October 3, 2008

Booth's Sister by Jane Singer

I received a copy of Booth's Sister by Jane Singer, published by a small press in order to review it. It's a historical novel based on, you guessed it, John Wilkes Booth's sister, Asia. (On an unrelated note, I think "Asia" is a cute name for a girl!)

Asia and her brother were very close growing up in a household with their mother, who was not married to their father until they were much older, as he was still married to his first wife. Their father was an actor, and Asia longed to follow in his footsteps, but he didn't want that life for her, but for his son, John. Though she doesn't agree with her brother's political views, Asia helps him in many ways, feeling herself one with him, and is ultimately held in army custody until his capture.

Anyway, this book is written by Jane Singer, who is a historian by trade. I totally respect that, given my own background (my undergraduate degree is in history) and love of the subject. I totally appreciated her historical accuracy. Unlike some other historical fiction books I've read, I didn't feel like she was simply pushing a modern story on another time period. I also loved all the quotes she intertwined with her text, from Shakespeare and other playwrights. It makes total sense in a theater family.

I haven't read a whole lot of historical fiction lately (apart from what we've read here) so I was excited to get back into it as it was my favorite genre as a kid. Unfortunately, this one disappointed somewhat. Asia has an active imagination and she lost me when she would pretend to be a soldier or her brother, regardless it was always a man. Maybe it's just because I can't relate (I've never wanted/fantasized about being a man); I'm not sure. At several points I also had to go back and reread a paragraph to figure out what is going on.

Until the last pages, I never felt compeled to read on. Once I finally got hooked, I only had a few pages to go. I applaud Jane Singer's attempt at historical fiction (this was her first, though she has written some non-fiction books) as this is a decent book, certainly an impressive first try. It definitely makes me curious to find out more about the real Asia Booth.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for joining our discussion of this book!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...