Philippa Gregory, how you've failed me! For books that are all so similar, I've had such different reactions to the three books I've read that I can't even tell you what I think of this.

I'm reading The Other Queen, about Mary Queen of Scots. The problem I'm having is that there are almost no scenes in this book. It's told by three narrators, two of whom are the couple who hosted/imprisoned Mary during her time in England on Queen Elizabeth's orders, and the third Mary herself. You follow the large events of the day--armies are amassing, court intrigue is going on--but mostly the narrators get this news through letters and gossip. Each short chapter reads like a dispatch, and rarely is there a conversation, or even an occurrence that actually takes place as I'm reading about it. I'm just not compelled. At all.

This is a far cry from my reactions to The Other Boleyn Girl (Harlequin trash!) and The Queen's Fool (action-packed chick lit!). I didn't love Boleyn Girl, but I really did like Queen's Fool very much. I had really hoped that there would be something in this book of that one. But at this point, I'd settle for a ton of steamy sex. And at least each of those books was immediate--what happened in the book was actually happening as you read about it.

But I'm halfway through. I'm loathe to quit now. I might, though.

By the way and for the record: by the end, I really loved American Wife. I think the best way to explain my change of heart is that, at the beginning, I felt like the author and the narrator shared a sensibility that I couldn't. By the end, I realized that the author and I were the ones with the same opinions; the narrator was the only one who saw things her way. It was good, in the end, to have the author on my side.

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