Smoky Mountain Vacation

May 12, 2008 at 8:43 am | Posted in Barnes & Noble, Books, entertainment, Family, Historical Fiction, LibraryThing, My Life with Books, Reading | 5 Comments
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Greetings from Gatlinburg, TN, located in heart of the Great Smoky Mountains. It’s beautiful here despite the rain and I’ve enjoyed seeing my parents (I haven’t see my mother on Mother’s Day for at least 10 years), siblings, in-laws, nieces, and nephews. The kids did a great job on the drive. Even if they hadn’t, it’s just nice being out of the Roanoke Valley.

Although we’ll be away from home for 9 days, I’m planning on getting some good reading in:

  • Taking Lisa’s advice from Books on the Brain, I rented Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O’Nan from the library.
  • I snagged the latest book by Patrick McGrath, Trauma on the way to the checkout desk I was at the library.
  • The Story of Forgetting by Stefan Merrill Block, which I received through a trade with another Early Reviewer on LibraryThing.
  • I picked up The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani for under $5 at Barnes and Noble last week. I’ve been wanting to read this since I read a review by Divia on
  • Finally, I’m finishing up The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir. I’d love to say that I’m loving it, but it’s just okay. No offense to Last Night at the Lobster, but I shouldn’t be looking forward to my next book. I should be savoring this one. Sigh…

Seriously, WTF?

May 7, 2008 at 9:03 pm | Posted in Adoption, Books, Culture, entertainment, Film, Gothic Fiction | 10 Comments
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I am not a fan of Ellen Page.  Although I’m in the minority, I didn’t find her performance in Juno very realistic or endearing (I hate that I have even just linked to it’s Wikipedia page…).  People at work have attributed this to my age.  I thought perhaps my experience of adoption colored my views of the movie as well.  Certainly my experience is just that, my experience.  Still, even though Emma’s first mother firmly made her adoption plan early in the pregnancy, this was an emotional experience for her, her family, and for us.  There was no sarcasm or flippant jokes about her being irresponsible.  The only aspects of that movie I found close to ringing true were the scenes where she had to decide whether to continue her adoption plan and after the baby is born – and those were noteworthy only because she was actually acting, not just being herself.  They weren’t Oscar worthy.

Imagine my surprise when I ventured on to Pop Candy this evening before leaving work to discover that Ellen Page, who essentially played the same sarcastic young female character in Smart People, has been cast as Jane Eyre for a BBC Films production of all things!  Whitney, who loves Page, can’t even see her in this role.  Seriously, what are they thinking over there at BBC Films?  Jane Eyre doesn’t have a sarcastic bone in her body.  Do they have any expectation that Page can pull off ‘mousy’ or, more importantly, sincere?

I can’t say that I’ve ever seen a film or TV adaptation of Jane Eyre, but look at what is already out there.  What reason could there possibly be to cast Ellen Page in this role?  There is a 1944 version that stars Orson Welles, Joan Fontaine, and Elizabeth Taylor.  A&E produced a television starring Samantha Morton as Jane.  Who could really be more perfect than that?

I have no idea what really makes the film business tick.  I’m sure that I’ve misspent many an entertainment dollar in my life and am reaping this as my reward.  I would rather be struck blind like Mr. Rochester than even watch the trailer.

An Interview with Lander Marks

April 27, 2008 at 2:59 pm | Posted in Books, Culture, entertainment, LIfe, Religion, Writing | 5 Comments
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On April 20, I had the opportunity to speak with Lander Marks about her new novel, Artist’s Proof. This is her first novel and will be released within the next week. I had a great time talking with her about the novel, but I was most intrigued by a mystery that has very recently discovered in her own life that relates back to her book. I hope that you’ll enjoy this interview as much as I did:

Cover of Artist\'s Proof

Literate Housewife: Thank you very much for the opportunity to read your book and speak with you about it. I enjoyed reading it and appreciate the opportunity. So, how excited are you to have your first novel published this month?

Lander Marks: I’m very excited about it, Jennifer. It’s been a long time coming writing a fictional book as opposed to some of the other things I’ve done. Eight years is a long time to finally have a baby arrive.

