Book #26: The Princess of Cleves

I finished The Princess of Cleves before I had a chance to write an introductory post to it. I don’t have internet at my apartment for awhile (oh the joys of living in a country where you don’t speak the language and can’t get anybody to help you), so I’ve been doing a lot of reading.

I thought that The Princess of Cleves  was interesting. Interesting and boring and slow.

It’s basically the original “historical fiction.” It’s about the court in France during the time of Henri II (I think). There’s all sorts of intrigue, because love and politics go hand in hand. Also, it involves the royal court, so obviously everybody is trying to “hook up” with everybody else.

Lucky for me, I love reading about court life and the politics of a monarchy. Royalty and courtly life fascinate me. Usually I’m all over the courtly life situation, so I liked the whole idea of the romantic intrigue and the romantic/sexual tension between Madam de Cleves and the Duke. I was on the edge of my seat while I read, wondering whether or not they would FINALLY get together.

It reminded me of watching those two friends flirt and talk around each other for ages and ages and you kind of just wanted them to get together already. Except, of course, that Madam de Cleves was married, so that poses a bit of a problem.

Anyway, while I liked the court intrigue and the idea of the romance, I didn’t exactly enjoy the execution. I know that I’ve said this before on this blog, but I really don’t like the “old” style of novel writing. Unfortunately, The Princess of Cleves is about as far back as you can go in terms of the “modern” novel. This means that the usual Creative Writing 101 adage “show, don’t tell,” wasn’t even a blip on the horizon yet. A lot of the plot was simply recounted. It felt more like the writer was going “and then this happened. And then this happened. And then another King showed up. And then the Queen said this…” rather than actually showing me all of this drama.

While I enjoyed reading about court and the long, drawn-out descriptions of different historical kings, queens, and courtiers wasn’t *too* tedious for me, I still didn’t like the writing style that much.

Rating: ***
Up Next: Amerika


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