Thursday, January 4, 2007

The Haunted Sisters

Like the new blog colors? They struck me as being more Plaidy-ish than the orange that was there before.

Anyway, I finished reading The Haunted Sisters yesterday, and enjoyed it thoroughly. It's the story of Mary and Anne, daughters of James II, and covers the latter part of Charles II's reign to the death of King William at the hands of the Little Gentleman in Black Velvet--the mole whose hole caused the king's horse to throw its rider. In between these events, intrigue and treachery abound.

The characters are vividly drawn. Neither Mary nor Anne is particularly sympathetic at first, as both are living in the shadows of other people--Mary in that of her husband William, Anne in that of the ubiquitous Sarah Churchill. Mary grows from the passive tool of her husband into a ruler able to make wise decisions, and even Anne is beginning to develop a backbone by the end of the novel. Indeed, part of the fun of the novel is seeing Sarah get her comeuppance on occasion. Sarah herself, though thoroughly disagreeable, is vastly entertaining; horrible to live with, no doubt, but fun to watch. Anne's sickly son, the Duke of Gloucester, is charming without being cloying.

I'm looking forward to the sequel to this, The Queen's Favorites, and will be on the lookout for The Three Crowns (about William) and William's Wife (about Mary). In the meantime, Maureen Waller's 2002 nonfiction book, Ungrateful Daughters: The Stuart Princesses Who Stole Their Father's Crown, is a fascinating and readily available account of the events covered in these novels.


Daphne said...

I have this one but haven't read it yet. I think it was one of the first Plaidy books I bought on ebay when I really wasn't sure what I was reading about or what I was doing.

Sounds like a good one.

Gata said...

Another Plaidy I haven't read yet (amazingly). I did read The Queen's Favorites, though after 5 years I've forgotten the minor details. Caroline the Queen, I think it was, features Sarah Churchill in her later years, domineering as always though less successful. She had such a sense of entitlement, but I guess that's how people get what they want.

Susan Higginbotham said...

Hi, ladies!

I'll have to look into Caroline the Queen--and I want to get a copy of a biography of Sarah Churchill if I get to the university library this weekend.

Sherhazade said...

I like the new look.

Susan Higginbotham said...

Thanks, Sherhazade! I was excited to find the Royal typewriter--it seemed good for Plaidy.