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The Traveller

Lost Lands Forgotten Stories by Alexandra Pratt

The programme about romantic novels, on BBC4 last night, was excellent. I wish I could remember when I stopped reading them in a serious manner, and why. I used to love the novels of authors like Victoria Holt, but no more. Mind, I do still love a few of the authors mentioned - Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer for a start - but mainly I seem to have gone over to historicals rather than historical romances and I never did read much in the way of 'modern' romances. Anyway, some good points made in the programme. Reading romances lowers your stress levels apparently. Romance is one of the highest selling genres in this country (along with crime) and the woman from Waterstones made the point that it's infiltrating other genres too. Although, I think that's always been the case; sci fi or crime with a bit of romance thrown in has been happening for donkey's years. A more serious point was made that romance books are looked down on in a derogatory manner because they deal with things that women are interested in such as love, emotions, women's issues. Therefore, because men don't read them (though a few do), they're not viewed as important. A good point, I feel. Excellent programme and part one of a three part series, so more next week.


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Just finished Lost Lands Forgotten Stories by Alexandra Pratt.

I picked this one up in the library, mainly because I've always had a fascination with Canada, particularly the vast unknown regions of the country. Labrador comes into this category, although I was unprepared to learn exactly 'how' unexplored it is and how much wilderness is there. The book itself was based on three journeys. The author followed in the footsteps of Mina Hubbard who, in 1905, retraced the footsteps of her husband, Leonidas, who'd perished on a 600 mile trip across the province two years earlier. His partner had survived and written a book that had not been complimentary about her husband and Mina was looking to restore his reputation. The author, (who coincidentally lives in West Cornwall, where I come from) like Mina before her, discovered a lot about herself on this canoe trip into the interior. She also learned a lot about her Indian guide, Jean Pierre, the Innu way of life, their history, and about what is now happening to these people who have been around for thousands of years (it's not a pretty story.) Not to mention what is happening and could happen to Labrador - also not a pretty story. All travel books should be like this. It was brilliant.


Current read: The Conjuror's Bird by Martin Davies. One of Richard and Judy's Book Club books for this year, picked up from the library. Described on the cover by The Times as, "A pacy confection of history, mystery and romance". So, perhaps I haven't given up romantic reading after all...

Comments

romance books are looked down on in a derogatory manner because they deal with things that women are interested in such as love, emotions, women's issues.

Ugh, yes - absolutely :-(
To be fair, they did also make the point that it's also looked down on because the writing can be a little bit dodgy sometimes. But then that's true of any genre... why single out romantic books for all the crit! Typical.