LH: Oh my gosh! That’s a long gestation period.

LM: But in between there were a few other books so I’m okay with it. The timing was what it needed to be. Obviously the book needed to come out at this time and so that’s what makes it work.

LH: Tell me a little about what inspired you to write Artist’s Proof.

LM: Artist’s Proof started as a mental whim you might say. The questions that came to mind occurred while I was on a cruise ship experiencing an art auction. The thoughts seemed to come randomly, which is the way things always seem to happen when you’re writing. From the variety of questions that caused me to pause in the moments of this art auction came a series of different events. Each little thread led me on a different path and prepared or led me to write this book.

LH: So, you knew something about art and the art world before you wrote your novel.

LM: Yes, I do have a degree in art and I am an avid collector of 20th and 21st century contemporary art. My interest in the arts, in the experiences of the artists, and in the messages that they create were very close to my heart. Questions came about involving how artwork is sold in this country, how it’s auctioned, and who buys it. These became for me part of the intrigue of writing this mystery.

LH: So what are some examples of things you have in your collection?

LM: I currently have a variety of pieces. I have an Agam, an Agamagraph, and a three dimensional Patrick Hughes piece. A lot of my art has to do with illusion and duplicity. In other words, when you’re looking at the piece, other images appear. As you move around the piece and look at it from different angles, other things show up. In some cases the messages from the artists are thought-provoking and in other cases they are just beautiful. They open up your mind to how things can expand and change.

LH: You mentioned that it took you eight years to write Artist’s Proof. Was there any one aspect of writing the novel that took you by surprise?

LM: The story started to take on elements of art restitution. This led to my travels to Europe to investigate the artwork that was stolen during WWII, where it ended up, and what its value is today. That was a place I didn’t expect to be when I started the book. It brought me to individuals who are very well known internationally and who are experienced in this process of art restitution. It’s led me to some world renowned art collectors and I’ve learned what they are doing in the contemporary art scene. That was not what I envisioned when I started to write this light-hearted, mad cap kind of murder mystery.

LH: This novel is told in large part by your two main female characters: DJ Singer and Shannon Phillips. At what point in your writing process did you decide to tell the story from both angles?

LM: Right at the beginning. I just felt that there was something that needed to be told and there were two very strong women who needed to tell it their way. I didn’t anticipate how much work was involved with bouncing the story back and forth every other chapter and keeping it straight in my own head. I didn’t write one character and then the other. I wrote the book in the sequence in which the reader reads it. So, it’s a little bit different. Because this was my first book, everyone said to me, “writing in first person is not a good idea,” or “bouncing your characters back and forth is very complex.” Many people thought it was a crazy thing for an amateur author to do, but I did it.

LH: What did you find most rewarding about having those two female characters?

LM: I was rewarded with the appreciation of the two different personalities – each fulfilling her own quest to not be a victim. To have a place and an understanding the bigger picture. At first I thought the theme of the story was really about the victims at all different levels. But in the end, Shannon finds a place for herself that she’s comfortable with or has made resolution. DJ comes to grips with something that she didn’t anticipate, but appreciates where it’s going. This leads her to make her own choices. So, my idea that this story is really about victims turns into something about tolerance, appreciation, gratitude, and an overall look at the bigger picture.

LH: Yesterday I was meeting with some women and I overheard someone say that there are no coincidences. She was talking about faith and how when there seems to be coincidence, it never really is. That made me think back on your novel. I really enjoyed the friendship that DJ and Kate shared, but the confidence and connections that came through DJ’s unexpected relationship with Ron were really essential to her at that time. What specifically do you think about her romantic relationship with Ron brought out the best in her?

LM: I think the feeling that Ron was not using her in the sense of a typical male-female relationship. Young people hook up today and it tends to be random. I think when it came down to push versus shove they balanced each other well. This gave DJ a reassurance that she didn’t have before. In her experiences working in a male dominated industry, she both walked and talked like a man or she didn’t succeed. Being able to pull back a little bit and be herself without fear was something that Ron brought to the table. I don’t think that she was prepared for that relationship to blossom the way that it did.

