A certain romantic historical novel by a debut author has been getting lots of positive vibes and gushing praise on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads. The cover is attractive and the accompanying blurb has a great hook so I got sucked in and borrowed a copy from the library.
It is yet another of those multi-period stories that are a double- (or should it be multi-?) edged sword with me. Frankly, not all writers are as equally good with their historical narratives compared to their contemporary ones, and vice versa, and too often one strand is much better written than the others - and this book soon proved it.
In this case, there is a prologue set in a remote place in the 1930s and it includes a couple of things that simply do not fit with that scenario. They jarred horribly for me and I even scared the cat with my shouts of ... "As if!" ... "No way!" I wasn't born in the 1930s, but I know enough about how society operated then and why one certain fact in particular couldn't possibly be true.
Not a good start, even though the writer displays a fresh enthusiasm that is bound to resonate with readers of romantic fiction but I had to abandon it part way (glad I didn't pay for the book!) as I no longer have patience to persevere with books with mistakes that could easily have been avoided with more circumspect or knowledgeable editing - even in a "romantic" novel!
It says a lot more to me about the publisher's failures and advice than it does about the author's competence. Such things can happen to any writer who can't possibly know everything and I am kind of sorry I decided I couldn't read further. Still, given the number of 4 and 5 star reviews floating around the Internet, the majority is not bothered by factual errors nor improbable scenarios and my opinion doesn't count.
|Check out the great cartoons of Tom Gauld here|
Not quite on the same subject, this article in The Guardian by a young writer bemoaning the media fascination with individuals rather than their books is just so true.
On this topic, again I am in the minority. I actually don't care to know too much about any new authors and much prefer to read books based on on their subject or premise without assumptions about who they are or the interference of a media image. There's a good reason; if it happens to be a book like the one above I won't feel guilty about upsetting a fellow writer when I figuratively throw it against the wall.
There is absolutely no reason for including this Mona Lisa image that has been doing the Twitter rounds this week, except it made me laugh in a world where so many people are suffering from Brexit hangovers. (More at this Pinterest site.)