Audra (Unabridged Chick)'s Reviews > The Sumerton Women

The Sumerton Women by D.L. Bogdan
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I'm a bit of a broken record, but I'm tired of the Tudors. However, this Tudor fic entertained me with its focus on one family's response to Henry VIII's break with Rome. The Sumerton clan, seemingly blessed with love, health, and wealth, is actually wracked with secrets and guilt and pain. Cecily Burkhart, orphaned at 8, moves in with the Sumertons and finds herself mostly happily with her new family. Quickly, however, she sees their sunny facades hide real tragedy, made worse when Henry VIII makes himself head of a new church in England.

I really loved this Tudor angle, and for a book that has a huge religious bent to it, the story is neither overly philosophical or cheese-ily inspirational. In fact, there's a crazy tawdriness to the plot twists, reminding me a bit of Phillipa Gregory, with [spoiler here so don't read on if you want to be surprised!!] the heroine marrying her foster father, a beloved priest marrying his student.

My only complaint, perhaps, is that our heroine, Cecily, was a bit much for me -- she was one of those preternaturally gorgeous heroines that everyone responds to, smart and sweet and gentle and talented -- so I found myself rolling my eyes every time she swept on stage. She was such a pill I actually found myself rooting for the arch-villainess, Mirabella, her foster sister. The plot twists and dramatic developments were non-stop, and for me, a bit discomforting although potentially historically accurate.

As escapist historical fiction, this is a winner: the drama is non-stop. I don't know if any of these characters are based on historical figures, or just inventions of Bogdan, but I really loved this angle of Tudor fic, even if the plot twists verged on Gothic. The writing style is great -- easy, breezy, fun -- and I was sucked in immediately. I can't attest to the historical accuracy but for speed and escapism, this one doesn't fail.
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews) This sounds good - the religious angle isn't too overpowering and I don't get tired of the Tudors. And that twist does sound very Philippa Gregory-esque - I' think I'll remember this when I need an easy historical read.

Audra (Unabridged Chick) No, the religious angle is fascinating -- does the family support Rome? The 'new' church? What is the one true faith, etc. It's religious-y drama without religion, if possible. I'm allergic to all things religious and this worked for me.

Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews) I tend to stay very far away from any religious-themed books as well - too much risk of preachiness or proselytizing.

Your shelves for this also have me eager to read it - "mood dark and twisted" and "skeletons in the closet" make it sound pretttty juicy ;)

Audra (Unabridged Chick) No preachiness or proslytizing in this one, thankfully, but a very cool backdrop for all the over-the-top drama that ensues. I'll put this one aside for you for your next big box because I'd love to chat with this -- this book at what might have been a historically accurate plot twist but it left me going EW for most of the book!

Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews) Ooh! Girl, you are too good to me!

Audra - have I told you in the last 24 hours that I adore you? You're like my fairy bookgodmother ;)

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