Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Wedlock by Wendy Moore

Is a book good if you all liked it but can't find much to say about it? That was the case with Wedlock. A true story about Mary Eleanor Bowes' marriage to Captain Stoney, the violence she suffered at his hand and her subsequent struggle to obtain a divorce in the 1700's.

We started off fine, enthusing about how much we all liked it until suddenly we were talking about X Factor.

Ahem. This is a serious book club don't you know

Ok so lets have a serious conversation about all the local history the book contained. Oh yes we loved the fact that it was all about Newcastle. Didn't it make you want to visit Gibside Hall that is so close to us but that we've never been to. And Bowes Museum, we should have a field trip. Now Peshwari Naan Bread is far superior to Garlic...how did that creep in?!

A Chicken Chaat discussion later and we managed to discuss how easy the book was to read. Despite it being a period book there was no archaic language making it very accessible. Despite the fact that the book was a true story and Moore had done immense research (check out the bibliography, something I hadn't come across since University) you didn't get bogged down by fact and constantly felt like you were reading a story. The only word in Russian I know is Spasibo and I only know that from a book..............I'm starting to think a theme of delving off topic is occurring don't you?

Maybe it is because we are becoming more comfortable with each other. Maybe it is because there were greater numbers again this month or maybe just maybe it's because the book wasn't as good as we initially thought. You see we went round the table and all readily gave it an 8 out of 10 which makes it a good read according to our standards but it didn't really hold us, it didn't sneak up on us and catch a hold of our hearts, it didn't surprise, it didn't twist and turn. It just delivered the facts in an easy to read format.

In one final effort to bring things back on track we discussed whether the second title (How Georgian Britain's Worst Husband Met His Match) was needed. It took away any kind of suspense element to the book because as you were reading about Mary's torture (which was pretty extensive) you were left thinking well it's ok he gets his comeuppance in the end the title says so. Perhaps it would have added more to the readers experience if the book had been simply called Wedlock.

We did also spend time talking about how surprised we were about the unfairness of English Law, especially how some of the seemingly ridiculous laws have only really recently been abolished (divorce for a reason other than adultery and marital rape) but that didn't last long as french farms and second hand Christmas presents were next on the agenda.

Quite randomly it was a self confessed non reader who seemed to hold us in a conversation about a book for longest. She was meeting one of our members for the aforementioned Chicken Chaat and went on to describe a very interesting sounding childrens book about a society where black people are the dominant 'naughts' and white people are the subservient 'crosses' peppered with a Romeo and Juliet style love story. Sorry didn't get the name or the author (if anyone did please add it as a comment). It did however make me think of a possible future book being a childrens novel as they are so more advanced nowadays than the Enid Blyton I was used to as a child and its not really a genre I'm very familiar with now. Ideas on a postcard!

Talking about future books our next book is by R J Ellory - A Quiet Belief in Angels. Yes that is the one I read last month, I think I waxed too lyrical about it so I am going to read A Simple Act of Violence by Ellory instead to compare and contrast.

We have also mentioned the possibility of reviewing a Christmas Book for December which we all seemed keen on. A Christmas Carol is the obvious one but again if anyone has any different ideas have a think and let me know.

Spasibo