LH: DJ becomes and avid collector of Sol Fleming. Was there an actual artist who inspired him?

LM: I’m going to drop this bomb on you, Jennifer. This is all new information that will be released in the next week or so. I inherited a piece of artwork from a favorite uncle of mine about 12 years ago. This little tempera and gouache painting has been on the wall in my house that whole time. I didn’t think much about it. It’s an interesting piece that looks a little bit like a Picasso. Very abstract. It’s just part of my collection. You go by and look at them just like an old friend and take a peek. Recently, I had to do an appraisal for insurance purposes. I took down each piece to look at it, to really address it, and to start to do some homework in preparation of the appraisal. This piece is done be Bela Kadar, and I realized that I knew very little about it. I started by going to Google to investigate. As it turns out, Bela Kadar may have been spiritually motivating this book well beyond the eight years it took me to write it. This piece is one of very few outside of Hungary. Bela was a Jewish-Hungarian artist and was a protégé of Mark Chagall. He and his work was labeled as “DEGENERATE” by the Nazis.

Lander Marks\' Kadar

I found out through my aunt that this piece was purchased through an auction in the late 50s or early 60s. It is not dated by the hand of the artist. Yet as I did my research I came to find out that his work, not necessarily this piece that we know of, was, along with André Breton, Max Ernst, Van Gogh, and Chagall in the very famous art show “entartete Kunst,” which means degenerate art in German. This was an art show that the Nazis put on as a propaganda to display what they believed to be degenerate art. Many of these pieces were ultimately burned in the square in Berlin after the show.

Nazi Art Show Poster

There were many famous artists who were considered bad because the Germans were only interested in iconic artwork and Dutch work from the 15th and 16th century. Contemporary pieces, they felt, were anti-German and were not part of what they saw as an ideal German belief system. Plus, many of these artists were Jewish. They were not white Germans, let’s say.

So, the story of this piece appearing on my wall 12 years ago and me really not paying any attention to it in the dynamics of this book really took me for a loop. I determined that for the first time in over 50 years the piece will be shown publicly with the book launch in Las Vegas and then perhaps travel with me. It’s just an amazing, amazing part of the book that I had no idea existed until literally two or three weeks ago.

LH: That is really crazy.

LM: Yes. The other part of the story that I didn’t expect is that I got very involved in appreciating the artists, musicians, and writers who were picked out by the Nazis. What was to be destroyed, to be killed, who escaped, how they got to Israel, Spain, the United States, what became of them, and how their contributions changed the art world internationally. It’s taken me on a path to speak to high school and college students and to be involved in the Holocaust education program. It’s not just the Holocaust education anymore. It’s genocide education. As part of the story I opened myself up to speak to these students and school systems about what the Holocaust teaches us about our responsibilities. I talk about it from the aspect of the arts and it has a little bit different of an impact as you relate it to people the Millenials know by name: Marilyn Manson, or Nine Inch Nails etc.. I don’t speak much about Hitler, although he has an interesting story in the story. I talk about democracy, freedom, and freedom of speech.

LH: It sounds like your uncle gave you a much greater gift than just a piece of art.

LM: Oh. That’s a mouthful right there.

LH: I have one more question about Sol Fleming. In the novel there are some anonymous web entries that are attributed to him and they are very cryptic. Without giving away the story, how did that portion of the novel develop?

LM: I think that all of us look for some spirituality or faith. This is either in the traditional faith in which we are raised or we look for it in poetry or messages. Some of us will say we get a message or a shudder. Going back to your coincidences, sometimes we get premonitions. I think today in society we pay more attention to subtle signals. In this scenario, going back in time the Bible was the constitution of many people’s spirituality. I chose to write his dialog through the use of Biblical phrases or references that were considered typical of that era. Putting them through the Internet exposes them on a whole different level.

LH: That was interesting to me. I read a lot of historical fiction, so to have Norah Jones and similar references jump out at me made it interesting and fun. I am on the Internet all the time and we’re in the Internet Age. I really appreciated having that in your novel.

LM: I think that bringing the history into contemporary context makes it easier and more fun to read, although there’s a subtle message there. That’s one of the things that is important about this story. When it ends it really doesn’t end, because the reader wants more. The back matter that references some of the themes is there for them. They don’t feel like they just got left at the end of the story without any place to go while waiting for the next DJ and Ron escapade.

LH: That actually brings me to my last question. At the end of the book, the mystery that surrounded the Monte Carlo House and Sol Fleming was resolved, but questions about DJ and Ron, their future, and the future of art stolen during WWII still linger. I know the answer already from the context of our interview, but I’ll ask anyway. Will we be seeing more of this couple and that topic in the future?

LM: You’ll definitely be seeing more of DJ and Ron. I don’t know if you’ll be seeing them specifically dealing with this artwork issue. DJ and Ron will continue as a couple in some way, shape, or form. As you can appreciate based upon the way the story ended, they are both very strong advocates and I think that DJ’s personality will continue to get her into trouble. Her nose will be in the wrong place at the right time and carry her on to the next mystery.

LH: Thank you so much for the interview.

#66 ~ Gilding Lily

April 23, 2008 at 11:07 pm | Posted in Books, Culture, entertainment, Family, My Life with Books, Reading | 1 Comment
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Gilding Lily by Tatiana Boncompagni

Sometimes getting what you dream about can become a nightmare. At least that is Lily’s experience in this engaging, fun, and fast-paced novel. Gilding Lily tells the story of a young woman from a middle class background who marries into an established, wealthy family in New York City. Her romance with Robert Bartholomew, which brought her swiftly into society as one of New York’s “It girls,” rivals any Disney Princess story. Only for Lily, her wedding day didn’t signal a victory over a vicious step-mother or blood thirsty dragon. It was only then that her nemesis came out into the full light of day – Josephine Bartholomew, her mother-in-law.

Lily’s time in limelight in New York’s social scene ended as quickly as it began. She became pregnant before the ink was dry on her marriage license. Along with baby came Robert’s career crisis. By the time Will is a few months old, Lily hadn’t lost a pound of her baby weight, is having trouble making ends meet on the income from her husband’s trust, and is lonely and miserable. Robert, without the prospect of a job in sight, spends his days networking with his mother or playing squash at the club. At night he’s often out escorting Josephine to social events. Finally, after a particularly heated argument about the two Ms (money and mother-in-law), Lily decides to go back to work. Her talented writing, her connections, and her knack for getting stories other reporters could only dream of provide Lily with an opportunity to return to New York’s socialite scene. Soon she has to decide if getting the story, becoming a socialite in her own right, and, perhaps, earning her mother-in-law’s respect is worth the risk of losing the man she loves.

From the first chapter where we meet Lily tripping on the hem of couture dress on her way to gala, I was drawn in to the book. I got so involved in the characters that by the end I could hardly put the book down. In fact, if it were not for this book I might never have discovered that I have an unusual talent for reading a paperback while curling my hair and drinking the morning’s first Diet Coke. This novel revolves around New York’s elite, but the highly competitive animosity that often exists between women is universal. When push comes to shove, women are often our own worst enemies. So, where there is a group of women you will usually find a catty woman like Di or a Morgan who is trying to undermine everyone else to insure her position. When your disapproving mother-in-law is the queen bee of that social set, eventually all hell will break lose. As much fun as it is to watch the fur fly, you’ll be hoping along with Lily that having a happy family with Robert really isn’t too good to be true.

Boncompagni’s writing, which is smooth and easy to read, is what really made this book for me. So often when reading chick lit I get the impression that the author thinks nothing about the readers beyond the dollar signs. When reading Gilding Lily, you can sense the pride that Boncompagni has in her work. If this first novel is any indication of what is to come, hers will be a career to follow.


Gilding Lily will be published in September of 2008. As the publication date draws near, look for a contest here to win your own copy!

To buy this book, click here.

