Tuesday, 28 May 2013

The Other Queen, Philippa Gregory, Levels 4

So the bad news is that Levels 4 'The Walled Lake' is growing slowly. The good news is that my distractions are fun....

The Walled Lake is a new kind of book for me. It has four main characters, for a start, and a dozen extras. Levels 1-3 were like threads that I woven together into a line from beginning to end. Levels 4 is more like a fabric, or a lace, with different stories criss-crossing each other, and some of them not reaching an end. It surprises me all the time, and so a big part of the slowness is caused by continually going back to the beginning to lay the foundations for exciting events I've just thought of...

Two of the characters are Maddie, the heroine of the first three books, and Oh Sanden, who you will know if you read 'Reason to be Shy.' Their relationship is complicated, and so it was a happy accident that I read 'The Other Queen' while I was working.

This tells the story of three women, Elizabeth the first of England, Mary Queen of Scots - her cousin and prisoner, and Bess of Hardwick, who is forced to use up all her resources and give over her house as Mary's prison. The women are forceful, and dramatic and they clash openly and surreptitiously.
Though you know how the story will end, because it's all true, it's completely captivating because of the strength of the characters, which is kind of a lesson for me.