So I’m on a historical fiction binge apparently—paused in the middle of The Baroque Cycle (I have like 4 other books waiting for me untouched before I go out and buy The System of the World, as much as I’ve loved it so far), and I’ve just finished this really, really cool historical romance, Georgette Heyer’sAn Infamous Army. (Another Xmas gift, but the last of them—I was saving it for a reason but that’s another story for another time. From Neuroscientist Reenie!)
I’ve never read a lot of romance (except Austen, obviously), but I think I should start. My friend Megan once told me back in our college days that it was like cleansing the literary palate to prepare you for the next main course, and I think that’s accurate in general. But when it comes to this specific romance novel, it’s a little heavier than that because she, pretty much action-for-action, describes the battle of Waterloo. Like… the whole thing. The plot is twisted up around the preparations for battle in Brussels, though they don’t know when or where it’ll be, the Duke of Wellington’s habits and “family”, and this love story between a Colonel on his staff and this crazy “bad girl” type. Which, seeing as most of what I know of Regency comes from Jane Austen, is pretty amazing to me.
And it’s stupid engaging. It’s so weird to have a book I can relax with in the bathtub during a soak that isn’t totally insipid and pointless. It’s an odd phenomenon, and I intend to read more. Why no one introduced me to this before, I don’t know, but I have Reenie’s family to thank for this, I’m sure.
Also, the last description of Waterloo I read was in the killer Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. Where Strange keeps foisting magic off on Wellington and he’s getting all aggravated. So you know, cool to see the real deal (even if everything is more fun with magic—replacing that point of interest with the romantic hero, his bitter and useless rival, and their families and friends makes up for it.)
Apparently I’m on an actual historical binge too. I have a bunch of nonfiction that wants my attention, some of it for research but most of it just for fun this time around. I bought McCullough’s John Adams while in Philadelphia last month, because I kept seeing the ads for the miniseries and getting all excited (I bought 1776 on a trip to Mt. Vernon last summer and literally couldn’t put it down. Nerd alert.) For good reason apparently, since the first two installments last weekend were so badass I’m impatient for the next one this week.
But I defy anyone to resist the awesome of Abigail Adams.
Now playing: Arnold Schoenberg – Verklärte Nacht, Op. 4: II. Molto rallentando