Joanne Limburg s A Want of Kindness is an intriguing mix of fact and fiction combining to create the very poignant story of the life of Queen Anne, last of the Stuart monarchs We learn of her close friendships and reliance on those who serve her, particularly Sarah Jennings Churchill, who use their position to further the advancement of family and friends often for a price The intrigues of the court and the eventual overthrow of Anne s father, King James 11 because of his Catholic faith, mean that Anne s sister Mary became joint monarch along with her husband William and move Anne one step nearer to the throne Mary appears to be barren so it is up to Anne to produce the next Stuart heir and the saddest element of the story is to read of constant stillbirths, miscarriages, babies living for a short time and just one sickly son who eventually dies aged 11 to show for 18 or 19 pregnancies One can only imagine the devastating sadness at losing so many children despite, or maybe because of, the different cures she tried over the years And perhaps even sadder is her thought that it was God s punishment for her condoning her father s overthrow Throughout the book Anne comes across as a rather needy, but kind and generous women, who would have been much better suited to being a middle class matron with a nursery full of healthy children However she also shows extraordinary courage and resolution when coping with illness, loss of many children, the replacement of her father by her sister and brother in law and the unkindness of others Her over reliance on others such as Sarah Churchill is perhaps understandable given that she was often ignored or sometimes even persecuted by the King and Queen so friends were hard to find The book contains many genuine letters both to and from Anne which interweave nicely with small vignettes of daily life building an interesting and very believable story of a sad and rather pathetic Queen in waiting I m sure it will appeal to fans of historic fiction life myself and is an informative and enjoyable read.
Every Time I See The King And The Queen, I Am Reminded Of What It Is I Have Done, And Then I Am Afraid, I Am Beyond All Expression AfraidThe Wicked, Bawdy Restoration Court Is No Place For A Child Princess Ten Year Old Anne Cuts An Odd Figure A Sickly Child, She Is Drawn Towards Improper Pursuits Cards, Sweetmeats, Scandal And Gossip With Her Ladies Of The Bedchamber Figure Large In Her Life But As King Charles S Niece, Anne Is Also A Political Pawn, Who Will Be Forced To Play Her Part In The Troubled Stuart DynastyAs Anne Grows To Maturity, She Is Transformed From Overlooked Princess To The Heiress Of England Forced To Overcome Grief For Her Lost Children, The Political Manoeuvrings Of Her Sister And Her Closest Friends And Her Own Betrayal Of Her Father, She Becomes One Of The Most Complex And Fascinating Figures Of English History Why do we read historical novels centered on real people If the answer is to get insight into their interior lives via the license of a novelist to attempt to reconstruct it, this book is not a good choice Queen Anne was deeply shortchanged in life her father, James the turd deliberately educated her as a country squires wife rather than a potential heir to the throne, her bad eyesight made self education difficult, and her status usually meant that she was acted upon rather than a decision maker, even up to her elevation to the throne Someone who could show us what this was like would have a terrific book, but Limberg has chosen a style in which she can t manage to both give the background of complex Restoration events like the Titus Oates affair AND Anne s limited view of them, and she lacks a sense of her subject past dull, over emotional fat girl Still waiting for a good novel about Anne.
A wonderfully readable and well researched historical novel, cleverly interspersed with letters etc written by Anne, so you really get an insight into her personality and into life at the royal court For me and I m sure for a lot of people she seems to have been completely overlooked by history and I know that before reading this book the only thing I could have told you about her was that she gave her name to a style of furniture.
I now know that she lived through incredibly turbulent times in British history Niece to Charles II, daughter of James II and sister of Queen Mary whose husband was William III, she learnt how to walk a veritable tightrope of family and religious loyalties She suffered many personal tragedies and as she grew older suffered ill health as a result, it is no wonder she died at a relatively young age I found this book to be very engaging as we follow Anne from a young Princess in the court of Charles II up until the point where she is on the brink of becoming Queen The court intrique, religious tensions between Protestants and Catholics and Anne s family relationships are brought wonderfully to life The only thing that has stopped me from giving this book a five star review is the abrupt ending I would have liked to have seen the story continue into Anne s reign as Queen instead of stopping before she was crowned That aside, I really did enjoy this book and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading Philippa Gregory and Hilary Mantel and also to anyone who just enjoys a really good story.
A historical novel looking at the life of Queen Anne, before she became the British monarch most of us probably know the least about Born in 1665 as niece to King Charles II she grew up at Court and had to learn to serve whichever King was in power, whether she agreed with their political and religious views or not As she grew older she moved closer to the top of the line of succession while having to deal with illnesses, pregnancies and the intrigues of her Ladies in Waiting and of those who would take power I enjoy some historical novels, having particularly liked some by Alison Weir and Elizabeth Freemantle s book about Katherine Parr, so I was very happy to receive Joanne Limburg s book from the Real Readers programme It s a thick book, covering a long period of time, so there s lots to get your teeth into I have to admit to not knowing much about Anne prior to reading the book, other than her having no children to inherit the throne and the fact that her weight necessitated a higher than usual number of bearers to carry her coffin Having read this novel I now feel that I know much about her, and about the fight for the British throne between Protestant and Catholic rivals.
The majority of the book is written in the third person, in the present tense, and in a series of individual scenes which don t join up in the way a traditional novel narrative does The rest of it is in the form of letters from Anne to various other characters much of the content of these is taken verbatim from Anne s real letters There are benefits and disadvantages to all of these elements The non letter parts of the book felt quite bitty to me so I was left feeling I was seeing only scenes from a life, rather than a life entire I also found it quite distancing and that it only served to keep me away from Anne as a person though perhaps it is fitting that I, as a mere commoner, cannot get too close to the Queen It s undoubtedly a very cinematic style I also found the present tense narration irritating at times This kind of narration seems to be fashionable at the moment, following the success of Wolf Hall, but I find it a bad fit with a historical novel I think the author s intention in using it is probably to sweep away the conventions of the historical novel and make what she is describing immediate, but to me it felt in places like it was just a gimmick used with one eye on the book s film rights The letters from Anne were interesting, but I hated the font used for them in the uncorrected proof I read and found it hard on the eyes Again I think the intention was to make them as handwriting like as possible and therefore to increase their immediacy, but I quickly got cross with the font and ended up just skim reading the letters, which is a shame.
