Friday, October 06, 2006

Some More Plaidy As I'm Sitting Here

I’m going to chat about one more Plaidy, and then I promise, I’ll stop for a while.

Mind you, I did try for some variety by reading a novel about Katherine Howard, which I’ll leave nameless. It wasn’t badly written at all, but in the fifty pages I managed, Katherine Howard was for the most part either having sex (albeit short of intercourse), talking about sex, or, in her more pensive moments, thinking about having sex. This got tedious after a while, to put it mildly, and a skim through the rest of the book indicated that things weren’t likely to improve. So rather than introduce Mr. Book to Mr. Wall, I switched back to Regent’s Daughter.

Regent’s Daughter, as I mentioned in an earlier post, is a novel about Charlotte, daughter of George IV and his estranged wife, Caroline. Charlotte died when she was only twenty-one, following the birth of a stillborn boy. Because of that, this novel is a bit different from Plaidy’s other historical novels in that most of it takes place during Charlotte’s childhood and teenage years. In following her growth from a rebellious child to a happily married woman, the novel has almost a bildungsroman feel about it, except that the unfortunate Charlotte dies just as she reaches maturity, physically and emotionally.

Unlike some of the other novels in the Georgian series, most of the events are seen from Charlotte’s point of view, though there’s an occasional switch to the Prince Regent’s point of view and that of a few other characters. This concentration on Charlotte helps add depth to the book that tends to be lacking in some of the other books in the series, which flit from character to character and sometimes read like narrative histories with a little dialogue thrown in now and then.

I thought Plaidy did a good job in particular of showing Charlotte’s troubled relationships with her parents, who as portrayed here are different in many ways but alike in being self-centered and self-dramatizing. It was also a nice touch for Plaidy to show Charlotte’s grandmother and namesake, Queen Charlotte, softening toward her granddaughter later in the book, although I would have liked to have seen the relationship between the two women explored in more depth.

Plaidy has her usual tendency to repeat herself, though I didn’t find it as annoying here as I have in some of her other novels. All in all, I’d say this isn’t one of her best novels, but it’s certainly one of her better ones.

As I was writing this last night, a fire broke out at a chemical plant in our town, leading to the evacuation of half the town. My half is still in their homes, but no one here’s really going anywhere today.

1 comment:

Gata said...

I loved the way Charlotte disliked Queen Elizabeth I. I remember reading that Jane Austen wasn't a fan of hers either. Maybe Elizabeth wasn't getting such good publicity during that time period.