Friday, December 03, 2010

Review "May 1812" by M. M. Bennetts

This Amazon Vine review is of the novel "May 1812" by M. M. Bennetts and was written by Clare.

A surfeit of romance and soft furnishings: not much decryption [2 stars]

It is a cliché that a book should not be judged by its cover, but the blurb on the back did whet my appetite with the prospect of a historical thriller involving decryption and high-level intelligence operations. However, this novel sheds the light on code-breaking that “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” lavishes on game-keeping; it would rather sit comfortably alongside the Mills and Boon catalogue in content, but might well be rejected on grounds of style.

It’s an overly long telling of a highly implausible love story. The beautiful and handsome couple are beset with misunderstandings and, in the case of the hero, the demands of work (French translation with a smidgeon of code-breaking). The heroine is a perfect, long-suffering and accomplished eighteen year old whose response to neglect and character-assassination at the hands of her husband’s set is to cry and cry, whilst her husband is an emotional child. The tears came so thick and fast in the second part of the story that I felt that the author had been set a challenge to beat some record for their inclusion and was indulging him or herself at the reader’s expense.

In its favour the portrayal of Georgian society in London is credible and entertaining and a counterpoint to the country life portrayed in Jane Austen’s novels. Indeed, this book would perhaps find a place on the shelves of some latter day Catherine Morland (Northanger Abbey).