As I was writing this post on my Jean Plaidy blog, a thought occurred to me. I’ve read a number of historical novels where a female character, usually an ill-fated one–Anne Boleyn, Katherine Howard, Marie Antoinette, for instance–looks back at her life as she awaits death. Usually, she’s either awaiting the executioner’s ax or in the throes of mortal illness.
So my question is, are there historical novels where a man looks back over his past in this fashion? I’m sure there must be, but I can’t for the life of me think of one. The closest I can come is The King’s Touch by Jude Morgan, but the hero as he narrates that one isn’t aware of his impending doom, only that he is about to take a fateful step.
Assuming there aren’t that many novels featuring doomed first-person male narrators, my question is, why not? Perhaps this sort of introspection is considered insufficiently masculine? It would certainly be interesting to have, say, Roger Mortimer’s last thoughts in the Tower, or Anthony Woodville’s ruminations at Pontefract, or Louis XVI’s in the Temple, for instance.
Awaiting your thoughts.