Historical Fantasy

HSchinske at aol.com HSchinske at aol.com
Sat Sep 18 14:02:32 EDT 2004

In a message dated 9/17/04 4:34:22 PM Central Daylight Time, I wrote:

> > I read bits of this and thought it was godawful, alas. It did sound *so*
> > promising ...

and Dorian responded:

> Did you think so?  I read that description that Judith posted and
> immediately thought, "that'll be awful!".
> Why did I think that?  Well, I'm not an expert, but "Gemma" does not sound
> like a Victorian (of any part of the period) name to me; it seems mid-C20.
> And "Doyle" is an Irish name, but "Spence Academy" sounds thoroughly
> English - and at this point, I'm getting into the Irish mind-set that says
> "Doyle" is Catholic and "Spence Academy" is Protestant, and never the twain
> shall meet, at least not without major class/race/religion issues that the
> blurb doesn't mention.  My immediate reaction was that the author had not
> done his/her homework.

Keep in mind that it was some entirely different blurb that I had read, so I 
don't know if I even knew the name of the heroine, school, etc. I just thought 
anyone who was likely to combine India, magic, the Victorian era, and school 
stories in the same book was likely to be a writer I would be interested in.

I posted to Usenet some time back

"You can read an excerpt here: 
http://www.randomhouse.com/teens/greatbeauty/excerpt.html . My first impression is that the Indians are caricatured and her 
historical knowledge isn't that great (crinolines? in 1895? that was bustle 
era, and neither one was worn by sixteen-year-olds, or in the plural). I didn't 
see anything that really grabbed me about it. Mind you, I am allergic to 
first-person-present-tense narratives, that might have something to do with it."

I think I may have been partly wrong about crinolines -- some of the things 
we now call "bustles" may then have been described as a different-shaped 
crinoline. I still don't think anyone wore more than one at a time!

Helen Schinske
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