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Blindspot Hardcover – 9 Dec 2008


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 54 reviews
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
A rolicking romp 2 Jan. 2009
By A reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Full disclosure: I am an English teacher and an American history buff (some might say geek) and I ordered this book for three reasons: I enjoyed New York Burning, by one of this book's coauthors, Jill Lepore; I like a nice, racy 18th-century novel; and I was intrigued to learn whether two history professors could team up to write a plausibly entertaining novel in 18th-century style. So I suppose you could say I'm not really the average reader.

Given my predilections, I knew that I would enjoy the book even if it was not so great. Fortunately, it really was tremendous fun and I enjoyed the book even more than I anticipated I would. From my perspective, the book is a lark and can therefore be forgiven some of the shortcomings in weightiness that some other reviewers have objected to. While it touches upon some complex themes from American history (slavery, class, disempowerment of women), the novel does not set out to change the world or even to offer serious food for thought on these issues, which provide a context for the main story line rather than a foundation for it. Rather, the novel is primarily a love story, and this love story, in the best Shakespearian tradition, features cross dressing and mistaken identity. The most enjoyable part of the book is the cat-and-mouse play between the disguised woman and her libertine love interest before her true identity is revealed. Because he swings both ways and she makes a comely lad, he is burning with desire for her even as she lusts after him. Needless to say, this ardent desire is teased out in a number of steamy scenes before climax is finally reached.

Like some other reviewers, I found the unveiling of the solution to the murder mystery to be somewhat strained and the character of the cross-dresser's father to be rather inexplicable. On the whole, though, I was absorbed by the book as I read and will remember the experience fondly. I suppose the book is not for everyone, but if you have a soft spot for 18th-century ribaldry, this novel will not let you down.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
21st century minds, 18th century bodies, 19th century references 17 April 2009
By Scissors - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
When I realized that the three main characters in this historical novel set in the 18th century thought and acted like our contemporaries, I thought the scholarly writers were enjoying a deliberately incongruous romp, and romped along with them. But the novel soon becomes tedious, the characters too ungrounded. One character channels Sherlock Holmes, another quotes Bronte, and supposed Puritans quote Shakespeare as a moral authority. Oh, come on, Professors Lepore and Kamensky -- you could do better. Blindspot lacks the rewards of historical fiction -- the sense of visiting another time, or history animated. It yields little sense even of the colonial city where it is set. The detective plot is uncompelling. I dropped out before the murder was solved. I just didn't care. Very disappointing.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Top Spot for Blind Spot 15 Feb. 2010
By B. Woodbridge - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This novel blends the atmosphere of The American Revolution in Boston with a murder mystery. You only want to put this novel down so you can savor it and have something to look forward to read tomorrow! I'm reading other books now, however I keep hoping for a Blindspot II! These three main characters need another mystery to solve as the revolution gets closer.
50 of 69 people found the following review helpful
Out Damn'd Blindspot 1 Jan. 2009
By Daniel Myers - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book serves as an excellent reminder of why academics, secluded in the ivory tower, should stay so secluded and not venture out into the realm of "historical fiction," especially when they do so in tandem with an academic friend from another ivory tower. To indulge in alliteration, Blindspot is a purple pastiche of period pamphleteering. I wonder if these gushing Vine reviewers have read any of the classic authors in this genre of the time: Fielding, Smollett et alia. Their reviews do indeed seem as if they were written by the same "John Puff, Esq." who pays homage to this book on its back cover.

To be more specific, this book is far too long, too predictable, too studiedly purple, and, above all, too coy by more than half to be enjoyable. Also - though I'm not supposed to point the numerous errata out in an ARC, there is one erratum I hope was duly corrected - that of the dog Gulliver's being in two places at once at one point in the narrative. Since Gulliver is apparently based on one author's own dog, one can only hope that she caught this canine violation of the time-space continuum.

What else to say? Oh yes, if you must needs read fiction of this sort, READ THE REAL THING: Tom Jones, The Adventures of Roderick Random, even Shamala (mentioned herein) are far, far more engaging reads then this very silly book. - Two stars, but only because I fully admit to being a sap for anyone who quotes at length one of my favourite thinkers, David Hume.

Now, I shall sit back and wait for the "unhelpful" votes to roll in, probably some spiteful comments too, I shouldn't wonder.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Imperfect romance parading as historical fiction, but I couldn't put it down 17 Sept. 2010
By Deb Nam-Krane - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The characters: Stewart Jameson, a Scottish painter, is on the run from debtors when he arrives in Boston. He has incurred the debts not at gambling or other vices, but through a foolhardy plan to save his friend, a scholar, from bondage. Once in Boston, he takes on an apprentice named Francis Weston, a starved young boy that shows unusual talent. Only Francis is really Frances, and she is an Easton. Her family is one of the most esteemed in Boston, but she has suffered an out of wedlock pregnancy and can't let go of the desire to find her child.

The plot: Although Jameson is romantically inclined towards men, he finds physical satisfaction best with women. His unwitting seducer is Weston/Easton, who cannot deny her attraction to her employer, despite the danger it presents to her station.

What of slavery, taxation, politics, religion, hypocrisy, the essence of freedom for women, slaves and Americans and the competing requirements of independence and privilege? All of those themes are present in the novel, along with rich historical detail. But they are window dressing. This is a historical romance novel for intellectuals, no matter how well-dressed. Amazon's official reviewers call this "embarrassingly purple". Indeed, there are places where you blush, not only from graphic descriptions of sex but from the language. "Vulgar" may be the better word in some instances.

But I couldn't put this down for two days. The authors created characters whom you rooted for or at least wanted to stay with until you found out if you they got what they deserved. Some of it was heart-breaking- particularly at the end- and at the end you're left wondering if you're looking at the happiest of all endings or the beginning of a tragedy. But that only makes the characters stay with you more. And... some of that purple prose is really well done.

You won't want to put this down.
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