Thursday, March 25, 2010


I have FINALLY finished London by Edward Rutherford.

I am a big fan of historical novels.  I never loved history as a school subject.  I never dreaded it either.
(I save my hostile emotions for Algebra.)  

In the homeschool community there is a term for great books that are full of interesting characters, accurate historical facts, cultural details and beautifully crafted narratives.  They are called "living books" rather than textbooks.  I enjoy reading these books and sharing them with my children.  They are fascinated with history as a result. They often act out historical time periods in their play.  It cracks me up when we are walking through the woods and they are on the look-out for attacking Huns.  Maybe it's a little nerdy,  but I like it!
I don't know if it is a snoozefest to read other people's book reviews, but it's my blog and I love books so suffer through folks.
I bought London last summer for $1.00 at a library book sale.  It took me five months to read.  It was a great book even though it took me way too long to get through it.

London is a unique story in which the main character is a place not a person.  It's much like a collection of short stories.  Each chapter introduces you to characters whose future generations you meet in later chapters.  It begins with the Romans arrival in Britain before Christ and ends with London recovering from WWII.

The ancient world and the Middle Ages are such dramatic times that it makes for stories full of suspense and danger.  The description of London during the plague was fascinating.  Did you know that Catholics were (wrongly) blamed for the Great Fire of London?  Only a handful of Puritans came to America.  The rest stayed behind and were deeply involved in politics and scandal  in London.  The expansion west and the great American railroads were the financial ruin of many English fortunes.  I wish I had taken notes because there were many fascinating facts.  Because the United States has deep roots in British culture there were also little tidbits of interest; things we do, say, or use in modern times that come from slang words,  phrases, cultural practices, etc described in the book's various time periods.

It's good stuff!

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