I really wanted to enjoy this book. I went in optimistic but not even halfway through, I began to falter and I had to force myself to finish.
The writiI really wanted to enjoy this book. I went in optimistic but not even halfway through, I began to falter and I had to force myself to finish.
The writing to me was juvenile and lacked the finesse a Tudor/Elizabethan era novel should have. The characters were one dimensional and quite frankly, if the real Amy Dudley was as annoying as she is in the book, then I completely understand why Robert didn’t spend much time with her. She was given to tantrums and acting like a spoilt child rather than a wife of a courtier. She was spiteful and I spent most of the time wanting to slap her. I understand that she wanted more time with her husband, but that really wasn’t the way to accomplish that. The emphasis put on that it was a love match–Amy married rather high above her station–seemed ironic, since he couldn’t seem to tolerate being near her.
I confess, when reading she was dead, I breathed a sigh of relief. She was one of the most irritating characters I’ve ever had the misfortune of reading about. In other novels, she has been written in a more complimentary fashion and more true to the historical accounts of her. Why the author chose to turn her into such an intolerable git in this book, I’m still pondering. I would also like to know why the title of the book is “The Manner of Amy’s Death” when it focused mostly on her life and marriage. She fell (or was pushed) down a flight of stairs. There are many ways to make a story about Amy’s death.
This isn’t to say I’m Team Robert. I didn’t find his characteristics to be endearing either. The Tudor period of history is one of the most fascinating, I am really not sure how or why the author made it so blasé. It’s bad when I can say Edward and Bella Cullen have more dimension to them. By the end of this book, I felt like I did when I read “The Yellow Wallpaper”–I wondered why I wasted my time and like banging my head against the wall. Repeatedly.
I really wanted to enjoy this one as I said. Alas, I did not and I find it unlikely that I will ever find anything positive in it....more
I hate when there is crazy hype for a book and when you open the book, it falls flat within the first few pages. However, I went on a bit more in theI hate when there is crazy hype for a book and when you open the book, it falls flat within the first few pages. However, I went on a bit more in the hopes that it would improve. I thought perhaps that it was just me being fussy (which does happen) and it would get better. It didn’t. I found that it got worse. I’m glad I didn't pay for the hardcover tome that I recieved because if I had, I would have returned it. As it is, I'll probably donate it to the local library. I don’t even want it on my shelf. The only character in the book who I liked at all was Rose; however, whilst this book was meant to be hilarious and was hyped up to be, it was not. In fact, I found the obsessive mentions of bodily functions and the racism too overpowering to be entertaining. Yes, I understand that this book is based in the 1920’s and racism was common. However, I felt maybe the author should have covered it in a way that didn't make me feel like that was just his personal feelings.
I felt that he (Andrew Lewis Conn) tried too hard at times. He also used ridiculous words and phrasings that didn't need to be used at all. He made me feel like he went to college and learned all of them and needed to show off that he knows big words. They’re tripe. Absolutely unnecessary in the long haul. Also, back up off the similes. I don’t think they were meant to be used as often as are used.
There’s not much more I can say beyond that I’m not going to recommend this book to anyone and I hope the library finds people who’ll enjoy it....more
I shall begin by saying how excited I was to see a book featuring Sisi. I have rarely come upon any books with her as a main character and I was very excited to see that she was a main character. She is such a strong historical figure and a fascinating one at that; however, Ms. Goodwin disappointed me. Every single character seemed so…dull and lifeless. I found very little to like in any character, which made it very hard for me to get through it. It is a very loosely based story of Elisabeth ‘Sisi’, Empress of Austria when she visited England. Whilst I knew she had long hair and was thought of as pretty (which, I agree with!), it was maddening to hear very other moment about it. Also, putting meat on her face at night? That was rather vile. Whether that fact is true or not, I don’t know, but it was not very entertaining and just another thing I disliked. Sisi was made to be this vapid, bubble headed woman and I don’t think she was like that at all. Also, an Empress throwing childlike tantrums or sulk when she didn’t get her way. I really struggled with finishing.
It was annoying that every man seemed to become “enraptured” by her. Captain Bay Middleton (a relative of the Duchess of Cambridge, Catherine) had the potential to be a whizbang, amazing leading man, however, he looked more like a lovesick puppy, running back and forth between Sisi and Charlotte, whose only redeeming quality seemed to be that she was rich. Admittedly, I think calling this ‘historical fiction’ is a mistake. You could change the names and voila! You have a romance novel.
