logo
Greenteeth Multi Media Library

Book review: Leonora by Gina Pounds reviewed by Ian R. Thorpe
Gina Pounds novel Leonora is a fast paced (bodice) ripping yarn set in the seventeenth century. A young aristocratic Englishwoman is pursued around western Europe by a man to whom her father owes a great debt. Around her the great tulip bubble (yes there was such a thing) is causing economic chaos. Can she hold on to her virtue until she is safely back in England and does her would be debaucher's reach extend beyong The Rhineland.

Leonora: Gina Pounds
reviewed by Ian R Thorpe.
2003-12-03
CREATIVE COMMONS: Attribute, non commercial, no derivs.
KEYWORDS: book, novel, fiction, review, romance, love story, literature, historical, england, belgium, netherlands, rhineland, tulip

When first asked to review Leonora by Regina Pounds I had some reservations. The title and plot outline suggested a typical historical romance, a "bodice ripper," perhaps not a good genre for a man who has been a performance poet and experienced the Roman circus that is stand up comedy. I knew Regina's work through short stories and poems though and so expected to find something with a little more depth than the usual love story.

In recent years many novels that have passed through my hands have been disappointing, promising much but turning out to be formulaic pot boilers. So deeply entrenched is the publishing world's commitment to accountancy considerations that the unorthodox writer of quality fiction who does not aspire to incomprehensible "high literature" has nowhere to go. It is a situation many writers like Gina find themselves in. The literary establishment should always remember that writers are first and foremost entertainers.

Having read Leonora I can say that although not a book I would have bought for myself it is wonderful entertainment and will delight both fans of the "bodice ripper" and lovers of historical fiction. Lurking just beneath the surface of the love story that forms the main plot is a darker world of intrigue and treachery. Europe is in turmoil, in France dissent is evolving into rebellion, Britain having recently lost the American colonies is pursuing an isolationist foreign policy, Spain and Portugal, the first great imperial powers of the modern world are declining and to the north the sleeping giant, Russia, under the crushing authority of an absolutist monarchy, holds itself prisoner in an outmoded feudal system of lief and leige.

In this volatile political climate the eponymous heroine, a haughty and headstrong but somewhat naďve English aristocrat sets out on a journey that will take her through France, the Rhineland and Belgium (Germany did not exist as a sovereign nation at the time). Pre revolution France is no place for respectable people to be travelling without an armed escort and the story opens with Leonora, her father and the rest of the party being held up by an awkward squad of French peasants. To the rescue come two Russian aristocrats. It is an encounter that is to shape Leonora's future.

From then events race along at a breakneck pace, helped by Regina's lightness of touch with language and ability to construct rhythmic sentences and fluent prose. One thing I admire very much is the way this writer varies the pace and is not afraid to linger over a scene to build atmosphere. At a time when alleged academics are trying to dictate that narrative and dialogue that does not move the plot forward is redundant it is refreshing to read somebody who knows the importance of building our impression of a character through what they say and how they react to what is going on. For instance there is a line by Dumas where a character "got up from the chair on which he was sitting." Now everything after "got up" could be discarded. But if it was would we feel the character' foreboding? Would we understand that he wanted to delay what would happen next for every possible second? That he hopes something might turn up and save his life if only he can keep his bottom on that another few seconds. With a writer of such skill we do not simply read a novel, we feel it.

This story has its roots in two scandals that occurred in the late eighteenth century but spins around the references to real events a web of intrigue and conspiracy.

Lady Melinda, on deserting her boring and socially unsuitable husband for a much more exotic lover leaves a keepsake with her daughter, a very special locket. Several years later while travelling with her father in the hope of restoring his failing health Leonora is rescued from her first dangerous situation by Count Alexij Stropov and his friend Prince Borowinski. The two chevaliers seem very dashing to the young Englishwoman and following their encounter, both aware of the effect they had, make a wager on who will bed her first.

Gambling continues to play a role when the aristocrats lure Leonora's father, a compulsive gambler, to the tables and he signs away the family estate to Count Stropov in order to discharge a gambling debt. Initially Stropov, reveals that he is no gentleman (Egad sir, one expects nothing else from Johnny foreigner!) by planning to use the debt as leverage in order to seduce the girl. He succeeds in this but in the process falls in love with his conquest.

From that point there are many twists and turns in the plot. The mysterious Black Tulip, a French secret embezzler taunts the two Russians who have been given the task of recovering funds he has stolen from their nation. There is a surprise encounter in Germany through which an injustice is righted and back in England a criminal to whose son Leonora was promised does his best to disrupt her burgeoning love affair with Alexij.

