Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Josiah Stubb - HNS Review - An Interesting Social Commentary

I had a feeling that when I wrote Josiah Stubb it might prove to be a bit controversial, and so it's turned out to be. The following is the review it received from the Historical Novel Society. The reason why I'm including it here is that I find it an interesting social commentary - not about Josiah's times, but about ourselves. What I mean is that, while this unnamed reviewer took exception to a few "graphic scenes of incest, rape, forced prostitution, and more..." claiming to be overwhelmed by it, no mention, whatsoever, was made about the equally graphic battle scenes filled with blood and carnage, which is, by far, the greater tragedy. The silence in this area leads one to believe that this greater tragedy is acceptable while the other is not.

I have no problem with the reviewer not liking Josiah Stubb - I know it's not for everyone - I just think that it's interesting why, and what that may say about us as a society.

Josiah Stubb: The Seige of Louisbourg

1758 Louisbourg, Canada. It’s several years into the Seven Years’ War, and Britain has brought its military might to Louisbourg to lay siege to its famous, and supposedly impregnable, fortress. Should it fall, it might prove the key to French Canada.
Josiah Stubb, a young grenadier, must face the bloodshed ahead while fleeing the evils and denigrations that were his childhood. Having been raised by a whore who in turn taught him to sell his own body, he is eager for a new life and new opportunities. But it all catches up with him when an officer whom he had admired instead forces him back into his old role. As the siege rages on, Josiah must face down both the enemies without and the demons within.
This novel is well-written, and Josiah proves to be a sympathetic character. I was looking forward to my first foray into historical fiction set in this era. Marketing blurbs on this book compare it to Forester’s Hornblower or Cornwell’s Sharpe. But that’s only if you add in graphic scenes of incest, rape, forced prostitution, and more. Though Lovatt portrays this all as tragic and it’s meant to make the reader sympathize with Josiah, it proved far too much for this reviewer. I cannot recommend it, which is a shame. Lovatt is a talented writer.

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