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Topic: 2010 H/F Challenge #1 - 15 Minutes of Fame

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Subject: 2010 H/F Challenge #1 - 15 Minutes of Fame
Date Posted: 11/26/2009 6:08 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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Discuss the book you read for the Biographical Fiction category.

Read a biographical novel. Biographical fiction tells the story of a real person. It may or may not be close to the actual history.

Date Posted: 12/27/2009 7:04 PM ET
Member Since: 6/16/2008
Posts: 772
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All For Love by Amanda Elyot/Leslie Carroll/TBA

I can't really add anything to what I've already mentioned in the December reading thread. It continues  to be a disappointment - the light style would have been a-ok with me if the main subject hadn't been such a moronic doormat. Also the main selling point that she was mistress to the Prince of Wales was pretty lame overall, since that grand passion lasted (on his part) for 6 months, then she turned around and made a pathetic, clinging fool of herself over Banastre  Tarleton for 15 years. It seems obvious that Elyot wants her to be seen as tough and tragic, but it's just not working for me.

I can say that I'm going to enjoy writing a review for it. Originally I thought it was going to be 3 stars, but that was before I headed into the last third of it. Two stars, I'm figuring!

*sigh* Challenge year not shaping up too well so far! Please let the dreck be over with.... :-P



Last Edited on: 12/27/09 7:05 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/4/2010 7:36 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 798
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I read I, Elizabeth by Rosalind Miles. It has been on my TBR pile for over a year, and I tried to use everything that I already had for the two challenges (it also fulfills my I requirement in Challenge # 2).

I, Elizabeth is written as an autobiography in Queen Elizabeth's voice. It is long - over 600 pages - but I finished it in 2 days because I had difficulty putting it down. It is probably my favorite fictional book written about Elizabeth - I have read The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir, The Virgin's Lover by Philippa Gregory, and the trio of books by Robin Maxwell. There were no outlandish theories (unlike Weir's book) and it seemed to follow history more closely than the others. I also enjoyed the fact that equal attention was paid to each part of her life. I felt like the other books were focused more on her relationship with Robin Dudley than the rest of her life. It was a great book and I highly reccomend it. I can't believe I let it sit on my shelf for so long!

Date Posted: 1/4/2010 9:48 PM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2008
Posts: 1,755
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Virginia - I read I, Elizabeth for last year's challenge.  It sat on my shelf forever, so I used it for the "book that's been on your shelf the longest" category.  I couldn't believe I waited so long to read it either. I absolutey loved it!  The "voice" Miles gave to Elizabeth was great! I adored her.  It was one of my Top 5 books for 2009.

Date Posted: 1/7/2010 9:19 AM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2009
Posts: 388
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I read Sandra Gulland's The Many Lives and Secret Sorrows of Josephine B. for this category. Fast-paced and exciting book about a fascinating woman. I would rate it at 3.5 stars, and I'd recommend it to HF lovers! And  I will definitely be reading the other 2 books in the trilogy.

Btw, I loved I, Elizabeth! I read it a few years ago and couldn't put it down. It's my fave fictional account of Elizabeth so far.

Date Posted: 1/7/2010 10:51 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
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Arika, I loved the entire Sandra Gulland series. You definitely have to read the rest of them! They are the best fictional account of Josephine that I have ever come across. ;-)

Date Posted: 1/8/2010 9:47 AM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,393
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What rousing endorsements for I, Elizabeth. I'm curious how you all think it compares with Susan Kay's Legacy, also considered a definitive book about Elizabeth? Linda read Legacy and really, really enjoyed it. I have not read it yet ...

And, Arika, I completely endorse Valli's comment re: the Josephine trilogy ... these books made my top 5 list for 2009. Hope you enjoy them!

Kelly

Date Posted: 1/9/2010 6:36 AM ET
Member Since: 12/22/2008
Posts: 533
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I, too, would appreciate hearing comments/comparisons between I, Elizabeth and Legacy.

