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Here Was a Man - Norah Lofts

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Genre: Fiction / Author: Norah Lofts / Edition: paperback / softback / Paperback / 192 Pages / Book is published 2009-02-23 by The History Press

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      22.06.2011 11:58
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      Quite possibly the worst historical novel I've ever read

      Growing up in the company of smugglers and fishermen, Walter Raleigh had a passionate interest in exploring from a young age, and hoped that as an adult he would be able to travel the world making new discoveries. His intelligence and wit result in him gaining an excellent reputation, and becoming a close friend and trusted advisor of the ageing Queen Elizabeth. However , success comes at a price , and reluctant to let him leave her court, Elizabeth thwarts his plans for future exploration .....

      This is the first book I've read about Walter Raleigh, so I was looking forward to learning quite a lot about this man, who was rather an important figure at Elizabeth's court. Sadly though, the book never seemed to really get moving - it started off at a snails pace and continued in much the same manner throughout .

      I found I could feel very little connection to Raleigh as a person - a lot of the book focused more on his political and tactical decisions, and not much on his inner thoughts or personality, and I really felt I never got to know him, only his discoveries and his various military successes and failures. This was a real shame, as I find that in a historical novel the key to keeping my interest is for me to feel bonded with the central characters in some way, or at least to have some strong feeling, either fondness or intense dislike, about the person . I just found Raleigh rather bland, and some of his behaviours very stupid.

      I also found the book very confusing and at times shockingly inaccurate . For example, Lettice Knollys marries Robert Deveraux, Earl of Essex, in this book. For those not familiar with the history of this period, I should point out that Robert Deveraux was in fact Lettice's son , so such a marriage would have been impossible. I do appreciate that sometimes a little artistic licence is acceptable to make a story more interesting, but it is never in my mind right to mess around with well known names and present blatant untruths in such a way as they may be taken as fact!

      Overall, I found this book incredibly disappointing . I never developed much interest in Raleigh, and the mistake mentioned above made the book incredibly frustrating to read, as I didn't know how much was true and how much just made up or cobbled together from rumour and half truth . Not a book I can recommend - only 1 STAR .

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