Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Nov. Book Review by Ted Kozicki

SEX...............There, I've gotten your attention. After last month's title"HELL", I figured I'd need something great or greater to begin this one!
I did not choose the word at random, however. I want to remind or instruct you that there is sex in literature--books, stories, poems....... However, not the way you may be thinking. ( Well, yes, the way you are thinking, but that's not what I am talking about!) Those of you who write have an idea of who your expected audience is, and you write or should accordingly. What I am talking is the old basic: Masculine, feminine, and neuter ( I am torn between saying either or neither, but I won't). So fitting the work to the audience means you will write for a male or female reader, and believe me there is a big difference in the approach.
This ties in with the book I just finished: The White Queen by Philippa Gregory. It is the first of a series she is doing called the Cousins' War. That is The War of the Roses for you English history buffs. The two factions of the Plantagenet family, the Lancasters and the York are fighting over control of the English crown. The next book, just out is called: The Scarlet Queen. So guess what color the roses are!
I read this with interest and anticipation since I am a history major and find this very interesting. In addition, Philippa has just earned a PHD in history so my expectations were high. I did not take into account sex. This book is written in the feminine. Since it deals with several major battles between the factions, with one or the other side winning or losing and holding the other's king captive, I was expecting long and bloody battlefield descriptions with the usual drinking and wenching along the way. That is a MASCULINE book.
Imagine my disappointment when I found it was more about seduction ( Elizabeth Woodville was a commoner- in a way) and King Edward was a renowned womanizer. She leads her family from being Lancaster supporters to the Yorkish side as she keeps the "Prize" just out of Edward's reach until he secretly marries her. In addition, there is a fantasy side with Elizabeth and her mother being descendants of a mythological half-woman/half-fish named Melusina. ( Which is a German legend ). As a battle is going to take place, they open a window at the Tower of London and breath out creating a massive fog that covers the battlefield and confuses the Lancaster forces who end up attacking each other and Edward wins a major victory. Merlin must be turning over in his grave!
So if you want to take this book as being a work of fiction which uses characters who really existed and interweaves a story with the audience being primarily female, it is a fun read....Yet I don't think most women would tell their family that they did not mind their husband pursuing most of the women in the country because "after all he is the king, and he always comes home to me."
If you are interested in learning more about the War of the Roses, the missing two princes in the Tower, and the last of the Plantagenets.......remember this is fiction, not a history book.
So I'll go looking for a more Masculine book for a review, so you can help understand the difference--I know you do, but it gives me something to write about.
Next month an older book, but it was made into a movie ( long ago- also ), but it is special to me which I'll explain next time.


Jessica Nelson said...


Strange way to write a historical fiction, but okay. LOL So was the story any good? Or did it get too surprising and odd?

I love the cover. Very nice.
HOpe you have a great Thanksgiving!

Ted Kozicki said...

Hi Jessica,

Thanks for commenting. I did think it was a fun read.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I liked Philippa Gregory's other books so I'll probably get around to reading this one, too - especially now that I know there are no long and bloody battlefield scenes!)