Thanks.

Date Posted: 1/10/2010 10:12 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2008
Posts: 456
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For this category in the challenge I read Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir.  I'll have to post a more detailed review on the book's information page, but I really enjoyed reading this book, especially hearing from various POVs from the people surrounding Lady Jane Grey.  I'm guessing the author had to make some pretty big guesses concerning character motives, but I felt that for the most part they were logically reasoned.  Overall, I found this book quite entertaining! :-)

Date Posted: 1/13/2010 9:45 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 1,588
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For this category, I read My Theodosia by Anya Seton. I'll give it a 3.5.  It's the second Seton I've read.  Not as good as Katherine, but still good. Interesting, well told true story.  Intriguing enough that I may have to read some non-fiction on Burr.  My previous impression of him was that no one who really mattered (ie, none of the Founding Fathers) thought well of him, prior to the dual.  Very different, seen through his daughter's eyes.  Now I'm wondering whether this was a side only she saw, or whether there is more evidence for a better opinion of him in other contemporary sources (besides the surviving letters to/from family members).



Last Edited on: 1/14/10 5:53 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/14/2010 7:47 AM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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Sharla, Have you read Burr by Gore Vidal? I think it's one of his best.

I remember Cathy's reaction to Theodosia being similar to yours. (She'll correct me if my memory fails to serve. Again.) But I believe Theodosia was her first book.

Subject: My 15 Minutes of Fame Read
Date Posted: 1/14/2010 11:10 AM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 2,879
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Flanagan's Run by Tom McNab: I truly enjoyed this story. It takes place in the early 1930s detailing a run across the country organized by Charles Flanagan. The tale is based on an interview the author had with someone who participated in another run. As the story unfolds one begins to identify with the runners who embark on this adventure because of their backgrounds, financial troubles, and motives. Mike Morgan, a miner's strike organizer has lost his wife and his job, runs to support his son and finds love with another runner. Hugh McPhail from Scotland is looking for survival money, finds love, friends, and a purpose for his life. Doc Cole has run his entire life to win a big race to ensure his place in sports records. Lord Peter Thurleigh, a wealthy Englishman, is running to win a wager and thereby ensure his acceptance among those of his club. Doc finds he doesn't need the fame he wants and Thurleigh, whose family loses their fortune during the run, finds his involvement in the race becoming more personal as he begins to understand many of his fellow runners. It's a story I enjoyed and recommend to others.



Last Edited on: 3/15/10 10:50 AM ET - Total times edited: 4
Subject: Life in the Leatherwoods - John Quincey Wolf
Date Posted: 1/14/2010 11:21 AM ET
Member Since: 10/27/2008
Posts: 99
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I found this book at a local garage sale and found it to be a quick easy read.  I kept it in my car to pass the time while waiting at school for the kiddos.  It is about life in the mid - late 1800's in the Arkansas Ozarks.  As a family we go camping in the Arkansas Ozarks each year which made this really enjoyable.  I loved reading the descriptions of the White River and the Buffalo River and how they were such a huge part of this man's childhood.  The book is mainly a bunch of memories compiled by John Wolf - it jumps from time to time.  Each "chapter" was about a different aspect of his life - the Civil War (I never knew what a Jayhawk actually was until I read this book - I must say the university of Kansas really could have found a better mascot), medicine, girls, fashion, school, etc. 

All in all a fun little book to read.



Last Edited on: 1/14/10 11:24 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/14/2010 10:16 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,393
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Jennifer! Imagine our surprise to see the author of your book - John Quincy Wolf - from the Ozark area of Arkansas. I knew immediately that this had to be one of "my" Wolfs and sure enough, he is !!!

His great-grandfather (John Wolf) was a brother to Linda's great-great grandmother (Mary Ann Wolf Adams). !!! :P I have been doing genealogy research off and on for years & the interesting thing about this branch of the family is that four Adams children married four Wolf children, so when I saw the Wolf name, connected with Northwestern Arkansas I knew we probably had a match!

