Saturday, August 4, 2012

Catherine the Inquisitor by Leigh Jenkins

Rating: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Obtained from: Personal Kindle Library
Read: August 3, 2012 

He killed his wives, broke from Catholicism and founded his own church. But history could have been quite different for Henry the VIII, as author Leigh Jenkins proves in this alternative history series, if only one key moment had changed in each of his marriages. The first book of the series, Catherine the Inquisitor, explores how life would have been different if Henry and Catherine's first child, a boy named Henry, had lived instead of died less than six weeks after his birth. With his much sought after heir, Henry would feel no need to create the Church of England or travel down the destructive path that led to his wives’ murders. But would that have been best for England? Jenkins delves inside one of history's greatest enigmas – the mind of King Henry the VIII of England. This intense, often poignant, look at King Henry shows that, with a twist of fate, England could have remembered a very different king.

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Eventually I'm going to have to start heeding the warnings of other readers or I'm going to straight up lose all semblance of sanity. Despite plenty of warnings, I attempted Leigh Jenkins' Catherine the Inquisitor. The end result? Well, I spent an entire evening telling myself that opening a review with the line 'fuck wank bugger shitting arse head and hole' isn't constructive even if it does describe my reading experience.

By the end of the first chapter I had pretty much determined the book wasn't my kind of read and I figured I would be penning yet another 'not for me' two star review. Catherine is a domineering ox with absolutely no regard for her husband's title or position? Henry is a sniveling weakling with no aptitude for life at court? I thought we were exploring what might have been had Catherine's son survived infancy, but this felt more like a a visit to the twilight zone. 

Now different interpretations of character aren't unheard of. It happens right? Not a big deal. You agree to disagree and walk away. Other issues were harder for me to ignore.

  • Loc. 349: "In turn, Edward's sons had been smothered by their uncle who was in pursuit of the throne."

    They were smothered? By Richard? This has been definitively proven? Can I see a coroner's report and a copy of the trial proceedings? Forgive me but last I checked the fate of Edward V and his brother Richard of Shrewsbury remains unsolved and again, the only fact that was supposed to be changed, is the survival of Catherine's son.
     
  • Loc. 761: "[Catherine] had not been so demanding earlier in our marriage. I was not sure if Catherine had not noticed my infidelities or if she hadn't cared as long as I came to her bed."

    Really? I could have sworn that not only was she that demanding but that she was also well aware of your philandering. Loc. 114: "' I will be churched in two weeks. See that she is gone.' It was useless to act as though I hadn't taken a lady to my bed while Catherine had been lying in the past month. I gave her a short nod and left her chamber..."
     
  • I can forgive the odd typo, even the most seasoned and respected writers make them, but repeated errors are particularly distracting and can leave readers with a very negative impression of one's work. 

    Various Locations: Margaret Beufort (Beaufort) 

    Various locations: King Louise of France (Louis)  

    Various locations: weld (wield)  

    Various locations: lead (led) 

I think Jenkins had an interesting concept but as the saying goes 'writing is ten percent inspiration and ninety percent perspiration.' I feel Catherine the Inquisitor has potential in terms of concept but the piece, as it currently stands, is more than a little rough. 

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Mary nodded and looked towards her mother but it seemed that Catherine, white with shock over the loss of her son, was not prepared to say anything. With a smile, Mary turned to look at me, her face strong and proud. 
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2 comments:

Misfit said...

I thought the Henry VIII and the Zombies one by her was funny in a bad sort of way, but I couldn't finish this at all. Yes, to the typos.

The Flashlight Reader said...

Lol. I don't think I'm brave enough to attempt it though I think I would have less trouble with it than I did this one.