Sunday, March 20, 2011

Book 18: The Scroll of Seduction

Thanks to my friend’s great belated birthday gift, I got to read the historical fiction/romance novel called The Scroll of Seduction by Gioconda Belli. This book is a fun read while at the same time very informative.

In many ways the book has two stories to it. The first side is of Lucia and Manuel. Lucia is a young girl who become seduced by Manuel and his story telling ability. It becomes the ultimate escape from time in a boarding school and the death of her parents. Then you had the story of Juana the Mad and Philippe the Handsome. This is the true side to the tale where Juana was so in love and possessive of her husband and would stop responding to the public whenever things didn’t go her way. That deemed her as mad by history and her time. But Gioconda Belli made a very convincing argument that Juana wasn’t mad, but merely misunderstood as she instilled power over her world in the only way she knew how.

I have to agree with my friend’s assessment of the book. The ending was not good. It was rather sloppy. The part with Juana ended fine. But I didn’t like the way Belli ended the Lucia part. It was as if she ran out of ideas how to end things so she just ended the story hastily. There was a little bit of an epilogue to explain what would happen the pregnancy but it really wasn’t enough.

One of the things I really liked about the book is the history that is weaved into this story. I really didn’t know about the history of Juana. I just barely knew her name after reading loads of Philippa Gregory books since her sister was Katherine/Catalina of Aragon. Now I want to know more about Juana. She was so in love and her children were rulers of so many different countries. Plus I want to know more about Isabella and Ferdinand (her parents) in more than just a brief textbook version of their history. So that’s a good sign of an historical fiction author when they make you want to learn more about the world that has happened.

So on to the next book in my pile. Stay tuned to find out if I’m going to read a memoir/biography, a Star Trek Book, or something else.

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