Showing posts from April, 2015

'In the Approaches'

After dipping my toes into the Regency romance genre, I'm back on more familiar ground with Nicola Barker's 'In the Approaches'.

A satisfactory arrangement

I gave a slightly surprised thumbs-up to Mary Balogh's Regency romance 'The Arrangement' in my initial musings on the book.  In the end, my assessment hasn't really changed: the novel hasn't altered my life but it was an enjoyable enough diversion.

There were certainly problems with the book.  For instance, the final romantic conclusion was never in doubt but I almost think it would be churlish to complain about that.  The regular audience for this sort of book doesn't want it in doubt.  It's a romance, damn it!  I'm not going to argue against giving the audience what it wants.

Other aspects were also a bit meh.  The descriptions of sex were ok.  I mean, it wasn't all moist shafts and heaving bosoms.  Sophia was allowed to have some sexual agency and Vincent didn't have to be the perfect lover.  At the very least, I don't see Balogh being nominated for the Bad Sex in Fiction award with this one.

Similarly, she doesn't do a bad job of talkin…

From the Welsh to the Napoleonic battlefields...

Or close enough.
First off, I finished 'The Mortimer Seal'.  My expectations about the ending were confirmed (it pretty much was all a dream, meh) but I continued to enjoy the historical story.  The very ending, when it went back to the present-day narrative, was dreadful though.  Bailey cannot write modern dialogue.  It just sounds stilted and weird.  However, seeing as the bulk of the book was set in the 1400s, I could cope with it.

The Welsh are revolting!

Literally, in the case of 'The Mortimer Seal'.

My first impressions of this book were not the most complimentary ones.  My main gripe was that the writing was so bad, particularly the dialogue, to the point where I wasn't sure the author had ever experienced actual human contact.  

Turns out he has, but not since the 15th century.  

As I mentioned in my original preview to this arbitrary read, this seems to be a book with dual timelines – the present and the wars in the Marches in the 1400s – and the characters may or may not be appearing in both storylines too.  Opening in the present, the author seemed to find it very difficult to construct believable real characters.  However, with the move into the historical part of the book, suddenly the quality of writing seems to have improved substantially.

I say 'seems' as I'm not entirely sure whether this is true or whether I just know so little about this time period that anything a bit olde-worldy sounding will do the…