Finished the Plaidy book on Katharine of Aragon. It ends, of course, unhappily, with Katharine dead after having lived in very reduced circumstances and with Anne Boleyn’s neck in considerable danger. All in all, I thought it was one of Plaidy’s better efforts. I’m looking forward to reading Murder Most Royal (I think that’s the title), about Anne Boleyn and Katharine Howard, as well as her book about Bloody Mary.
But that’s for later, for now I’ve started Marrying Mozart by Stephanie Cowell. So far, I’m captivated by it. I know next to nothing about Mozart (except that I like his music), so I’m in no position to judge the book’s accuracy, but as far as I can tell it seems well researched. It certainly has nicely delineated characters.
One of the fascinating things about historical fiction to me is how differently authors can interpret the same set of facts. Anne Boleyn is an extremely unsympathetic character in the Plaidy book I just read, scheming and vindictive, but I’ve seen other novels in which she is treated very gently—some, indeed, where she comes across as nearly a martyr. Plaidy herself wrote a novel narrated by Anne herself (the usual let-me-set-down-my-story-before-the-French-swordsman-arrives premise), in which she comes off rather well, considering, and Margaret George in her novel about Henry VIII manages the almost impossible feat of making Henry VIII sympathetic and even likable. Different strokes for the same folks—that’s what keeps me reading!