Monday, April 25, 2005

Seeing different things

At the moment, I am doing a lot of reading women's mainstream fiction. Partly because I like it and partly because I am curious.
I have discovered that Santa monefiore does nothing for me. I wanted to like her. Some Daily Mail journo said that she was the next Rosamunde Pilcher. I adore Rosamunde Pilcher. When I used to read her, I came away feeling good about life. Not with Santa Montefiore. For one thing, I notice her style too much and it gets in the way of the story. She has some good images but not enough to keep me going.
Some of this is perhaps because I have recently discovered Eileen Ramsay whom I really like and can read without thinking -- why is she doing this? Or how would I do that? Or even what has inspired. I can simply let the story flow over me.
I am finding that difficult with The Forget Me Not Sonata. I try to get inot it and then think -- oh, she did this for this effect and that for that, and that will have to have echoes here etc. In fact, I abandoned it to read the next Eileen Ramsay -- A Way of Forgiving. Having finished it and enjoyed it, I will now go back and try to get beyond the second or third chapter of the Monefiore one.
I know she is a popular novelist but somehow her work doesn't resonate with me. I simply do not see the same comparision with RP as the journalist did. Eileen Ramsay is far closer to my memories of what Ienjoyed in RosemundePilcher than Santa Montefiore.
Maybe it is because I get something different out of the Pilcher books than the journalist does. Maybe because Argentina does not excite me and the book reminds me a bit of The Jewel In the Crown (which I happened to like many years ago) rather than something new and exciting. Maybe because the POV changes seemed abrupt. There was no warning and it shifted in midsentence sometimes. Who knows. But I did not get the connection I hoped for.
Maybe my hopes were too high.
It did however give me ideas of how to structure my book, so I suppose all is not lost.
But the experience reinforced my view that people see different things from an author, and see different echoes in an author's work. My opinion is only important to me. Someone else might adore that book because they happened to read it on a day when it fit their mood or life experience.
And in the lead up to the publication of The Lady Soldier, it is helpful to remember that not everyone will adore it. Some will think -- why was this published? Other might perserve and spend a few hours reading it. And still others (maybe very few) will find a real connection and will understand what drove Kate andI to write the story and why that story had to be written.
I salute those who like Santa Montefiore but I am afraid I am not joining her avid readers.

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