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Murder Most Royal: The Story of Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard (1949)

af Jean Plaidy

Andre forfattere: Se andre forfattere sektionen.

Serier: Tudor Saga (5)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
4841137,670 (3.76)16
At the decadent French court of King Frantois, the young Anne Boleyn grows into an enigmatic and striking woman, a temptation to many courtiers. But whilst Anne's ambitions are high, she has learned from her sister's unfortunate reputation. So when Anne returns to the English court of Henry VIII, it is the King who is led a dance by this mysterious young beauty. Before long Henry is lured away from his stale marriage to Katharine of Aragon. But the new Queen Anne is not loved by the people, and it is only a matter of time before Henry's patience runs out.… (mere)
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» Se også 16 omtaler

Viser 1-5 af 11 (næste | vis alle)
This novel spanned Henry VIII's marriages with Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves and Catherine Howard and his relationship with each. His marriage to Anne of Cleves was very short (as was his marriage) and it was a very good read. I only rated it 4 stars rather than my usual 5 stars because I prefer books with lots of dialogue which Jean Plaidy's novels usually provide but this was not so much. This is #5 in the Tudor Saga Series. ( )
  ChrisCaz | Feb 23, 2021 |
Like with the Plantagenet saga, the author attempts to pack many years’ worth of history from numerous viewpoints into one volume, which results in a lot of bland scenes that should’ve been dramatized. The pace often drags, and little action occurs.

“Murder Most Royal” has some good moments, hence my rating it two stars instead of one, but these high points are few and far between in this slow-paced novel. I skipped several tedious paragraphs that were doing nothing to move the story along – in fact, they were dragging it down.

The author tried to cover too much. The section on Thomas Moor and his family, for example, should’ve been cut. It’s one viewpoint too many for the reader to digest.

As with all Plaidy novels, “Murder Most Royal” features a lot of repeated info and dry facts. The main reason why her works are so dry is because there’s far too much *telling*, as opposed to *showing*. The reader is often told what happened in a few sentences, when the author could’ve dramatized scenes to show what happened.

At times, like with the quote below, the narrative is so dry and lacking in drama that it reads like a history book, not a novel:

*Cromwell outlined his plan. For years the old Duke of Cleves had wanted an alliance with England. His son had a claim to the Duchy of Guelders, which Duchy was in relation to the Emperor Charles very much what Scotland was to Henry, ever ready to be a cause of trouble. A marriage between England and the house of Cleves would therefore seriously threaten the Emperor’s hold on his Dutch dominions.*

Something else Plaidy’s guilty of is her continuous use of the passive voice, such as “The door of the Palace,” as opposed to the active, “The Palace door.” Passive voice = passive prose.

Same can be said about the extent of reported speech. Dialogue is active, reported speech isn’t, and like with the quote below, it sometimes doesn’t even make clear what was said:

*Francis retorted in such a way as to make Henry squirm, and he did not go to Calais to make a personal inspection of prospective wives.*

We never do find out in what way Francis retorted. This is storytelling at its worst.

Another annoying trait this author has is writing with hindsight. Her characters say prophetic things, which is too unrealistic, or they wish for things – repeatedly – until they either get their wish or die trying.

The future was unknown for these people, but in several Plaidy books they have premonitions, which I can’t believe the real people these characters are based on would ever have, such as Ann Boleyn more than once stating – or implying – that she’ll one day be beheaded. It’s all down to the author writing with hindsight, which I find very irritating.

My biggest criticism of this novel is the inconsistency in language. It’s a blend of old-style English and modern English, albeit the modern language is tainted not only with the passive voice, but with mixed-up syntax like this:

*Oh, how much simpler to manage had been his daughter Mary!*

Badly-written sentences like the one above slow the narrative down. I guess the author is trying to make the characters feel as authentic as possible, but when writing for a modern audience, the choice of language should be contemporary. Granted, some readers like the authentic approach, but not everyone who reads historical fiction appreciates this method.

Examples of inconsistent language include the following:

Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn: “Anne, thou talkest wildly.” Then a few lines later Henry says: “Sweetheart, you talk with wildness!”

The Dowager Duchess of Norfolk says to Catherine Howard: “Dost think I would not find thee a teacher at Lambeth?” Soon after she adds: “And why do you bother me with lessons and teachers?”

Mary Lassels says to Thomas Mannox: “Man, what meanest thou to play the fool of this fashion! Knowest thou not that an my lady of Norfolk knew of the love between thee and Mistress Howard she will undo thee?” And a little later Mary tells Catherine Howard: “I have come to warn you. You are very young, and I do not think you realize what you do.”

The last example of Mary Lassels’s speech particularly highlights the contrasting language. It being in dialogue makes it worse, as in real life people don’t have such huge variations in speech – except, perhaps, when fooling around or when drunk. In normal circumstances, though, someone doesn’t go from saying, “Man, what meanest thou to play the fool of this fashion!” one minute, to saying, “I have come to warn you” the next.

Very inconsistent, highly unrealistic, and most irritating for the reader (this one, anyway).

Something about Jean Plaidy’s books keep me coming back for more. Perhaps it’s her obvious love for English history, which I share, that draws me back. I wish she’d focused less on turning out as greater quantity of novels as possible and concentrated more on quality writing. A novel like this one should be revised about 20 times, yet this at best feels like a fifth draft. ( )
1 stem PhilSyphe | Sep 11, 2019 |
way before "the other Boleyn girl", I learnt about Anne's older ssuter here ( )
  jkdavies | Jun 14, 2016 |
I am normally a fan of Jean Plaidy's historical novels, but Murder Most Royal, about Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, took me an age to get through and nearly put me off reading altogether this month, because I was determined to finish this before starting another novel. Honestly, Cynthia Harrod-Eagles' book The Dark Rose, about the fictional Morland family, covers the same historical timeline and personalities with more interest and liveliness than Plaidy managed!

Readers wishing to learn about the Court of 'Enery the Eighth and (three of) his six wives in a fictional format might find Plaidy's novel informative, because her style - ever formal and plain - straddles the history textbook and Victorian potboiler. She covers all the pertinent details about Henry the power-mad polygamist, who invented the Church of England to better dispatch his unwanted wives, Anne Boleyn the 'wanton witch', and Catherine Howard, Henry's 'rose without a thorn', but does so in a plodding parody of her usual historical works. Great chunks of exposition and amateur psychology are interspersed with dialogue peppered with verrily archaic language, which tends towards parody on occasion. Granted, I prefer Plaidy's straightforward account to Philippa Gregory's controversial theories in The Other Boleyn Girl, but there must be a happy medium.

Disappointing. ( )
  AdonisGuilfoyle | Jan 14, 2012 |
Jean Plaidy once again works her magic in this lovely tale of the two most ill fated queens married to Henry VIII. If you are a Tudor fan, and have never read anything by Plaidy, this is definitely a great one to start with. I dreaded the times when I was forced to put it down, I would have happily read the book in one sitting if I had the chance.

To read the rest of my review, please visit:
http://www.dorolerium.com/?p=1402 ( )
  dorolerium | Jun 19, 2010 |
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Plaidy, Jeanprimær forfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
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At the decadent French court of King Frantois, the young Anne Boleyn grows into an enigmatic and striking woman, a temptation to many courtiers. But whilst Anne's ambitions are high, she has learned from her sister's unfortunate reputation. So when Anne returns to the English court of Henry VIII, it is the King who is led a dance by this mysterious young beauty. Before long Henry is lured away from his stale marriage to Katharine of Aragon. But the new Queen Anne is not loved by the people, and it is only a matter of time before Henry's patience runs out.

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