[DWJ] Fwd: Worst Book of 2010: _Soulless_ by Gail Carriger

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Mon Mar 7 00:45:20 EST 2011

I can only speak to about the first fifty pages of the book, but the main
problem is that while Carriger's culture is set in Victorian England, her
characters' behaviors and so forth are Regency.  The balls they attend have
all the markers of Regency era society.  There are references to attending
Almack's, which was very popular throughout the early years of the 19th
century, but which waned in popularity after Victoria ascended the throne
and was closed down entirely in 1863--considerably before the apparent time
setting of the novel. The relationships Carriger depicts between men and
women are a mix of Victorian and Regency social mores, particularly the
disparities between what the heroine's mother talks about as proper female
behavior and what is implied by Lord Maccon as appropriate for women.

In terms of just flat out errors, the one that struck me was the main
character's reference to being "put on the shelf" at, what, 15?  Aside from
this being a conceit of the Regency era, NOT the Victorian, 15 years old is
far too young to have been in society at all, no matter what part of the
19th century you lived in.  Also, you don't get "put on the shelf."  "On the
shelf" just means a woman was considered too old to make a good match and
happened when you'd failed to make a splash in society.  It was never
something that was done to anyone.

I have no doubt that Carriger has done her homework with regard to the
institutions of the day, but she really hasn't done enough.  Being an
archaeologist would not help her with such a modern era, either.  For the
most part, the things she writes about really existed, but she seems
extremely confused as to *when* they happened or what it meant for the
development of society.

(My husband disliked Evermore too.  He gets these books from Audible and
listens to them constantly.  Since he's more adventurous a reader than I am
(and liked Soulless too BTW) I get to hear about all the really crappy ones.
That was one.)

Melissa Proffitt

On Mon, 7 Mar 2011 09:06:19 +1100, Chelsea Watson wrote:

>I'm interested to know what discrepancies between Victorian and Regency
>culture you picked up.
>It seemed pretty darn accurate to me, although being a follower of her blog,
>knowing shes and archaeologist, and seeing all the
>snippets of Victorian research she posts may sway me to believe they are
>fairly accurate without grounds.
>Also I really enjoyed them (history aside) as light, fun reading.
>My worst book of 2010 was probably Evermore by Alyson Noel. It actually, *
>actually* had no plot.
>On 4/03/11 12:36 PM, "Melissa Proffitt" <Melissa at Proffitt.com> wrote:
>Worst Book of 2010: _Soulless_ by Gail Carriger
>Call me crazy, but somehow I expect the author of a steampunk book to
>know the difference between Regency and Victorian culture. It's got a cute
>premise, but the main character annoyed me and the author annoyed me
>even more. Unfortunately I have a friend who loves the series, so I have to
>restrain myself from ranting as much as I'd like. (This book suddenly
>a lot better now that I already have a candidate for Worst Book of
>From Chelsea

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