#65 ~ Artist’s Proof

April 22, 2008 at 10:49 pm | Posted in Beach, Books, entertainment, LIfe, Reading | 1 Comment
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Cover to Artist\'s Proof

Artist’s Proof: A Twisted Tale of Fakes, Frauds, and Murder by Lander Marks

(click here to read Literate Housewife’s exclusive interview)

Has a hobby or a passion ever gotten you into a world of trouble? That is definitely what happens in Artist’s proof, a fast-paced novel that takes you with DJ Singer through the world of modern art auctions from Mexico to Italy in a search for the truth behind one man’s history and his art. Along the way, DJ makes what might be an even more dangerous leap into love – allowing herself to trust and depend on a man. If what you do never puts you in any jeopardy, reading this book might just make you want to get up and find yourself some intrigue.

Artist’s Proof is a novel about two women who have fought their way to the top to find wholly different results. Shannon Phillips is an art auctioneer for Monte Carlo House, an organization that offers art auctions on land as well as by cruise ship. Although the art world is man’s world, she feels that she’s conquered it when she is put in charge of The Monarchy, Monte Carlo House’s newest and most luxurious cruise ship. To her, DJ Singer is an easy mark. DJ singer is a quick witted Jewish car dealer from Las Vegas. Like Shannon, she fought her way through the auto sales to become one of the leading dealers of exotic sport cars. Her success in business has provided her with the means to build an art collection. What seems like an innocent purchase of works in Sol Fleming’s Bible series catapults them both into the dangerous world of international art forgery.

This is most definitely a modern story. From Norah Jones to luxury cruise ships, you feel like this story could be happening today. While this provides a familiar backdrop (okay, maybe not quite the cruise ships for me, but a girl can dream can’t she?), it also adds a layer of complexity. One of the most intriguing clues in the mystery of Sol Fleming are the series of diary entries leaked on the Internet and attributed to him. The impact these cryptic messages might have on the value of his work is what trigger DJ and Ron to dig deeper. It also addresses questions about the Internet and its authenticity. With traditional print media, it is safe to assume a bias. Still, you can usually identify the source of that bias if you want to know. In addition to being global, the Internet provides an atmosphere of anonymity that isn’t available to other forms of media. You can be anyone you want whenever you want.

Although DJ Singer is the heroine of this novel, both she and Shannon share the narration of the book by chapter. These transitions surprised me at first because the promotional literature mentions only DJ. In this context, however, alternating the voice of every other chapter helped to flesh out DJ more fully than what would have been the case otherwise. Despite being somewhat confused by a couple of transitions toward the beginning, I found that the “dueling narrator” approach was well suited for this novel overall. It is a whirlwind rush though Mexico, the United States, and Italy for the sake of art and love, so the extra levels of detail that would be required to tell this story in third person or entirely from DJ’s perspective would have bogged it down.

I do not have much of a background in the art world or in art history. You don’t have to in order to enjoy this novel. Unlike The Forgery of Venus, there’s no condescending tone. It never takes itself too seriously, although at its heart lies a sad social artifact from World War II. Artist’s Proof would make a fun read and would be great for a vacation. You’ll enjoy traveling with DJ and Ron in Italy. Today my husband and I might be herding preschoolers (a noble adventurer in and of itself that is not for the weak of heart), but tomorrow who knows what kind of crazy, sexy, risky spots we might get ourselves into – even if only in our own imaginations? Isn’t that what reading is all about?

To buy this novel, click here.

#64 ~ Devil Water

April 10, 2008 at 9:23 pm | Posted in Books, Culture, entertainment, Family, Historical Fiction, Reading, Religion | 8 Comments
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Cover for Devil Water

Devil Water by Anya Seton

They say the devil’s water, it ain’t so sweet
You don’t have to drink right now
But you can dip your feet
Every once in a little while

When You Were Young” by The Killers

Devil Water tells the story of Charles Radclyffe and his daughter by a secret marriage, Jenny. Charles is the youngest brother of James Radclyffe, the 3rd Earl of Derwentwater (I love saying and reading that name – I don’t know why). Shortly after Charles meets and becomes intimate with Jenny’s mother, Meg Snowden, James returns to England after living abroad with the Pretender, James Francis Edward Stuart. James adores his cousin James and longs for the day when James is formally recognized as the King of England. He quickly becomes Charles’ mentor effortlessly converted Charles as a Jacobitism. Jenny was conceived before James’ return. Her family on her mother’s side forced Charles into a marriage on fear of death. Despite this, he fell in love with Jenny the first time he saw her. It pained him more than he imagined when he was not allowed to be with his family.

