By Margaret George
I just started this book a few days ago, and it is the third of hers that I've read so far. The other ones I've read are Memoirs of Cleopatra and Mary, Called Magdalene. So far I've liked Cleopatra the most.
I like Margaret George's books for a few reasons. First - this is exactly the kind of genre I really enjoy. A novel based on historical fact. She does thorough research on her subjects and gets as many facts together as she can, then fills in the details. With Cleopatra, she did not have much to go on, and ended up writing the majority of the book on how she felt Cleopatra would have been like. She was kind to her, and I liked reading about that side of such an infamous character. with Mary Queen of Scots, George had a plethora of information, including letters, biographies, poems, and first-hand accounts. She was still able to develop the character of Mary into someone who is headstrong, quick to action, and sensitive.
The second reason I like George's books is that at the end of the story she explains what she pulled from fact, and details out what she embellished. I always find myself reading these when I'm only 100 pages in or so, and sometimes there are spoilers, but I can't help it! I like knowing what's fact and what's fiction while I'm reading.
The third reason I like George's books is that they are LONG. I love really big books! I like it when I can get really deep into the book, and read and read and read for days on end. Cleopatra was nearly 1,000 pages. Mary Called Magdalene was over 600. Mary Queen of Scots is 870. I just can't get enough.
Also - I just finished reading A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khalid Housseini (sp). This is his follow up to The Kite Runner. A lot of reviews I have heard is that Thousand is not as good as Kite Runner. After reading both I find I can relate to Thousand much more. First there's the obvious reason that Thousand is a story about two women. The other reason is that I found Kite Runner's ending to be too far fetched and fiction-like. The whole rescue of the little boy from his father's childhood rapist, with all the violence and the big escape was just a bit much for me. It ruined the pace of the story. In contrast, Thousand is a bit more realistic, and heart-wrenching. Especially when you consider the time period the book is placed. The story spans the mid-70's to current day, and when I was reading about what these women were going through in 2000 and 2001, it just broke my heart. A Thousand Splendid Suns is a must-read in my opinion.
Next up (in a couple of weeks): The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory.