That’s a horn of plenty in celebration of Thanksgiving and in hopes I come up with plenty to rattle on about.
I would love to present you with a scholarly treatise on the French Revolution today since that’s what I’m currently researching, but I’m in a bit of a time crunch. (Translation: I put it off until I forgot about it entirely and now I’ve run out of time to pull anything intelligent together.) Did you know, for instance, that before the Bloody Terror that we’ve seen depicted in films and books, there was a bloodless revolution? Essentially, the wealthy middle class shoved the debt-ridden aristocrats aside and said we’re going to balance this budget without the fiscally irresponsible policy of taxing the poor. And they proceeded to sell off the church and make themselves the nobility. Sort of ticked off a lot of people, I think. <G> History Lesson, primary version—don’t anger the nobility, the church, and the poor all at the same time.
Another thing I would dearly love to see us start here is a book discussion. Except this is a blog by historical authors, and since I’m currently working on an historical, I’m trying to only read contemporaries. The brain is a very strange sponge, and it’s quite capable of squeezing out someone else’s words onto my page if they are in any way applicable to the passage at hand. That wouldn’t be so bad if I recognized the words as coming from someone else so I could delete them, but I never recognize the source of the words that spew from my subconscious when I’m in full creative mode. So it’s best not to go there.
Still, I have to admit I’m sneaking peeks into our Lady Layton’s–sometimes known as Edith Felber–latest release, QUEEN OF SHADOWS. Since it’s set in the fourteenth century and I’m writing eighteenth, I figure I’m pretty safe. The book is about Isabella, wife of King Edward II. Now, admittedly, my knowledge of English history from this period is pretty scanty. Over the years I’ve read tons of history books, and I have a very general impression of Tudors and Lancasters and those foreign imports, the Georges. I am less than impressed by most kings in most countries because they’re much too human, and I prefer my fairy tales. But Edith has portrayed this fair couple with all their humanity exposed, making them real people you might meet on the street today.
What strikes me most in reading this book is that civilized people believed for so long that one man could make decisions that affect thousands, maybe millions, in an unbiased manner. I’m not sure I know a man who could choose his meal for the evening without resorting to prejudice. It’s just not in human nature to be completely impartial and without self-interest. I suppose we could argue that civilization is debatable in fourteenth century England, and really, few had the power to topple a monarchy. I’m just amazed that even today we trust men in power to be our good fathers who will take care of us and see to our best interests because that’s the power we’ve invested in them. Are we nuts?
Leaders are flawed. They’re human. And people who crave power tend to be even more flawed than most. Even the altruists who believe they’re running for office for the good of the people must have egoes the width of the Pacific to believe they have all the answers. And those are the good guys.
So I’m kind of afraid to finish this book. I want a fourteenth century queen– raised to be obedient and brood heirs—to pick up a royal scepter and bash in her husband’s skull before he does any more real damage. So far, I have to admire Isabella’s ability to overcome her upbringing and make her opinions known when she has any hope of influencing the outcome. Maybe I’ll get lucky and she’ll poison the handsome idiot. Pity that we can’t rewrite history!
So, who’s had a chance to read QUEEN OF SHADOWS? I think I know the ending, so go ahead and give it away if you must. <G> What do you think of Isabella? Do you like this new trend toward writing historical fiction?
And what books would you like to see discussed here?