Top critical review
Her aristocrats behave like servants, carting round innumerable tea trays
on 14 July 2015
I keep reading Grace Burrowes in an attempt to understand her modus operandi. Her characters internal life is well well written and enjoyable, although the reasons for their conflict are sometimes quite thin. Her settings are appalling, I don't know if it is Gone with the Wind or some imaginary land, certainly not England and very hard to imagine. Her aristocrats behave like servants, carting round innumerable tea trays, invading kitchens (we know that 19th century kitchens were dark, candlelit and cooking was by fire, either open or perhaps a stove and ovens were at the mercy of the size of the fire for their heat. Cooking was thus a strenuous difficult job, but Grace's aristos swan into empty kitchens and turn out marvellous batches of baked goods. Thank the Lord the Earl of Sandwich had invented sandwiches or Grace would have been snookered. Why her characters behave this way and why she feels the need to let her readers know that in her world people ate bread, American muffins (why they did not eat English muffins is another one of Grace's mysteries) scones (all slathered in butter and jam) and drank tea morning, midmorning, lunch, afternoon and night and at every available opportunity in between. Dinners strangely bear no resemblance to the era. One other nitpick, what are these iced teacakes so gluttinously devoured. A tea cake here is a currant bun with a shiny skin that you toast). Why does she go to such lengths to describe in detail settings and behaviours that are so wrong. How much better her books would be if they had even an element of accuracy. Names are another hardship what happened to Charlotte, Sophia, Jane, Elizabeth, Lettice etcetc. One particular dreadful effort at comedy had a child named Halifax Chesapeak All very British isn't it. Why do they all drink Irish Whiskey. In some of the books the family has a distillary in Scotland but they drink whiskey, why? An English manor house is described with verandahs and balconies (this must be from the Gone with the Wind mindset, while the covered bridge in Dorset I think must have come from Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep in Madison County.
How is it possible that these books merit awards when every one of them is full to the gunnels with mistakes. If Grace has any intention of reaching out to readers other than American, then she really does need to brush up on her history and as for the individuals who who offer awards for this level of descriptive writing I think they are needing to have a good hard look at what it is they praising, it seems so parochial as to be insulting.