Monday, 9 December 2013

For Your Eyes Only: LIONHEART by Sharon Kay Penman

Lionheart by Sharon Kay Penman
What rating does one give a book that was not only not read to the end, but was only read to 60 pages? Only on special occasions do I actually give a rating to a book if I have not made it to around 100 pages - or in the case of a book the size of this brick - roughly 250 pages.
This is one of those special occasions. I learned enough about this book in those 60 pages to write a 10 page review. But I won't of course. That would be beyond excessive and more than a little obsessive.

I am writing this review and giving this book a star rating, despite my lacklustre effort in reading the book, for those who know me. For those people, consider this review for your eyes only. Let me explain my 1 star and my reasons for disliking this book so much. For those who don't know me, just ignore my review.

First cab off the rank. The book isn't about Richard the Lionheart. It is about the personal relationships and lives of those around him. Now, when I pick up a book called 'Lionheart' I expect the book to be about him. I expect the author's fictional biography of Richard the Lionheart. I don't know when Richard becomes a regular feature of the story, but he wasn't around nor a feature of those first 60 pages and I have it on good authority that he isn't around in any 'biographical' sense for a long time in the book. then when he is, it is from afar.

Other things I didn't like about this book. It is entirely too feminine for me. It is what I call a 'lady book'.
These kinds of books that are about personal relationships and feminine details don't work for me. Feminine details like, how she wears her hair, how glorious she looks that day, what gorgeous silks she has in her coffers, where she keeps her jewellery, how everyone is beautiful who should be beautiful and everyone is ugly who should be ugly, inner most thoughts of women about their husbands and girlfriends and babies, how every woman on woman scene is like the girls from Sex in the City meeting at their favourite cafe or nightclub.

I found the writing feminine. There is no doubt that this book is written by a woman for women. And those kinds books always make me run for the hills. The only reason I decided to try this one was because it was a group read in my group and because every now and then I have people trying to tell me how good Penman is and how her books aren't romance or lady book.

Finally I have first hand knowledge and I can say...I came, I saw, and I found out for myself that these books by Sharon Kay Penman will never be to my tastes.
I understand they are to others, that they are well loved, but for me personally, they are not to my tastes.

- MM

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