Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Soap Opera In King's Court

THE POISON BED by Elizabeth Fremantle is a historical fiction novel set in the 1600s. Robert Carr and Frances Howard are accused of murder. Switching between the past and present, as well as the POV of both husband and wife, the author reveals the events leading up to the murder trial and outcome.

To be blunt, this novel is far more fiction than historical, and a quick google search would make the many inaccuracies quite obvious. However, I chose to read this story for the intrigue and drama, and Fremantle delivers both in a murder-mystery style. In some ways, this novel reminded me of Earthly Joys by Philippa Gregory, as Robert falls in with Northampton, the way Tradescant falls in with Buckingham.

As for the story structure, it is off-putting. I didn't mind switching between Her and Him, but the back and forth in time is not always clear, and disrupts the flow of the overall story. (I don't understand why authors think jumping around in time builds suspense.) I did stay interested from beginning to end, and read this novel in one sitting.

If you're a fan of soap operas and crime dramas, you might enjoy Fremantle's fiction.

As always,

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