Like my new blog colors? I thought the old ones were a bit hard on the eyes.
Over the weekend, my daughter watched the movie Mean Girls, about high school cliques, and we adults were allowed to join in. It’s a funny movie. Anyway, one of the clique leaders had a habit of saying “Shut up!” to express incredulity.
So as I’m doing yet another post on Jean Plaidy, I’ll pause to allow the blog reader a moment in which to say, “Shut up!” and I’ll assume that he or she couldn’t possibly mean it literally.
This Plaidy novel is called The Third George. Like some of Plaidy’s works about the Plantagenets, it doesn’t focus so much on the title character as on the goings-on of his reign, at home and nationwide. There’s a lot of such goings-on here-—political infighting, family scandals, the American Revolution, the Gordon riots, George’s declining mental health, the Prince Regent’s predilection for actresses—-but especially toward the end of the novel, all of the episodes feel strung together, without a unifying theme. This approach is echoed in the novel’s point of view, which jumps around madly in all directions. We spend time inside the heads of Charlotte, George, Sarah Lenox, assorted politicians, George’s mother and siblings, and even Fanny Burney, but just when we’re getting to know a character and to take an interest in him or her, it’s time for a new point of view.
The dialogue is mostly expository. “‘I fear,’ said George, ‘that this scandal of the Grosvenors and Caroline Matilda’s tragedy has upset you far more than anything ever has before, eh?'” is a typical example. The liveliest dialogue, as a matter of fact, is not an actual dialogue at all but an episode where Sarah Lenox tells her troubles to her pet hedgehog, Sukey. I would have liked to have seen more of Sarah and Sukey, actually, but Sukey makes only the one appearance and Sarah only a couple of others. Pity.
So should you read this historical novel? Well, it’s interesting enough if, like me, you don’t know much about George III’s family—it got me Googling to find out more, at least. For the Prince Regent, however, I think I’d just stick to Blackadder.
And no more Plaidy reviews for a while. I promise.