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DarkPoolNine

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What I'm reading, what I'm thinking of reading & what I've read. And stuff.

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Christine Manfield
A Man on the Moon
Andrew Chaikin

Portrait of an Unknown Woman: A Novel

Portrait of an Unknown Woman: A Novel - Vanora Bennett Portrait of an Unknown Woman - Vanora Bennett

  Finished this morning, yay! An enjoyable and relatively easy read. A couple of small gripes. Most of the book was written in first person, but when the author wanted to give insights into another character’s thoughts, she would change to third person. Now, this is not such a big problem, but I found it quite disconcerting the first time it happened because it was in the middle of a chapter – suddenly you start a new paragraph, and the voice is not Meg’s any more. It was also a reasonably long way into the book before this device was used, so it really was quite a jarring sensation. It was as if the author had intended writing the whole thing in first person, then 80 pages in realised that wasn’t going to work, so rather than go back and change the whole thing to third person she just shoved a bit in. My other gripe is that the heroine, Meg, is just a bit too much of a Mary-Sue for my liking. I won’t reveal any of the books secrets here (although the cover - see image at right - does that quite well, I thought), but Meg is step-daughter to an Important Man, married off to a (secretly) Important Man, and then has another Important Man fall in love with her. She manages to cure her sister of an illness when the real doctors fail.
I am not a fan of The Sainted Thomas More. This story rehabilitates him a little for me, and gives a plausible reason for his rather peculiar “History of King Richard the Third” on which so much of traditionalist view of Richard III is based. However, what I enjoyed most about this book was the philosophical stuff about the religious changes taking place at that time – the discussion of the ideas regarding how God should be worshiped, and how that really made a difference to the everyday citizen of 16th centaury Europe. I also really enjoyed the stuff about Holbein’s paintings – especially the one titled “The Ambassadors” (that’s the famous one with the distorted skull in the bottom centre), and all the secret messages in has concealed within its composition. I was disappointed that when I looked at this painting on the Author’s website, the image was too small to see any of the detail she had so carefully described in her book.
Overall a very good book, and one that I wouldn’t be embarrassed to recommend.