Tuesday, March 31, 2009



I really liked Wally Lamb's other two books so I was anticipating a good read with this one and I got it.The story at first seems to be about the tragedy at Columbine but really it is about how a married couple deals with the fallout from the tragedy as well as other things that have affected their lives. Also the exploration of the family history of the main character takes up the latter half of the book. This may at times make it seem like HIFB is two separate stories rolled into one which can be wierd for some.What I really liked about this book was that the characters were human and really believable. I didn't necessarily like Caelum Quirk or his reactions to some of the issues he deals with in the book but it is how I would imagine a real person would react.I loved how the book dealt with the PTSD issue. I have PTSD so I was really skeptical about how accurately the author would portray the relationship between Caelum and Maureen after the Columbine fallout. I realize not all people will react the same but a lot of the symptoms are the same and Mr. Lamb nailed the struggles on that front. There were parts of the book where I felt the author had to have been standing in my living room observing me and my hubby before he wrote this book.The history of the Quirk family was interesting also but it was in this section that the story kind of got bogged down a bit. The author was laying the groundwork for this phase and it got a little less interesting but it did pick back up as the story got more involved.The story deals with heavy issues so it is probably not for someone who requires a happy ending to everything they read. It is rare that I retain much from a book for more than a day or two but this one stuck with me. Great book overall. I am looking forward to Mr. Lamb's next one.


***don't read if you don't know the history of this time period****

You would think with her taking the throne at such an early age her relatives would have had an easier time manipulating her. Not so. This is one lady who stuck to her guns throughout her entire life. She didn't let her mother or her uncle or any other member of her family push her around. During her reign the powers of the monarchy were much more limited than they had been before but it was still a big job and one she performed admirably well considering that the gov't kept changing parties and thus she was forced to change prime ministers more than normal people regularly change their underwear. She was also fortunate enough to find the love of her life and Prince Albert did seem to compliment her rather well. She governed through many difficult periods (crimean war, irish potato famine, war between prussia/denmark, russia/turkey etc). On top of all this she also popped out children faster than Ford could make a car pre-assembly line, for a grand total of 9 children, strategically marrying them off and cleverly uniting England to most of Europe. She also suffered the loss of a great many people she loved. What a Lady to have gone through this and with all the dignity and regalness expected of a queen.
Only thing that got me about the book was it didn't focus too much on the changes in the world but it was supposed to be her story from her POV so I can see why that would be.

1 comment:

Arleigh said...

I'm laughing at your popping out babies comment! Many of Plaidy's books don't give a full detailed history, but like you said, it is from the eyes of the character and so perhaps it wasn't the most important thing to their story. I remember reading The Queen's Secret and thinking there should have been more about Joan of Arc, but then I found out there is another Plaidy novel that features Joan of Arc as one of the main characters.

Thanks for the review... I will eventually get to the Victorian era!