It wasn’t until the failed Jacobite Rebellion of 1715 that Jenny reenters his life. While preparing for the rebellion, Charles convinces Meg, his secret bride, to allow him to raise her in a manner more befitting Jenny’s station as a Radclyffe. While imprisoned and waiting death for high treason, he convinces Elizabeth Lee, and old flame, to take Jenny in and raise her in London. She is well liked and well cared for in the Lee household. She is thankful for the them and is blessed with a friend in Evelyn Byrd, the daughter of William Byrd of Virginia. Still, Jenny never feels as though she belongs anywhere. Even when Charles returns to take her to the continent to live with his new family, Jenny feels like an outsider. The only person with whom she feels at home is Rob Wilson, a young man who helped her family in Northumberland. When Rob is transported to Virginia for a criminal act he committed in order to save her life, Jenny jumps at the chance to travel with Evelyn to the Colonies.

Until picking up this novel, I knew almost nothing about the Jacobites or the political climate in England that created that rift. The most compelling portions of this novel revolved around James Radclyffe and his participation in The Fifteen. His decision to take up his sword and fight when he felt certain it would mean his own demise was powerful. Although he sensed the weakness in his cousin, he fought for the Stuarts and for his faith. His dedication, loyalty, and faith in both God and man makes him a strong character. It is easy to understand how his wife could fall apart after his execution.

I sincerely doubt that Brandon Flowers or any other member of The Killers has read Devil Water, but it was very interesting to revisit this song while I was reading this book. Jenny has a constant desire for a sense of home. A sense she only really had when she was a young girl in Northumberland. She finds some peace with Rob Wilson, but she is not complete without her father. This fight costs her dearly and the reader feels this as well. Because Rob and Charles are an ocean and an ideology apart, Jenny is never complete. Her romance with Rob never has the passion that was present another of Seton’s novels, The Winthrop Woman. This bothered me while reading the novel. It wasn’t until I sat down to write this review that it occurred to me that this distance between Rob and Jenny made sense. It’s not that the author could have made their relationship more compelling and did not. It’s that Jenny’s two halves could never be happily reconciled with one another.

Jenny is an unconventional heroine. She cannot escape her fate, but she faces life bravely and never loses her dignity. Perhaps this is the greatest gift she ever received from her father. I highly recommend this novel and plan to read all of Seton’s work.

To buy this novel, click here.

A Change of Heart about Jodi Picoult?

April 8, 2008 at 12:09 pm | Posted in Books, Disappointment, entertainment, LIfe, My Life with Books, Reading, Worst of the Year | 18 Comments
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At the time I started this blog, I was very much in to Jodi Picoult. My Sister’s Keeper was the first novel I read, but Plain Truth was my favorite. Before January of 2007 I’d also read and enjoyed The Tenth Circle, Vanishing Acts, Salem Falls, and The Pact. Over the course of ’07, I read three of her books. I enjoyed Nineteen Minutes, finishing it just shy of a month before the Virginia Tech Massacre brought much of Southwest Virginia to it knees. Still, Keeping Faith was just so-so and Perfect Match was such a wall banger that I would have categorized it as the worst book I read in ’07 had it not been for The Emperor’s Children.

I’ve read nine of her books and enjoyed – if not thoroughly enjoyed – seven of them. Still, I am hesitant to even pick up and hold a copy of her latest novel, Change of Heart? It might be because there are some elements involved that are related to the Keeping Faith (miracle healings) and Perfect Match (Catholic priest). I also left Vanishing Acts, The Pact, and Nineteen Minutes feeling I had gotten too much of a real sense of what it was like to be a man imprisoned. Are those connections worth overlooking her novel or is it just that I’m over her? I certainly hope not because when her work is good, it makes for an amazing ride.

If you’re a Jodi Picoult fan, I would like to hear what you have to say. What are your favorite novels? Did you like them all? Why or why not? Have you or are you planning on reading Change of Heart? I’m hoping that I might be able to grab on to the coattails of some enthusiastic readers.

