Thursday, December 5, 2013

"Nora's Song" (Cecelia Holland)

So, I was pleasantly surprised by the second story in Dangerous Women to the point that prose-wise, it did actually trump Joe Abercrombie (but never in coolness). This led to curiosity about the next story and so I found time to read Cecelia Holland's Nora's Song, the third story in the anthology. 
Really, I should read more anthologies. These stories I actually manage to finish (looking at my 'currently-reading pile' I am almost stressed: The Way of Kings ,King of Thorns, Wolf Hall, Elric: Sailor on the Seas of Fate, Life in a Medieval Castle, Forgotten Realms: Prince of Lies, Forgotten Realms: The Night Parade, The Crusades: The Authoritative History of the War for the Holy Land, Forgotten Realms: Swords of Eveningstar, Forgotten Realms: Shadows of Doom, Sovereign, and there are even more. Though I am considering actually just dropping those Realms novels as they are so badly written). 

Anyway, Nora's Song grabbed my attention from the get-go, as the author introduction made it clear that the story would be a historical one, specifically about Henry II and Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, two interesting figures whose faces, in my mind, belong to the actors in the classic The Lion in Winter (1968)  - Peter O'Toole and Katherine Hepburn. This story though, is from the point of view of one of their daughters, Nora, and I found it a well-written (in the somewhat dry tone that historical fiction always seem to have) tale, and I followed along but, for some reason, it didn't really grab me, and the ending had me confused - was that it? It felt like a glimpse of some event without a real story in it; when the story ended, I didn't feel that anything had changed, not really. Then again, I might just be too dim to understand and appreciate the story and maybe there was stuff here to read between the lines that I just didn't catch.

The fourth story in the anthology is by Melinda Snodgrass and her name alone made me feel less motivated as she is involved with Wild Cards which I have a natural disliking for (surprise!). I am giving her the benefit of the doubt, though, and I am halfway through her story, and it isn't bad at all. Fortunately.

I'll try and get the second half of Sam's second chapter up soon. 

1 comment:

  1. I didn't like this one as I'm an admirer of Sharon Key Pennman's work and after her take on this historical events this feels rather bland. Loved the first two ones though, Abercombie is always on my to-read list, I think I'll push "Best Served Cold" closer to the top as I really liked how "Some Desperado" is written.