Well, I’m back, having spent the last few days at the hospital where my daughter was having surgery. I’m sure she’ll be blogging about the subject soon.
I took the precaution of bringing several books with me, including Jean Plaidy’s In the Shadow of the Crown and Murder Most Royal. The first, about “Bloody” Mary, I found somewhat disappointing, mainly, I think, because it spent comparatively little time on Mary’s life as queen.
I was very impressed, though, by Murder Most Royal, which from its original copyright date of 1949 must have been one of Plaidy’s earliest novels. In many of Plaidy’s novels, particularly the later ones, I get the sense that she’s writing straight from notes or reference materials, with very little time spent on developing character and with dialogue that is little more than exposition. This novel, by contrast, develops character at a leisurely pace and has characters who speak to each other instead of to the reader. I also liked the way Plaidy interspersed episodes from Anne Boleyn’s life with those of Catharine Howard’s life.
Next on the list? Well, I’ve got another Plaidy, and I’ve also picked up Karen Harper’s novel about Mary Boleyn.