* Comments may contain spoilers *

On the Horizon

April 2, 2008 at 9:30 pm | Posted in Books, entertainment, Family, Historical Fiction, LibraryThing, LIfe, Reading | 2 Comments
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I have some fun things to look forward to in Literate Housewife-Land:

  1. I received an Advanced Readers Copy of Artist’s Proof by Lander Marks in the mail on Monday. After I finish reading it, I will be interviewing the author. I’m really excited to get to do that again.
  2. I am on the look out for two other ARCs: The Venetian Mask by Rosalind Laker (snagged through LibraryThing) and Gilding Lily by Tatiana Boncampagni (through HarperCollins). Since I snagged The Venetian Mask last month and it has yet to arrive, I’m starting to have my doubts about receiving it. That’s a little disappointing, but I’ll survive. Besides, it will be nice change to read two novels that are not historical fiction. I love historical fiction as you know, but a girl needs a little variety every now and then. 🙂
  3. My parents and my Uncle Ryan are coming down for a visit this weekend. I love to watch my kids interact with my parents. It should be a nice, relaxing weekend.
  4. I have registered! I am busy dreaming about how I want the site to look and work. As I’m no artist, I am looking for someone to help me with the colors, graphics, and logo I’ll need to complete the website and I’ve finally found a good lead. I’m hoping to have the site up and running this summer. I’m going to incorporate my blog and my Tudor Fan Site, which I’ll be building on that as well as well as adding a forum. When all that happens, be on the lookout for changes here, too.
  5. I am going to Vegas in June!!!!! As part of my new position at work, I’ve been invited to attend a conference being held at The Venetian. Sometimes I really feel like my life is swimming in connections. Artist’s Proof takes place in Las Vegas and, assuming that my LibraryThing snag will arrive in time, I might be reading The Venetian Mask by the pool at the Venetian!

Before all of that, I’ll be quickly finishing up Devil Water by Anya Seton and posting my review. It’s been a much more interesting read than the last book.

The Rape of Anne Boleyn

March 4, 2008 at 6:21 pm | Posted in entertainment, Film, Henry VIII, Historical Fiction | 33 Comments
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Having had the better part of five days to think about the film adaptation of The Other Boleyn Girl and the time to read the reviews of other bloggers and movie critics, I feel that there needs to be some discussion about the rape scene.  The more I think about it, the more appalled I become.  I don’t believe it ever happened and portraying such an act is a disservice to those who had no previous knowledge of Tudor History.

In reality, Henry and Anne’s courtship was about 6 years old before they were married and it was only several months beforehand that they were sexually intimate. While I’m certain that there was something about Anne that fueled Henry’s fire, for her to have kept his interest for that long before the relationship was consummated, there had to be something else there for his desire, there was more to their relationship than just sexual attraction.  If his primary goal was to have her, he would not have waited a minute let alone five plus years.  Anne was an intelligent and astute woman.  She knew that the chase is what kept Henry interested.  Still, she knew exactly when the opposite was true.  Anne was many things, but she was not a victim.  She desired the throne of England and she worked and manipulated her way to just that spot.  What she did not take into account was the difficulty in keeping Henry without a male heir.  This was a difficulty she created for herself.  Had she not gone to the lengths to support the separation of England from the Roman Catholic Church she may never have been Queen of England, but she probably would have kept her head.  There is no way to be sure, but I can’t imagine her not being aware of that.  I think that Natalie Portman did an excellent job portraying how quickly Anne Boleyn went from having it all to constantly worrying about losing it all.

So why did the movie choose rape as the vehicle for the consummation of Henry and Anne’s relationship?  The only rational explanation I can come up with is that the film did not deal with the length of their courtship.  It wasn’t just washed over, either.  At the end of the movie when Mary‘s children were frolicking in the fields with Elizabeth, Elizabeth was very close in age to Henry Carey.  Since they eliminated the time and struggle involved with breaking with the Roman Catholic Church, they needed another device to explain Anne’s pregnancy at the time of their marriage and her coronation. This bothers me.  Henry was no saint, but he still deserves honest treatment.

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