Earlier this week I received an email from Barbara Taylor Bradford (well, it was signed by her anyway...don't you think maybe it was a publicist that sent it out? Surely she is way too busy to be reading my blog!) offering me an advanced reader's edition of her new novel, The Ravenscar Dynasty. Recently Isabella posted on the topic of "review copy etiquette", which I thought about as I was deciding on whether to accept the offer or not. Actually for me it is not too difficult to decide whether to accept or not if the book appeals to me. I have gotten very few offers of this kind, and I have taken advantage of a small handful of them. I will only accept the book if it sounds like something I would really like and be tempted to buy or check out from the library anyway. However I am never certain of my skills as a "reviewer". I tend to like most things I read, which always makes me think that I am not a very critical reader (and I could never have the job of a critic!). By now you must know I am an "escapist" reader. Of course I prefer a book that is really well written and has a wonderful plot and strong, interesting characters. But if the story is absorbing enough I can be pretty forgiving if the writing is perhaps not as sophisticated as in other books. Sometimes things just have a funny way of balancing out.
Anyway, I decided to give this novel a try, and am now (of course) anxiously awaiting it in the mail. I have never read Barbara Taylor Bradford before, but I do have a copy of A Woman of Substance somewhere in my reading piles. The draw for me with this book was the description:
"Power and money, passion and adultery, ambition and treachery--all illuminate a dramatic epic saga set against the backdrop of the Edwardian Era and the Belle Epoque, just before the first World War."
Mostly it was the setting of England and the time period. It made me think of Penny Vincenzi's books about the publishing family, the Lyttons. She wrote a trilogy about the family and I literally inhaled them. I liked them so much I ordered them all from the UK long before they were published here in the US and even hooked another friend on them as well. Perhaps they are not highbrow literature, but darn they were entertaining. My reading tends to be all over the place--I like so many different types of books and stories I want to read them all. Could you tell? I am hoping this (also the first in a planned trilogy) will be just as good! So, yes, another distraction from reading my night stand pile books. I suppose while I am waiting for it to come I better try and finish something else first.