It is not a novelists job to explore moral philosophy but to teach us moral lessons through the fictional lives of the characters and this is executed particularly well in Leonora. In the early part of the book the driving force of the plot is the aristocratic obsession with games both organised and spontaneous. Unfortunately the spontaneous ones tend to affect the lives of those who are not involved. The mannered artifice of the upper classes is summed up when a character rebukes Leonora "You are as direct and uncompromising as ever. Has life not taught you there are many shades of human behaviour? People hide their true motives behind facades of reason and civility."

Later the propulsion comes from Alexij's fanatical jealousy. Having boasted of his many past lovers as he goes to great lengths to accomplish the seduction the Count becomes obsessed by the idea that he may not be the only one to have broken down his lover's defences. At one point I was reminded of a scene that takes place between Tess and Angel Clare in Hardy's Tess of the d' Urbervilles.

This whole theme made me think of the hypocrisy of the "Christian marriage" ideal and the value placed on virginity. The whole business grew from a time when marriage was simply a business arrangement and the rules created by a male dominated society's obsession with property and succession.

Events are driven by Alexij's passion and past follies, Leonora's headstrong attitudes and Borowinski's chagrin at having lost both the bet and Leonora to an exiting climax in imperial Russia. The one thing that struck me as incongruous was Leonora's tolerance of Alexij's boorishness but that is easily forgiven.

As a man and therefore not part of the target audience I found this a satisfying book to read, the quality of the story telling and well researched detail on life during that period will delight most readers. The main characters are interesting and involve one in their adventures while a cast of minor characters and some excellent set dressing provide a rich period atmosphere. My feeling was that the story deserves a much wider audience than it is likely to get. Anyone listening in Hollywood?

RELATED POSTS:
The Other Slaves (history)
Girl In A Blue Dress (fiction)
My Hero
Sawney Bean
The Stranger's Field
Leonora (historic fiction) - Review

If you liked this, please give it a boost

Bookmark and Share

Close Window and return to menu
SITE SEARCH
find keywords on this site

Enter keywords& choose search engine:

Google: Yahoo: MSN:

This free script provided by
JavaScript Kit

INFORMATION & NAVIGATION

navigate

navigate

CATEGORIES

Fiction
Animal related
Art Menu
Belief, Faith and Religion
Celebrity mocking and knocking
Climate and Environment
Comedy, Satire, Humour
Debt Crisis and Money Matters
Driven To Drink
Education Menu
Fear and Panic
Health Menu
History - new perspectives
Humanitas
Jobs Crisis
Living Within The conspiracy
Middle East
Nanny State and The Thought Police
Past Perspectives
Philo & Sophia
Politically Correct Stupidity
Fools & Dreamers
Politics and Economy
Latest News Science and Technology
Sex and sexuality
Sport
Weird and Supernatural
SNACKS (sub topics)
The Ageing population
America
Religion and spirituality
Climate Change
Comedy and Humour
Education is overrated
The environment
Europe
Health
Internet Technology
Jobs and employment
Money and finance
Myths and traditions
Nanny Orwell
People and Places
Science, technology
Society
UK politics
War
World Politics

Our Internet Places
Scribd
Blogster
Ed Butt at Bubblews
Wikinuts
Boggart Blog
Little Nicky Machiavelli
Boggart Network News
Greenteeth Bites
Greenboggart
Boggart Blog Central
Daily Stirrer briefing
Boggart Network News
BOGGART BLOG ARCHIVES
BBselect001
BBselect002
BBselect003
BBselect004
BBselect005
BBselect006
Bubblews Archives
[ 1 ] [ 2 ] [ 3 ] MULTI MEDIA
Spoken Word
Video
Music
Graphic Art

Home
Top Of Page
Back Catalogue
Our Comments
FEATURESThe Daily Stirrer
Boggart Blog Central

Comedy Main
Comic Verse
Cartoons
A Tale Told By An Idiot
General
Fiction
History
Thought
Poetry
Science & Technology
Elsewhere

Boggart Blog Daily
Little Nicky Machiavelli
This writer at Authorsden Gathering
Delicious Greenteeth
Boggart Network News
Boggart Network News

More From Around The Labyrinth

LATEST POSTS & COMMENTS

Pointless
A young couple who climbed up a suspension bridge near Frankfurt to watch the sun rise prompted a major rescue operation when passers by reported

The Name Is Pronounced Nivea
The latest fashion in America is girls called Nevaeh. Virtually unheard of five years ago, the name – “heaven” spelt backwards – has become the 70th most popular name for baby girls in the country last year.