Despite all this I enjoyed the portrayal of Anne and was interested in how the author suggested that the Queen s size and gout was as a result of her reliance on food as a comfort and an entertainment, an eating disorder which began in her childhood and carried on throughout her life The history of Anne s pregnancies and child bearing is also interesting and tragic on a personal level to her, regardless of its implications for the country The novel stops before Anne takes the throne, and I was disappointed by this as I would have liked to see her as Queen.
Despite all my reservations, I did enjoy the book, but never felt I could lose myself in it due to its style and structure I would still recommend it as readers of Alison Weir, Elizabeth Freemantle, and Philippa Gregory should enjoy it.
It started well but ultimately became incredibly repetitious gossip, illness, miscarriage, unkindness, God before ending rather tragically and without much warning I m sure Limburg had good reason for focusing on Anne s life prior to her reign, but honestly I couldn t figure out why the story finished before she became queen It felt unfinished Even her relationship with Sarah Churchill, and her female friendships were a heavy and interesting focus of the novel, is not explored in its entirety.
I found Anne rather unlikeable, and unforgivably, rather boring The only characters that had any real color were Sarah Churchill and Anne s short lived son William whose chapters were charming if somewhat bemusing I enjoyed the read, it was quick and interesting, but it suffered from a sudden end and a general lack of personality.
I received this book via RealReaders in exchange for an honest review.
I absolutely loved this book if you are a fan of Historical Fiction from the likes of Phillipa Gregory Hilary Mantel Alison Weir Livy Michaels etc then this book is for you Celebrating the 350th anniversay of the birth of Queen Anne this book really delves into the life of Queen Anne from child princess in the glittering restoration court to Queen of England Warning this book will take up all of your spare time as it is utterly absorbing i personally found it sad poignant at times as I really felt for this character Really well written gives great insight into the Stuart Period.
Stuart England during the reign of Charles II was rife with keynote figures and was entertaining, to say the least One of these figures, his brother James the Duke and next in line for the throne had his own drama to deal with, made complete by his offspring Mary and Anne Joanne Limburg focuses on Princess Anne in, A Want of Kindness High expectations surround A Want of Kindness as the book jacket summary raves with depth and the subject of Princess Anne is not often explored Sadly, Limburg s work is a gigantic let down Labeled as an adult market novel, A Want of Kindness is best described as a historical fiction novel for middle school students with flaws than can be noted Limburg s novel follows the life of Princess Anne starting as a child but it is lacking depth and nuances both in terms of the character and the story plot Anne doesn t standout, there is an absence of a character arc or growth, and her voice is passive This prevents the reader from getting to know Anne fictionally or historically which results in a very bland reading As aforementioned, this period in history is quite entertaining and appealing but A Want of Kindness manages to fall flat Limburg s writing is also heavy with disconnected choppiness Each chapter in A Want of Kindness is titled and basically serves as a vignette short in text and storytelling There is no smooth progression and neither is there a connection The narrative therefore fails to truly have a point and there is no buildup Although this could still work if Limburg decided on a character study driven piece A Want of Kindness is not that either Adding to the middle school feel and disjointed nature are the alternating chapters with fictionally produced letters written by Anne these are even presented in a different font This is possibly an attempt by Limburg to drive the story and allow the reader into Anne s head but quite frankly, it takes away from the already lacking story It feels like a narrator setting the stage but then with nothing truly happening There is also an issue with Limburg trying too hard to come off as literary and flowery but her metaphors and language are juvenile and come across like a student writing a creative story for a professor.
One a positive note, some of the events mentioned by Limburg as happening in Anne s world although not usually to her are historically accurate and not fluffed up Sadly, though, Limburg doesn t expand on these and brushes them off It is evident that the main inhibitor of a strong story within A Want of Kindness is a lack of surmounting history resources regarding Anne However, a truly potent HF author can take few facts and elaborately create a novel world from them which Limburg did not Basically, there is no story here Only one literally just one emotionally upright moment occurs in A Want of Kindness at approximately 200 pages in Anne s children become ill with small pox and perish This is the only time Limburg s writing is evocative and worth reading If the entire novel was as strong as this spot than it would have been another novel, entirely.
Much of the latter chapters of A Want of Kindness are very repetitive and merely traverse Anne s many pregnancies and miscarriages It is the same over and over and even this topic which could induce reader empathy is thin and one layered reducing the plot even The finality of A Want of Kindness is much of the same both regarding the story and lack of impact The ending is not momentous and overall none of the book is memorable Plus, Limburg doesn t include an Author s Note to discuss the historical liberties taken or sources used A Want of Kindness struggles in composition leaving a disjointed mess in writing style and a story lacking any pizzazz The novel is written on a juvenile level and best targeting juveniles Aside from being a teen read, there are genuinely no points of merit with A Want of Kindness and I would not read from this author again If you are seeking a look at Princess Queen Anne you won t find it here Skip This marvellous novel presents the story of Anne, daughter of James II and sister of Mary of William and Mary , until shortly before she became Queen herself in 1702 I knew next to nothing about Anne, or this particularly peculiar period of royal history, but Joanne Limburg does a superb job of bringing these days to life as well as Anne s own really rather pitiful story Riveting.