What have you been reading lately?
One of my great reading pleasures is to delve into good historical fiction. I’m not usually finicky about what I read in that genre; it’s all so fascinating and entertaining that sometimes I don’t even mind mediocrity. Not this time. It’s like I’ve discovered a voice so authentic that my experience of how a good book should be written is marred forever more.
The first thing to notice while reading fiction, especially period fiction, is how true the language rings. These two novels are set about 200 years apart and Morgan brings out the language evolution so vividly that I could absolutely picture the setting, the city, the time. From the way a character would speak based on their upbringing to the milkwoman on the street, each dialect is refreshingly distinct and true to form.
The setting: Pestilent, crowded Elizabethan London in Shakespeare is evoked as strongly as the desolate rural moor of the Bronté sisters in Charlotte and Emily through artfully descriptive prose that sets the mood of the novels brilliantly. Who knew that the lives of these geniuses were so wonderfully distraught. Not wonderfully as in delightedly, but in the way that Morgan perceives them to be. Admittedly though, Emily Bronté must have had to battle some demons to be able to produce a work of such powerful creepiness as Wuthering Heights, and Morgan, understanding the peril of giving in to an almost-madness, brings it out in his novel with outstanding pizzazz. The time period is firmly ensconced throughout: women then weren’t expected to be authors, let alone morbid ones like the Bronté sisters.
Can you tell I loved the books? If you’re looking to read fiction a bit removed from the usual fare, something that pulls you in even when you’d rather just crash into bed after a long day, give Jude Morgan a try. He may surprise you yet.
*Note: Jude Morgan is a pseudonym for Tim Wilson. I was even more amazed at this info tidbit. For a man to so accurately capture a woman’s inner turmoil in his work is amazing to me. One can only aspire to such great a talent!