Sunday, 6 April 2008

"Don't judge a book by its cover". Part III.

My previous "Don't judge a book by its cover" blog entries, part I and part II are my personal examples of why you should judge a book by its cover. Unfortunately, I have come across a book which I judged and was wrong to do so. The Sixth Wife by Suzannah Dunn.
I honestly can't believe how disappointing this book was. From the title of the book, one would assume it is about Henry VIII's sixth wife, Katherine Parr, but it isn't at all. It is narrated by her 'best friend' Catherine, Duchess of Suffolk and her affair with Katherine's husband, Thomas Seymour (after Henry). I hadn't realised Suzannah Dunn was giving this a modern twist, otherwise I would not have bought it, and the front cover is quite deceiving! Although the more I look at it, the more modern it actually seems.
The most annoying aspect of the book was Katherine and Catherine being referred to as Kate and Cathy, I found it so irritating and felt like I was reading a soap opera instead of watching one, and on that note, dialogue was horrendous, which is one of the things I love most about reading historical fiction. However, in the epilogue, Suzannah Dunn explains that she is not a historian and chose not to write in typical historical dialogue because she didn't like it and 'how do people actually know how they spoke?'. She further explains that literature doesn't prove anything as people write differently to how they speak. I suppose this is a fair argument... but her style of writing is definitely not my cup of tea.
It has taken me about 6 months to read because I never enjoyed it, making each time to pick it up harder and harder. I even felt I was avoiding having to read it at times!... but I always like to finish books, no matter how bad it is, in hope that maybe the last few pages will compensate for the previous... but this one did not. I will not be buying any more books from this author and have just ordered 'The Constant Princess' by Phillipa Gregory, which is about Katherine of Aragon and I will slowly be purchasing and reading them all in chronological order..they all also have such beautiful covers! I can't wait to get it! However, regardless of this 'situation', I will still be judging books by their covers, unless anyone can recommend an outstanding book with an unappealing cover for me to try out?
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