- I, like many others, saw the movie The King’s Speech and wanted to read more about that time in England.
Summary from GoodReads:
The year began with the death of a beloved king and the ascension of a charismatic young monarch, sympathetic to the needs of the working class, glamorous and single. By year’s end, the world would be stunned as it witnessed that new leader give up his throne in the name of love, just as the unrest and violence that would result in a Second World War were becoming impossible to ignore.
During the tumultuous intervening months, amidst the whirl of social and political upheaval, wise-beyond-her-nineteen-years May Thomas will take the first, faltering steps toward creating a new life for herself. Just disembarked at Liverpool after a long journey from her home on a struggling sugar plantation in Barbados, she secures a position as secretary and driver to Sir Philip Blunt, a job that will open her eyes to the activities of the uppermost echelons of British society, and her heart to a man seemingly beyond her reach.
(Summary continued at GoodReads)
I learned a valuable lesson while reading Abdication by Juliet Nicolson. I learned that no matter how beautiful the cover, how enticing the subject matter (should be), how perfect the name (and Abdication is such a beautiful name for a novel), if things just don’t work, they just don’t work.
I read the first 60% of the book and I felt like a cheerleader for 50% of it. It was tiring! I kept hoping, praying, eventually pleading for the characters to ignite some kind of spark inside of me, just something that would make me care enough to keep reading. But at 60%, I kind of just gave up and went through the motions of reading the rest of the book.
There’s technically absolutely nothing wrong with Abdication. It’s written well, the words are all in the right place, it’s edited well, the ingredients are all there for a fantastic historical novel, but the characters were so boring and bland that I felt nothing for their plights, struggles, joys, and sorrows. And that right there is the killing blow for a novel like this. Because in order for history to be interesting there needs to be some kind of hook, something to make you want to invest yourself in the story, someone to root for or to hate or to love – but there was none of that here for me. So instead, I felt like I was reading a beautifully narrated history book filled with a hodge-podge assortment of quality descriptions and conversations. And it all just fell flat for me. Maybe it won’t for you – but it did for me and I cannot tell you how sad that makes me feel.
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