30/01/2007

Victoria's Walk (by Caroline Grey)

The blurb at the back of 'Victoria's Walk' by Caroline Grey sounded reasonably interesting. Victoria, lively young American widow of a missionary, wants to visit Africa again. She takes a job as governess for the daughters of General William Dobree, who is about to go to Cape Town during the Boer War period. Calamity strikes the voyage, and Victoria ends up using her courage and resourcefulness attempting to lead several people to civilisation.

It's a historical novel which seemed very well-researched from the military point of view; unfortunately I'm not particularly interested in war, and know very little about this period. Worse still, the people did not seem particularly believable: their language often seemed far too modern for the late 19th century, and their discussions entirely unlike that I could imagine any young women having.

I wanted to like Victoria, but simply couldn't identify with her - or, indeed, any of the other characters - in any way. Moreover I found parts of the book distinctly sordid and distasteful - although as I didn't feel anything for any of the people, I didn't feel any pain when they died horirble deaths or suffered unpleasant experiences. I kept reading (skimming some of the duller parts) as there was a sort of compulsiveness about the plot, but despite the main characters being women, it felt far too masculine a book. Not recommended.

Then I learned that the author is in fact a man using a pseudonym!


(This does not seem to be in print, or even available second-hand, at either the UK or US Amazon)

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