Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Washington's Lady by Nancy Moser

I feel a little like one part of Ebert & Roeper here and I will tell you why in a minute.

Until recently I had never heard of Nancy Moser, but a very positive review of her most recent historical fiction novel intrigued me and I decided to read Washington's Lady for my next book.

I picked up my copy at the library late last week. I only made it about a quarter of the way into the story before I tossed it aside. I couldn't finish it... I was either gagging or rolling my eyes. Something was bugging me the entire time I was reading, but I couldn't quite place my finger on it. Today I returned the book to the library. Having now had a little more time to think about it, this is the conclusion I've reached.

Washington's Lady is the story of Martha Washington and her romance and marriage to our first Commander in Chief, George Washington. The story is written in the first person and the author did a good deal of research. Her story includes many true accounts, but also quite a bit of fiction.

Having just finished a 600+ story of life during the early 19th century (which was written during the mid 19th century) I found Moser's writing hard to swollow. As I read I couldn't help but feel something wasn't right -- the writing voice sounded too modern... or when it didn't sound modern it sounded like the author was doing her best to make the voice sound old-fashioned.

Another reason I didn't enjoy the book was Martha. I realize the real Martha was human and I have no false conceptions otherwise, however the character of Martha in this book really came across as a spoiled bratt... don't even get me started on the fictional conversations she would have concerning her children. I realize they might be based upon true principles that she had, but the overall scene was grating to my nerves as a reader.

Nancy Moser may be a very good writer, but in my mind her books fall into the "Potato Chip" novel category. Something I might read on occasion, but not something I make a regular diet of and not something I push myself to finish when it just tastes stale.

So, if I were one half the movie critic team of Ebert & Roeper this would be the one that I'd give a tumbs down to. But don't let that stop you from checking the book out yourself. If you are into historical fiction, particularly women's romance this might be the book for you. And to be fair, if you wish to read a positive review of this book check it out here.

1 comment:

Carrie said...

I'm GLAD to hear your review! That's awesome. When I read another MOser book I'll link over to this review to give people a balanced perspective. ;)

I do admit to being jarred a few times by Moser's attempts to write the story "in period." She does that with Just Jane too and I'm not sure if I wouldn't prefer her to just not do that. I finally decided it was her way of trying to remind her readers that they reading about a different time period. It's just that every word spelled in its more original form was glaring at me and was more of a distraction.

Still, that didn't prevent me from enjoying the book.