Sunday, October 01, 2006

Sunday/Monday Musings

I gave into Blogger's wishes and upgraded to Beta Blogger. I'm not sure I like it--I tried leaving a comment on someone else's moderated blog and I'm not sure if it let me.

Reading-wise, I've been in an eighteenth and nineteenth century mood these days. I'm reading Regent's Daughter by Jean Plaidy, a historical novel about George IV's daughter Charlotte, who died shortly after childbirth. It's a little slow-paced, and sometimes it gets repetitious, but I think Plaidy does a good job of depicting Charlotte's loneliness and her frustration of being a pawn of her warring parents.

I'm also reading some nonfiction. If I'm reading solely for my own pleasure, I seldom read biographies and histories straight through; instead, I read here and there and not straight from front to back. Three books I'm working through in this fashion are Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution by Catherine Weber, Marie Antoinette: The Journey by Antonia Fraser, and George IV: Inspiration of the Regency by Steve Parissien (published in the UK as George IV: The Grand Entertainment). Based on reading them in bits and snatches, I'd highly recommend all three. The Fraser book, of course, is a biography of Marie Antoinette and is very well written, while the Weber book is a fascinating look at the queen's reign in the context of fashion and the role it played in the public's perception of her. The George IV book doesn't purport to be an in-depth biography of the king, but examines the image he attempted to create of himself versus the one that the public held of him. Though the American title suggests otherwise, it's an unsparing look at the king's failings, but a fair one, and an absorbing one.

Here in the States, the television series "Monarchy" has been running. Last week's segment was about the English Civil War, a period I know very little about. I've been looking for some good nonfiction or historical fiction (of course) about it, so I'm open to suggestions.

4 comments:

Gata said...

The only books I've read so far about the English Civil War was fiction, mostly Plaidy (there's a few of them - Myself My Enemy, about Charles I's wife Henrietta Maria, and The Wandering Prince, regarding the years of Charles II's exile.)

Edward Rutherfurd wrote a number of sagas about England, like Sarum, London, The Forest. He tends to feature the Civil War in most of them - Charles I even makes an appearance in his The Rebels of Ireland.

Susan Higginbotham said...

Thanks, Gata! Reading Myself My Enemy Now, and I also have Jane Lane's The Severed Crown on order. Seems to be a period that's a little underwritten, as compared to say, the Wars of the Roses.

Frank said...

The "underwritten" part of the Civil War might be because one side is the Puritans. Americans in particular don't want to read about Puritans based on what they (think) they know. Who wants to read about people with buckles on their hats (even though they didn't actually wear them)?

Susan Higginbotham said...

Good point, Frank! Any recommendations?