sage's Reviews > A Monstrous Regiment of Women

A Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie R. King
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Aug 22, 10

bookshelves: crime, fiction, historical-fiction, mystery, queer-interest, reviewed
Read from August 21 to 22, 2010

** spoiler alert ** Hated the romance plot. Liked the primary plot well enough. Deeply hated the heroin subplot, as it reeks of authorial ignorance to the point of disrespecting the experience of addicts. Liked the various crossdressing adventures quite a lot. Liked Watson and Lestrade very much and was annoyed at their under-use. A few lines made me laugh out loud. Loved the feminist Judaism.

In sum, what king was trying to do was very, very apparent, and didn't particularly succeed.

+ want: more theology, more oxford, more academia, more Holmes-as-Holmes, more screentime for known supporting characters (Watson, et al), more queerness, more era-appropriate priorities, more emotional truth.

- want: less plot-related Mary Sue, far less romance Mary Sue, less ease in Mary's embracing wealth and privilege (or else acknowledgment that she led that life freely before her family's death), less anachronism.

Note: yes, it's dumb to have a list of wants following book 2 of a ten (so far) book series, but there you go. I like the 'verse. I think it's clever and interesting, and I want it to be *better* on its own merit instead of relying on its philosophical thesis to give it a leg up.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Stephanie I agree with you, the romance plot is my least-favourite aspect of this book.

I don't know enough about the period to notice the anachronisms - what jumped out at you? (For my own education - I'm not saying you're wrong.)


sage Steph wrote: "I agree with you, the romance plot is my least-favourite aspect of this book.

I don't know enough about the period to notice the anachronisms - what jumped out at you? (For my own education - I'm ..."


I think what I found most anachronistic was the blithe lack of social pressure on Mary and Veronica to conform. Everything I've read about the era has given me the impression that young, unmarried, *upper-class* women were under a huge amount of social pressure to be respectable and more or less obedient, at least until they were married or had inherited. Mary has the armor of being an orphan AND having stupendous wealth, but it seems to me that Ronnie should have had her allowance at risk at the very least. Not to mention having her parents (or their representative) poking around in her life frequently to nudge her toward propriety.

And then, also, I wondered how she hadn't had all her fancy artwork and furniture stolen from her flat, being a single young woman living alone in an apparent slum (and spending all her time out and about). Especially if her giving handouts to one and not all results in a riot. /o\

But yeah. I could see Margery reveling in people's disapproval (and it not mattering so much for a 40-yr-old widow as it would for a girl of 22). Then, I can see Mary not even noticing if people disapproved of her. And yet, it seems like Ronnie's lifestyle should have at least been shown as scandalously bohemian. OR ELSE we could have been shown a doting, abnormally tolerant father. I needed something to convince me. (Isn't it interesting how the book is chock full of father-figures, but mostly fails to give the actual fathers any screentime.)

Beyond the social aspect, I didn't really notice anything out of place. The little details of the setting are one of the things I've most enjoyed in what I've read so far.


Stephanie I think there were a lot of changes in the post-WWI era in terms of propriety for women; perhaps the author is taking more liberties with that than is strictly accurate? I don't know.

(I find myself so-so on the Ronnie character, I tend to skip over her parts, generally.)


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