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The White Queen – Phillipa Gregory

Having never read historical fiction before, and not being a fan of this particular period of history, I wasn’t sure how much I would enjoy this novel.  Elizabeth Woodville, maternal grandmother to Henry VIII,  is the main focus of this novel about the War of the Roses.  She is a widow with two young sons who was looking to cast her lot higher, and ends up married to King Edward IV, having ten children with him, and being a part of some major events in English history.  I wasn’t to familiar with her story, so I didn’t really have much to critique when it came to historical accuracy.  I will say this is an interesting story, full of intrigue, manipulation, and made this historical period a bit more interesting for me to digest.  I had seen a movie adaptation of The Other Boleyn Girl, another of this author’s novels, and did expect there to be that same element of grandiose drama, which this novel definitely contains.  Remember with historical fiction to take things with a grain of salt, besides any biographical facts about the historical figures, because this isn’t written as a biography, but as a novel.  I did have fun reading it, and it did encourage me to seek out a little bit of information about this time period and the people in the novel, which isn’t a bad accomplishment for a story about history and those who shaped it.

K

11/22/63 – Stephen King

Having never read a Stephen King book, it was with some trepidation I began reading 11/22/63 for my bookclub.  I was surprised that I ended up enjoyed the book.  It is not the usual King “Horror,” but about a time traveler and a real historical event.  The event is the watershed moment, November 22, 1963, the day President John Kennedy was assassinated.  It is a lengthy book, something I have heard repeatedly about King’s writing, but not a badly written story at all.  The book focuses on time traveling teacher Jake Epping and his journey as he attempts to change the obdurate past.  It weaves in the historical figures Lee Harvey Oswald and his wife, with the fictional people Jake meets along the way.  The more outrageous time travel element is about the only discernible supernatural or paranormal device more expected of King, but at it’s core remains a character book and a book about choices.  The story about a regular man, an extraordinary opportunity, and the consequences for himself and those around him of taking or not taking that opportunity.  And as historical fiction, and being a history lover myself, the notion of a journey to the past, and the implications of altering the past, or the butterfly effect, did intrigue me despite my being unfamiliar with King’s writing.  Engaging storytelling, and an interesting premise, helped me navigate King’s lengthy writing style.  Overall, I found it an enjoyable read, good for King fans as well as King newcomers.

K

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