Linda & I will now be on the look-out for this book. Oh, the wonderful things one discovers on the PBS Historical Fiction forum !!!

Kelly



Last Edited on: 1/15/10 7:32 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/15/2010 3:51 PM ET
Member Since: 10/27/2008
Posts: 99
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Kelly - that is awesome.  PM me your address and I'll send the book your way - it tells about the death of his father and then later his mother.   He then goes with his sister to live with their aunt and uncle along with another orpan boy.  I bet it would a very interesting read for you two.

Wow!

Date Posted: 1/15/2010 4:02 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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Jennifer and Kelly, reading this I got goose bumps how cool for you!

Date Posted: 1/25/2010 10:54 AM ET
Member Since: 7/21/2008
Posts: 437
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I read Margaret George's The Autobiography of Henry VIII for this challenge, as well as for letter A in the alphabet challenge.  I'm so glad I took the time to read it - the size is daunting, but it is worth it!  It is interesting to see a human side to Henry, and to read his whole story from childhood through to his death.  I had read some other reviews that said the notes from his fool were distracting, but I actually thought they helped the story.  Since is is being told in first person from Henry's point of view, there are some things that he would never say that added to the story, and that is where the fool's notes came in.  I'd definitely recommend this one if you haven't read it yet.

Date Posted: 1/25/2010 4:52 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 1,588
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That's on my 2010 list for A, too.  Your comments just bumped it up in priority. :)

Date Posted: 1/28/2010 10:30 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,127
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I just gave up on my first choice for this category.  I tried to read Longing by J. D. Landis, about Robert Schumann.  There was just something about the writing style that I couldn't get into, so I only got to about page 50.  I don't mind reading something outside of what I usually read, but I found myself looking at this book and then picking up anything else to read instead--a sign that I need to give up on it and replace it with another choice. 

Date Posted: 1/30/2010 2:07 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,507
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I just finished Desire the Kingdom: A Story of the Last Plantagenets by Paula Simonds Zabka.  It mainly focuses on Anne Neville,but on Richard III a bit too.  While it was interesting, and she had obviously done her research (it was bascially self-published through the Richard III Society after her death by her husband and daughter) the narrative really drags. I felt every word and every line I read.

Very sympathetic to Anne and Richard and a sweet love story. 



Last Edited on: 1/30/10 2:41 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/4/2010 11:58 AM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2009
Posts: 298
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I couldn't finish The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette by Carolly Erickson.  I pushed past 50 pages then found myself skimming and not feeling I was missing anything.  I decided to pick up her non-fiction biography of Marie Antoinette and I'm enjoying it much, much more.   



Last Edited on: 2/4/10 11:59 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/15/2010 12:04 AM ET
Member Since: 10/22/2009
Posts: 134
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I just finished reading Sandra Gulland's The Many Lives and Secret Sorrows of Josephine B.which I really enjoyed reading. I like that it is written like a diary, it's like you are looking into her deepest secrets and much more interesting to read that way. I am kind of sad that it wasn't so much about her life with Napoleon until the end. Although, her story is remarkable, I feel like I was tricked into reading it. Eventually I will have to read the other 2 books in the series.

Date Posted: 2/15/2010 9:54 AM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,393
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Josie, I can understand feeling a little shorted or cheated by the 1st Josephine B book. The books really do need to be read as a trilogy, with the three books together completing the story. I hope you can get to the other two soon. As a trilogy, it was on my top 5 list for 2009.

Kelly

Date Posted: 2/19/2010 6:13 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 849
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I read Richmond and Elizabeth by Brenda Honeyman for this one (about Henry Tudor and Elizabeth of York). It wasn't a bad book but nothing spectacular either. I'm still waiting to read a really good book on these two...

Date Posted: 2/19/2010 8:46 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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Rats. That's disappointing, Daphne. I bought the whole dern series too.

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