I don't have time for said second reading right now, and I'm not certain I'm interested enough to give this that much of my time -- part of Heyer's genius is with readable stories and characters you can get involved with, but even quarter of the way through I wasn't really involved yet.
Sad because she never gave an interview and never understood how much joy her books brought (and bring) to so many people.
She had planned on writing the life story of Lord John, Duke of Bedford, son of King Henry IV and younger brother to King Henry V, but this book ends right before the death of his father. Most historical fiction authors that I have read try to keep things a little bit more in order for their readers, as though they understand that this can be confusing. Overall, the historical detail is incredible, and the reader can learn a tremendous amount about this time period from the book.
I mean theres half dozen Henry/Harry, John, Richard, Hugh, Thomas No need confusing the reader by calling the person sometimes by their given name and other time by their title. Heyer has tried writing how people spoke at the fifteenth century and it slows down the reading.
I somewhat enjoyed this book about John, Duke of Bedford and younger brother of the man who would become Henry V, especially in the beginning, but found the story dragging toward the end. Heyer used many archaic medieval words that were not to be found in the Kindle's built in dictionary.
But, I'll stop being mumpish for I sickerly am still asotted with Mrs. Heyer.
The other thing I didn't expect was for the book to finish mid sentence...what were the editors thinking?!
This was Heyer's last book, one of her historical novels and a better sense of mise-en-scene I've never read. The habit of families intermarrying with other noble and aristocratic families created a network of relationship and titles that is a story unto itself and that makes the family tree a necessity as even titles change families as the elders died off. There is a list of personages at the beginning of the book and, along with the family tree in the back, this is a big help in keeping identities current. There is also a preface in the front of the book written by the author's husband that explains Heyer's research routines and capabilities and how incredibly thorough she was in gleaning all she could get and understanding it in it's entirety. Routines of daily life in the noble families, the workings of the nursery and the lives of the children under the care of their 'nurses,' the home run with fleets of servants.
Heyer brings the medieval world to life, creating a panoramic view of a royal family's intricacies, intrigues and sibling rivalries, along with the everyday lives of the servants, clerics, and vassals in their charge." That blurb is significant to remember as you read this. My Lord John is immediately plagued by a quagmire of names...so much so, that I doubt that anyone unfamiliar with the era of Medieval times up to the Wars of the Roses would even want to attempt to understand what is going on here. Heyer opens this novel up with 1393-1399 when Richard II is king, and is known as Cousin Richard to the lordings (the children) that we are immediately introduced to. Heyer captures the dialogues between the lords with seemingly accurate phrases for Medieval times (hence the need for the glossary) and jumps right into her settings without much of a preamble. Harry who later becomes King Henry V after his own father is king, is taken under the wing of Richard II (or taken hostage, depends on how you look at it), and John is the My Lord John as referred to in the title. Major events occur around the family such as the headstrong uncle to the King Richard, Thomas Woodstock is murdered after being sent into exile, more plots and arrests and soon after the children's father, Henry of Bolingbroke is also sent away. I soon found that I was becoming engrossed with the story once it started to feel like Heyer was staying in one place with the characters at this point, but then she lost me again as we reach the 1400's when John becomes a Lord Warden in the North. Heyer fans like me who have only read her romance and mystery novels are in for an about face, as this is truly pure historical in nature and not with the usual comedic settings or romantic rendezvous nor the tongue-in-cheek of slapstick comedy romps that Heyer is best known for. I wanted to really, really like this novel, but this time I have to say that as both a Heyer fan, and Medieval era fan, I obviously did not enjoy this.
However, I will remember this title and "do the project" in the winter when I have more time and boredom to follow and trace it all out.
Beginning in 1932, Heyer released one romance novel and one thriller each year. Heyer remains a popular and much-loved author, known for essentially establishing the historical romance genre and its subgenre Regency romance.