Financial Fraud: Market Rigging By Any Other Name
Over the past twenty years we have hasd many financial scandals, the dotcom bubble, misselling of investments, toxic debt, derivatives trading, maket rigging and interest rate rigging. A lot of the software used by these trading systems was developed with the intent of facilitating fraud.

Warring Migrant Tribes, Street Shootouts, Grenade Attacks, Government Says Its Multiculturalism?
"Sweden, that's where they commit suicide and the king rides a bicycle," a character in an Alan Bennet play famously said back in the 1980s, a reference to Sweden's reputation as the most boring country in the world. That reputation has long gone, thanks to 'enlightened and progressive' immigration politicies, the elegantstreets of Sweden's gothic styled cities are now more like Chicago in the Al Capone era.

Warring Migrant Tribes, Street Shootouts, Grenade Attacks, Government Says Its Multiculturalism? WTF Is Going On In Sweden?
"Sweden, that's where they commit suicide and the king rides a bicycle," a character in an Alan Bennet play famously said back in the 1980s, a reference to Sweden's reputation as the most boring country in the world. That reputation has long gone, the elegant streets of Sweden's gothic styled cities are now more like Chicago in the Al Capone era. Scandinavia's biggest nation state is in the grip of a terrifying crime wave instead ...

Banks want us all to have 'tap and pay' cards... even though they're a criminals wet dream
Unfortunately while the banks and tachology giants have been ironing out problems with contactless payment technology (like its habit of doing your good deed for the day by paying for other people's stuff), the crooks have been forging ahead with non-accidental ways to rip off your card. Thieves can easily steal key data from contactless credit and debit cards using equipment bought "easily and cheaply" online, consumers magazine Which? has warned UK consumers.

Gay Rights Lobby Calls for Ban on LGBT Therapy After Finding Hundreds of Health Workers Believe in a Cure The Daily Stirrer has noted many times that sheeple on the left of the political spectrum get very confused on finding not everybody agrees with their world view. but rather than accept they are bigots they turn on those who dissent. No surprise then that gay activist working in the NHS are turning on African, middle eastern and east Europan colleagues who believe homosexuality is a sin.

Has Nasa found another 'Earth' in corner of Milky Way?
The science clowns are going off their heads again, getting over-excited about the 'discovery' by the Kepler project of Earth 2, an earth like planet that it would only take twenty million ryears to reach in our fastest spacecraft id. What planet do these do these idiots live on?

So Who Are The real Racist Bigots - Those Who Have Opinions or those who would abolish free speech?
Since we began publishing in 2009 we have warned that the real enemies of freedom, the ones who would turn certain sectors of the community are not the conservatives and libertarians, but those who try to mask their fascistic politics by calling themselves left, liberal or socialist. If you want to know what socialism is really all about read up on Stalinist Russia or Maoist China and if you want a comparison for the 'liberal values of Labour and Social democrat voters in Europe or American democrats, look no further than the medieval Inquistion and their brutal purges of 'heresy'.

Pissed Off Locals In Europe Torch Refugee Centres To Resist Enforced Placement Of Immigrants

Citizens in Germany and Italy have taken to burning the resettlement centres in their communities designated to provide accommodation for people who have crossed the Mediterranean to enter Europe illegally.

Riots In Athens As Betrayed Greeks Take Back

Democracy
A converted country inn, forced to close due to punitive EU taxes and restrictive laws, then renovated at taxpayers expense for use by illegal migrants has been burned down in Reichertshofen, Germany after locals discovered it was being prepared to become refugee accommodation.

The Day The EU Died - Destruction Of Greece Shows True Fascist Nature Of The European Project Some inside information on the political stitch up that has turned GreeThe Day The EU Died - Destruction Of Greece Shows True Fascist Nature Of The European Projectce into a vassal state and humiliated the Greek people for the purpose of furthering the neo-Fascist 'ever closer union' agenda of the bureaucratic dictators in Brussels.

The Bansturbator Diaries - Ban Everything And Tax It Too
Red Meat, fast food,, Pies, Pizzas, Cigarettes, Alcohol, and now sugar. The fun fascists are on the rampage everywere. Is there anything we can do to stop them? Yes. all we have to do is ignore them, especially the ones who try to claim some kind of authority by using the word 'science' far more than is necessary.

