Saturday, October 8, 2011

Interesting History: Mediocre Fiction

Tides of War explores London society and the English forces during the time of the Peninsular War. James and Harriet are recently married, but he has to rejoin his regiment in Spain. Will that impact their marriage? The Duke of Wellington and his wife Kitty are leading separate lives with more or less enjoyment. We see these characters and many more responding to the conditions of society during the Peninsular War when men were absent and women had more freedom.

The book does a good job of telling the story of the Peninsular War from the standpoint of the troops. We see the battle for Badajoz from the standpoint of one of the soldiers. Very interesting portrayal of how battle affects reasonable men. During the same period, we see how women begin to feel their power and exercise their options both in business and love when their husbands are away.

The major problem with the novel is that we follow too many characters. Sometimes it's hard to remember who they are. The author cuts back and forth between characters in a chapter which can be disconcerting. The historical detail is excellent, but the characters don't come to life. The problem with the characters may be that there are too many of them, so we don't become an advocate for anyone.

I recommend this book for the historical context, but it's not a novel for light reading.

I reviewed this book for the Amazon Vine Program.