Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Parr-fectly Confusing

As you probably know, Jean Plaidy wrote a historical novel about Katherine Parr called The Sixth Wife. It's recently been reissued, both in the US and the UK. The UK cover is quite pretty.

Now comes another historical novel about Katherine Parr, this one by Suzannah Dunn (author of The Queen of Subtleties). The title? You guessed it: The Sixth Wife. To make matters worse, the UK covers are somewhat similar--although the Plaidy cover has a "headless woman" cover and the Dunn cover has a woman with her face turned away from the reader, they're each wearing ivory-colored dresses, and both have a script typeface.

Of course, it's quite common to see novels sharing the same title (Plaidy, Sharon Penman, and Juliet Dymoke all have novels called The Sun in Splendor, with variations in spelling), but one thinks that with the Plaidy book having been reissued, Dunn's publishers might have come up with a different title.

Plaidy novel-in-progress report: I'm reading The Pleasures of Love, about Catherine of Braganza, and am enjoying it very much. (By the way, if you do a search on Amazon USA for "The Pleasures of Love," be sure to put "Plaidy" in the search bar too, or be prepared to pull up all sorts of non-Plaidy items, and make sure that your boss isn't looking over your shoulder.)


Deirdre said...

I hope Dunn's forthcoming novel is better than her last one on Anne Boleyn, which used a bunch of distracting modern slang. I don't mind novelists updating the language a bit, but to have Anne talk like a valley girl is a bit annoying. As for the title, I wish authors would be a little more original. Carolly Erickson at least varied her title a little so that it was called "The Last Wife of Henry VIII",(but IIRC, Erickson's novel also had a "headless woman" cover,albeit it also portrayed a ghostly Henry VIII hovering in the background) but my favorite title for a novel about Catherine Parr is probably Mary Luke's "The Ivy Crown".

Isn't the Catherine of Braganza novel one of the ones that is being reissued over the next year or so? I think I read that somewhere online but I'm not sure.

Susan Higginbotham said...

I picked up the Anne Boleyn novel but didn't read it--I found the slang too offputting. I'll probably get the forthcoming one from the library.

The Ivy Crown is my favorite Catherine Parr novel. Nice title, too.

I heard somewhere that Pleasures of Love was being reissued, but I didn't see it on the Three Rivers site.