Monday, 23 May 2016

The Crimson Ribbon - Katherine Clements

Everyone had finished the book that attended book club this month.

The main points that came from our discussion was that we felt that we were following things through the wrong person, we would have preferred to be watching through Lizzie Poole's eyes rather than Ruth. That would have meant we would have some idea as to why she did what she did. We wanted to know why Lizzie became as politically active as she did, it just seemed to come out of the blue for us as readers. Given that there was so little written about Lizzie Poole in terms of first hand evidence the author really could have done a lot more with her in terms of giving her possible reasons for her behaviour.

We also wanted to have more from the other characters in the book like Joseph, as he was one of the only characters we actually liked. We would have liked a little more of his history as it did seem interesting to do with the printing presses etc.

We all felt that Lizzie was a very spoilt character who seemed to do everything she could simply to get attention with little thought as to how it would affect those around her or even how things would pan out for her. We honestly could not see what Ruth did in Lizzie, why did she follow her like a little puppy dog into so much trouble? Lizzie seemed to think of people as simply things to acquire to make her feel special. She wanted Ruth so she just took her and took advantage of her, and this happened with a few other people in the book as well.

Considering when this book is set we didn't really feel any kind of fear either to do with the politics of the day or to do with the witch trials, both of which Lizzie and Ruth were mixed up in. We all wanted more background in these elements put into the book because to be honest it really could have been anywhere with the amount of historical detail we felt we'd been given. The witch trials especially could have been a really interesting element given how the book started. We felt that there was a lot of missed opportunities in this book overall. We came away from the book with not much more knowledge about this period in history than we had going into it, not the sign of a good historical novel.

We really didn't like the insta-love between characters and the love triangles that happened. This just made it feel like a badly written YA type book relying on the typical love tropes.

We gave this book 5 out of 10.

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