It’s Monday! What are you reading?
I just finished “Roanoke: The Lost Colony” by Angela Hunt.
Honestly, I have mixed feelings about this book. As you can see, the cover is absolutely stunning, but it has nothing to do with the story, not even a little bit. As the title indicates, the story is about the missing colonists of Roanoke, and I always enjoy seeing personalities put to historical figures. While I sincerely appreciate the time and energy that went into researching the documents and the history, the characters in this story weren’t very likeable. Reverend Thomas Colman was pretty much a jerk, and his wife Jocelyn starts as a sassy woman who speaks her mind but becomes weak and spineless as the story progresses. The book is touted as a romance, and the two finally get together in the last pages of the book, but it was too little too late and completely out of character for him, seeing as he had been a jerk for the first 98% of the book. The other characters were hit or miss, most disappearing before you even got a chance to know them. The one thing that kept me reading was to find out the author’s impression of what happened to the colonists, but nope, we didn’t. Not even a theory. Nothing. The book just ended.
There were a couple things that drove me to drink. There were no upholstered chairs in the 1500s and certainly no tea in the colonies. Historical inaccuracies like that make me wonder how true the rest of the history-part of the story was. Also, I understand the characters speaking with ‘twas and ‘tis, but it really didn’t need to be ongoing ad nauseum throughout the narrative. ‘Twould be better if it ‘twas written without all the ‘tis and ‘twas. ‘Twouldn’t it?
In general, I wanted to like it, but I really, really wanted an ending.
I hate anachronisms, too. Drive me to the cliff with drink in hand.
Anachronisms and accents are fun for the writer to create, but are always laborious for the reader. I had someone complain that my civil-war-era book was written in modern language. Really? Why would I write a book in 1800s lingo that no one could read? How about the 1500s when spelling wasn’t standardized? Should I spell the character’s name differently on every page just to be true to the time? How about a novel about some aboriginal group who only communicated in pictures written on cave walls? I hope all of these stay-true-to-the-times people don’t read the Bible. That’s just gonna piss them off.
Ha! I read a book recently set in 2002 that made references to Hurricane Katrina that occurred in 2005. Drove me crazy through the whole book. That was just carelessness, nothing done to drive me crazy. I’m against dialect in most cases unless the author is superb at it and it doesn’t interrupt the flow of the story. In other words, I shouldn’t have to stop and reread until I understand. You do a superb job with your historical fiction. I’ve never thought about it when I’m reading. I believe that should be the goal of all great books.
Thanks for the compliment. I don’t try to write true to an era. It would be too frustrating to even attempt it, and gawd knows I don’t need any more stress.
Ha! And don’t foreshadow time. I read one book that referred to WWI while it was happening. LOL. Makes me wonder why a pope or king would take “I” after their name from the start. Seems King Booboo I wouldn’t be “I” until there was a “II”…whatev…
On another note: I assume you guys are home and I’m sending good vibes.
Yes, but need the vibes always!
According to this review, there are a number of literary mistakes! How painfully, tedious to read an entire book written in an accent. An author should know its limits and non-functionality as many readers decipher the text differently. Furthermore, a book with inaccurate facts shows me an amateur writer that didn’t take the time to make her/his work shine. And lastly, a books ending can make or break a book, and according to this post, the ending sliced this book in half. Yikes!
Follow my blog at readwithmeromancenovels.wordpress.com.
Thanks for chiming in and for letting me know about your blog. I’ll pop over.
As for “Roanoke,” while there were things in the book that weren’t my taste, I wouldn’t call them mistakes. There is no black and white in literature and rules are made to be broken. If a writer should know the limits of their words, Mark Twain would be in big trouble.
The historical inaccuracies were not excusable, but Ms. Hunt is certainly not an amateur writer. She had sold over 4 million copies of her 125 books!
As for the ending, some folks may have liked it because they thought they already knew what happened to the lost colony, and it confirms their thoughts. My opinion is if you’re going to turn the whole thing into fiction, finish the story. Of course she would have taken heat from those who would have called it made-up trash, but if you’re going that way, have the guts to complete it. What if “Titanic” ended at the sighting of the iceberg?