Friday, September 11, 2009

Prince of Midnight; Laura Kinsale

I'm sure there are people who won't believe this, but this is a DNF for me. PoM fell flat on its face because the plot hit a hurdle that up until now I hadn't realized I have. In this review, I will be discussing things that happen up to page 100 or so & I may reference things that are or would be spoilers. Consider yourself warned. My copy is a hardcover put out by Avon in 1990 and has Fabio on the cover. The cover pictured here is a Sourcebooks cover, according to Amazon.

Prince of Midnight is set in late 18th century France amid the revolution. Leigh Strachan is a young Englishwoman running around France disguised as young man. She's looking for a legendary highwayman whom she wants to teach her swordsmanship. Ms. Kinsale turns a typical plot on its head by making Leigh the one who burns for vengeance. S.T. Maitland, despite being disabled by severe vertigo and deafness in one ear, is the highwayman Leigh is looking for. Let's just say that Leigh is a tad surprised when she realizes that Maitland is indeed who she's looking for.

Now, I love to read about women in disguise as young men, women who seek vengeance for a wrong committed against them or those they love. I liked the topsy turvy aspect of Maitland being the one who falls head over heels in love, no matter how improbable I found it. The problem I ran up against is that Leigh's desire for revenge is based on religious persecution of her family. The abuses could have been made as a power grab or for revenge or any number of other reasons.

I did a little investigating & found out that there was religious persecution of certain individuals in England during this time period and possibly in the place mentioned. This is all fine. All fiction has grains of truth embedded within it. However, I am tired of reading books wherein the main character's personal problems are rooted in active persecution of that person or their loved ones by religious functionaries. It may well be true- I have no argument with that truth. I am simply tired of reading about it. I am tired of reading fictionalized accounts of the abuses of religious authorities. Why is it so hard to find fiction that reveals the good things faith does?

*Sigh* I chose not to finish PoM. There is already too much authentic, serious, faith based controversy in the news for me to be able to set this aside in the fiction I read.

ETA: Corrected author's name in the title. My apologies to all! :(


sybil said...

Haven't read this one and was thinking when I read your review I would be all agreeing... but I admit now I want to *g*.

Why is it so hard to find? Prolly because it is a great conflict and a really easy one to find 'true to life' at the time for authors to grow their characters on.

Go west my friend *g*. Lots of westerns, I find it in the older ones tons, have a strong faith base. Well in one of the characters... There can still be a struggle or so. Just finished KristieJ fave Outlaw Hearts by Rosanne Bittner. And where nothing is base on the good of religious authorities (don't know if I have ever read that outside of inspy fiction - and even that would be a good man of the cloth or two) you might have better luck in the west than in England.

Or I am just a westernho *g*.

Marg said...

You confused me for a moment. Your post title says by Lisa Kleypas but the book cover is by Laura Kinsale.

I was lookng at my list of Lisa Kleypas books thinking I have read them all and there were a couple I wasn't all that fond of, but I can't find this one! Maybe it is just too early in the morning for me to be up blog hopping! LOL!

Tara Marie said...

I read this when it was new. I remember liking it, but the story only sounds vaguely familiar. I will admit that it was the only book I've ever bought for the cover--I hate to admit this part--it was Fabio on a black horse.

Bookwormom said...

Sybil~ I'd love to read your review of PoM! As for trying westerns, I think I'm going to read some of the Westerns that have been reviewed recently.

Marg~ The fault is all mine. I mixed up the author names. I've corrected it now. Sorry about that!

Tara~ That's the cover I have too!

Happy Weekend Reading Ladies!


Taja said...

I loved PRINCE OF MIDNIGHT and it was a total surprise because unlike you, I don't like to read about women in disguise as men. In fact, I usually avoid stories with that element. But despite that, I read on and I'm so glad I did. Partly because I thought the religious element interesting, but I also found so much more to like.

It looks like we're on opposite ends with this novel :) but I can see where you're coming from and why you choose to quit.

Bookwormom said...

Taja~ I was surprised at my reaction, TBH. Fr'Ex- I read Lynn Viehl's Darkyn series, where faith is villainized & so far I've managed to be ok with it. Maybe it's paranormal element? Removes the plot from real life enough to make it ok?

*shrug* I can't really explain why this element is such a negative in this title for me. I probably would've liked it quite a bit otherwise.