I have a new book ready for publication. It’s a romantic romp in the time of the War of the Roses with Robbie Ovedale (handsome Northumbrian who likes nothing better than dealing head blows to Scots) and Mary Margaret Douglas (a bit of an Amazon-type with red hair, a bad temper and a dislike of all things English.)
Ignoring the fact that they exist only in my head, I looked for pictures of them. After wasting a good hour of my precious time I gave it up. So use your imagination.
Instead, here’s a picture of Northumberland where Robbie lived. Lovely, isn’t it?
I haven’t set a publication day for this one yet. I’m prevaricating. Maybe in June.
Imagined history or alternative history is not my usual choice, but I thought if the author could make me believe in Tsar Alexei, I could get over my bias. I found Alexei as a 16-year-old to be fun-loving and impulsive; as a man, devoted to duty and his family but rather too prone to tears and saying “I’m sorry.”
The writing is good, with only a few grammatical error or typos and the author did her research. I checked some things that I thought might be incorrect but in each case she was right.
However, my credulity was stretched by some of the sub-plots. Examples: Lenin had an audience and brought a gun along to shoot the Tsar, but instead was shot by Alexei; the Tsar sent his son and heir to kill Hitler; an uncle, or cousin, threw a glass ashtray at the haemophiliac Tsar, did not even apologise and wasn’t punished. Incidents like this make the story unbelievable. Even if it’s alternative history, the author needs to make it believable.
Any story about Russia is bound to be confusing because of the names. So many people had the same name. Many of them also had nicknames. The confusion in this book is compounded by a) the number of characters with the same name b) the use of proper names and nicknames c) having characters of the same name in the same scene. Many times characters were introduced into a scene where they had no part to play. The list of characters at the beginning of the book instead of the end and their relationship to the Tsar would have been helpful. All of this made the story difficult to read.