All in all, I wasn’t impressed. The only thing that I loved about this book is the cover and the alternate one as well. They’re both delightful looking.
I am the first to admit that I generally hate chick lit. And even though this book was lumped in ‘historical fiction’, I find it more of an AU story aI am the first to admit that I generally hate chick lit. And even though this book was lumped in ‘historical fiction’, I find it more of an AU story and chick lit. It’s got all of the things that are supposed to get us sighing and angry and all of that good girly stuff. I gave this 3 out of 5 because the idea is fantastic–can you imagine if Jackie and Marilyn actually did write back and forth? That would be amazing. I love both women and respect them; however, in the letters that ‘Jackie’ wrote, I didn’t feel her, if that makes sense. Being that she was so well read and educated, I find it hard that she would be so one dimensional in letters. I applaud the author for knowing Jackie’s history and trying to come across as the most famous First Lady in history, but that fell flat for me. I didn’t feel she was successful.
Writing as Marilyn, I felt there was a little more success, but there were times where the author made her sound like a total bubblehead, which Marilyn was not. She was constantly thought of as a dumb blonde or a whore or a slut, but she was a person and ‘Marilyn’ was just a persona. She is a woman who took courses at NYU, studied her hardest at Strasburg and honestly, from what I understand, they didn’t just take anyone in. I suppose it can be said that I am biased as I’ve read a lot more about Marilyn than Jackie. However, judging by other reviews I’ve seen, I’m not entirely alone.
There were moments of total madness–Marilyn describing a sexual act in depth for Jackie, for one and there were also moments that were sweet and tender, such as commiserating over stillbirths/miscarriages et cetera. Whilst it would be fun to think that they really did get that close, it is fiction. Also, the footnotes–oi! They were horrid and really unnecessary. It’s a fictional book, come off it! I began to lose interest halfway through and when I finished, I was glad.
**spoiler alert** The story of Mammy from Gone With The Wind. I think I’ve posted before how much of a “windie” I am. When I had first heard this was**spoiler alert** The story of Mammy from Gone With The Wind. I think I’ve posted before how much of a “windie” I am. When I had first heard this was coming out, I was absolutely delighted. Mammy is one of the central characters in the well beloved original and I love her. I thought to myself, “Oh boy! We’re going to get a good backstory on her! We’re going to learn this and that…blah blah, so forth and so on.” I had read Donald McCaig’s ‘Rhett Butler’s People’ and honestly, I enjoyed that, so I had no worries about Ruth’s Journey.
I should have taken it as a sign when I was denied for the ARC. (Fortunately, my local library has it and I was able to borrow it.)
I wanted so much to love this book. I wanted to be able to look back and know where Mammy had come from and why she was the way she was. Yet, even though we’re given a backstory, it’s just not what one expects. The first few chapters leaves one befuddled and I admit–I didn’t finish and I don’t think I am going to. I skimmed through the rest of the book to get a feel for it, thinking that maybe the beginning chapters were just really slow, but it just never picks up. I was SO disappointed. I was, however, very glad that I hadn’t spent a dime on this one.
Eventually, the book goes into “Ruth’s” voice and thought you can hear Mammy say such lines such as, “Master Gerald, he beamin’ like a damfool.” However, as she spent a great deal of her life with Ellen O’Hara’s mother, Solange (aka Scarlett’s grandmother) who was a well educated woman who spoke French and was treated like a daughter; it’s curious how when you’re finally in the 1/3 of the book that Mammy speaks in, she sounds like the southern slaves, as though she lost all of her learning. What a let down! Also…she never spent a day in the fields, thus, she would retain house speak. I kind of wonder why Mr. McCaig didn’t narrate the entire book from her perspective. I don’t imagine it would help though.
It just doesn’t feel right, truth be told. If you’ve read GWTW, you’ll understand. Every character felt one dimensional to me. Yes…even Scarlett O’Hara herself. Also, if you’re basing a book on Mammy, would it have been so hard to make her the actual main character? She felt like an afterthought. As much as I love the main characters, Mammy deserved a spotlight and this…no. This is not it. All in all a massive disappointment.
Sometimes, one should leave things well enough alone. This was as bad as the travesty that is ‘Scarlett’ by Alexandra Ripley. If you want to meet Mammy and Scarlett, read the original book. You can’t go wrong reading Margaret Mitchell’s book....more