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Topic: Final vote for Alison Weir: Yay or Nay?

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Subject: Final vote for Alison Weir: Yay or Nay?
Date Posted: 4/1/2013 10:40 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,721
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Okay, I must have about 3 or 4 Weir books around this joint.  I seem to remember pretty dismal reviews, and I'm too rushed this morning to search them out.  So...anyone read her stuff and loved it?  Hated it?  Should I waste my precious golden years reading her?cheeky

Date Posted: 4/1/2013 10:47 AM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 2,556
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I have mixed feelings about her, but in general now I would have to say meh.

Date Posted: 4/1/2013 11:03 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 318
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I've read her biographies of Henry VIII's Wives, Mary Boleyn, Anne Boleyn (the Lady in the Tower), Queen Isabella (Edward II's wife), Katherine Swynford, and I think Eleanor of Acquitaine.  Weir's writing tends to be a bit dry.  The Isabella biography was my least favorite, as she seemed overly sympathetic to Isabella and presented the theory that Edward II escaped to wander around Italy as a hermit as fact.  That theory has always seemed far-fetched to me, although it makes for great mysteries!

Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Date Posted: 4/1/2013 1:29 PM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
Posts: 42,374
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I would agree I think she is a bit dry in her writing style.


Date Posted: 4/1/2013 2:03 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,432
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She is dry; and she does write with a decided bias according to her own views & what she thinks her research tells her. (In fact, I'm getting in here before Linda does: Alison Weir took such a strong bias against R3, that Mom is pretty much done with her on all counts. Period. Next subject, please.) 

I read one of her books - can't remember which one - and found it very readable & informative & I was glad (at the time, at least) that I had read it. 

My suggestion would be to base your decision on subject matter. If the book is about a character or period of time you are really interested in, you might wait until later to cull the book. If it's a "just 'cause" kind of book, let it go.



Date Posted: 4/1/2013 2:22 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
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It's been awhile since I read anything by her.  As I recall the last one I tried, I gave up on because of all the assumptions she states as fact.  I'm thinking of such  phrases as:  in so and so diary someone states such and such, and therefore we can conclude that......


Date Posted: 4/1/2013 3:00 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,633
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I looked at amazon for her books and in going through them, it dawned on me that her books have never sparked an interest in me. I've not read even ONE of them (if my memory serves me correctly). lol!

Date Posted: 4/1/2013 3:07 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,721
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Hmm..okay.  I seem to remember some feeling that she blurs the line between non-fiction and fiction in her books, as if she's created a new, third category of literature: Myopinion-fiction. cheeky  Maybe if I read her take on the little Princes in the Tower (as I am firmly in R3's camp myself) it might be a good way to channel aggression.  You know, yell at Alison instead of, say, our insurance company for instance.enlightened

Last Edited on: 4/1/13 3:08 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/2/2013 9:46 AM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 1,588
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 I'm thinking of such phrases as: in so and so diary someone states such and such, and therefore we can conclude that......

Exactly.  And then she treats her conclusion as established fact and proceeds wrap it in with other facts and other of her own conclusions, to surmise yet more conclusions, until you get so far off anything resembling fact that you really are into the realm of fiction.  And if that original conclusion was wrong, then the whole thing falls apart.  That would be just fine if she was writing fiction ... and if she had any real talent for writing and story-telling.  Eh, not so much.

I've read probably half a dozen of her books over the years, and the only one I will actually recommend is her War of the Roses.  Not because it's really good or engrossing, because I wouldn't say that it is.  But the War of Roses is incredibly complex and has so many entangling tangents, and this book is the best I've seen at covering the whole freaking thing in one reasonably sized volume. It's broad in scope and just deep enough to get to the roots that tie the whole thing together and have it make sense.  And it does.  I absolutely would NOT recommend it as a first book on the War of Roses.  If you don't have some familiarity with the basic structure of the conflict and the principle events and players, you'll get hopelessly lost in no time.  But if you've read various fiction set in it and always felt like you don't really get it, this is perfect.  It's been a while since I read it, but I don't recall the kind of conclusion build upon conclusion in this one, probably because she is staying pretty much to the facts, because there's so much of them to cover. 

Added: I haven't read any of her fiction.  I'll put up with dry and not very entertaining for her non-fiction, but not for novels, and not when her non-fiction is as speculative as I care for in fiction.  I have no interest in even farther flights of fancy in her novels.


Last Edited on: 4/3/13 9:50 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/2/2013 10:38 AM ET
Member Since: 9/21/2009
Posts: 1,173
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I've read alot of her stuff; several I haven't finished.  But agree-her writing style is dry and doesn't "hit" me as other favorite writers of hf do.  Off to check out War of the Roses and see if I've read that one, 'cause I don't remember.....


Ok, after looking over her list, I was able to pick out a couple that I really liked.  Innocent Traitor-but them I've been been a intrigued by the Grey story since high school.  And I thought Captive Queen-was really well done. 

Her latest-Dangerous Inheritance-I finished it but it was a difficult one for me.  Why?  The two heroine story just doesn't work for me.  Plus, rather than finding Katherine Grey's story "one of the greatest romances of all time"-as Weir and several other hf authors have said, I just find it sad and tragic. 

Just ordered the Princes in the Tower....I'm in the Margaret Beaufort camp myself, so it will be intersting to see how I take this one. 

So, I treat Weir's works as more fiction than historical-and that works for me. 

Last Edited on: 4/2/13 10:53 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/2/2013 3:37 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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My feelings aren't mixed. Otherwise, I agree with Carol. wink Meh. There are better authors and books.

Date Posted: 4/2/2013 8:22 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,175
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I agree with Cheryl  Meh.

Myopinion-fiction  perfectly describes her and a few others in my opinion. 

Date Posted: 4/2/2013 8:35 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
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I thought her novel on Eleanor of Aquitaine beyond dire with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. I did like Innocent Traitor and years ago read some of her non-fiction and recall enjoying it. That is until I joined HF discussion boards and learned how she manipulates her *evidence*. I've heard mentions on another board that she's a bit of a joke among the real historians. 

Date Posted: 4/3/2013 7:40 AM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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She's a joke who laughing all the way to the bank. But the question was one of opinion about the quality of her work. Seems we're never short of opinion here. winksmiley

Date Posted: 5/24/2013 8:18 AM ET
Member Since: 4/6/2006
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I really enjoyed The Six Wives of Henry VIII.  Then I read The Princes in the Tower and that put me off her books forever.  There's a blog on Goodreads that discusses that book in detail, so I won't restate any of it here.  I completely disagree with her conclusions and like so many other readers, I believe that she takes rumors and suppositions and twists them into fact to support her dislike of R3.