Spain Goes Full Police State; Government Enacts Law Forbidding Dissent, 'Unauthorized' Photography Of Law Enforcement
Spain is now a police state again. On July 1st, its much-protested "gag" law went into effect, instantly making criminals of those protesting the new law. Not since the death of General Franco has free speech been a crime in the country.

TTIP in the EU: Rejecting Democracy
Trade deals have traditionally been about lowering particular tariffs for imports and exports of goods from one country to another. Trade is not as simple as that any more and for TTIP tariffs are a tiny part of the negotiations because tariffs between the EU and US are virtually non-existent these days. Trade in TTIP is about issues that are relevant and important to us all: from which services are publicly provided, to the safety of the food on our plates

Greece, Monetary Union and Europe - Omnibus
The Greek financial meltdown and inevitable exit from the European Monetary System (Euro) and possibly the EU may be staved off a little longer but will happen. If the burden of Euro membership can wreck strong economies like France, Austria and The Netherlands, how can a basket case like Greece ever cope.

Hackers Hacked - Government Ties Exposed
An Italian company develops hacking tools for government security agencies itself became the target of a hacker attack, resulting in its internal documents being leaked online and its deals with numerous governments being exposed.

Four Converging Crises Could Destroy Europe
Four great crises around Europe’s fringes threaten to engulf the European Union, potentially setting the ambitious post-war unification project back by decades. The EU’s unity, solidarity and international standing are at risk from Greece’s debt, Russia’s role in Ukraine, Britain’s attempt to change its relationship with the bloc, and Mediterranean migration.

Oregon bakery that refused same-sex couple owes $135,000 in damages
This page started by looking as a case of personal liberty versus gay fascism in Belfast, Northern Ireland but looks set to spread in all directions. While the Belfast Gay Cake case was, to the best of our knowledge, the first of its kind in Britain, there have already been a number of high profile cases in which the authorities have deemed that gay bitchiness trumps the civil rights of straight people,

Troika Is Manoeuvering To Rig The Greek Referendum
According to Greece's finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, the troika, the IMF, European Central Bank and EU Commission is planning to rig the outcome of the Greek referendum on whether to accept further austerity measures in return for bail out cash

Ending the Ownership of Money
It must be common knowledge by now that some of the world’s most economically powerful nations are insolvent due to the burden of sovereign debt. These economies are held together through by the faith of citizens and businesses in the currency. If that faith evaporates, the leading economies will crash as voters realise the only thing underwriting the economy is debt.

Climate Change: Physicist Asks Is a Deadly Ice Age on the Horizon?
The last ice age ended approximately 12,000 years ago, and since then we’ve been enjoying a pleasantly warm “interglacial period.” But given that an interglacial may last only 12,000 years, we’re confronted with a scary prospect: Another ice age may be nigh.

Government Paid Trolls Are Using 'Psychology-Based Influence Techniques' in Social Media
Have you ever come across someone on the Internet that you suspected was a paid government troll? Well, there is a very good chance that you were not imagining things. Thanks to Edward Snowden, we now have solid proof that paid government trolls are using “psychology-based influence techniques” on social media websites such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

Zuckerberg reveals Facebook Working On Apps 'Smarter Than Humans'
In an online Question and Answer session this week Facebook supremo and founding megalomaniacal sociopath Mark Zuckerberg announced that his company is engaged in building AI systems "that are better than humans at our primary senses."

Boko Haram attack on Nigerian village leaves nearly 100 people dead


According to eye witnesses nearly 100 people have been killed in an attack on mosques and houses in a village in north-eastern Nigerian by suspected Boko Haram militants, news feeds reported today (2 July 2015).

Sleepwalking Into Another Middle East War To Make Obama Look Good
Watching the news feeeds, we see The United States has blocked attempts by its alleged Middle East allies to fly heavy weapons directly to the Kurds fighting the Islamic State jihad in Iraq.

War, Famine, Plague and all that
It is no secret that “news” media in the developed world is owned by a few corporate empires whose ultimate owners' are financial operators whose reach extends into manufacturing, extraction industries, big agriculture and food,

The Day the Earth Died - And Why The Green Lobby Did Not Raise A Whimper In Protest
By selling their votes in return for pledges of government spending in their states the current crop of US Senators have effectively transformed their nation from a representative democracy to a dictatorship in which the President can make law on a whim.

Artificial Intelligence: Will It Kill Human Society?
The media, the so called 'experts' and politicians hail every technological advance as if it will btransport us from reality to a utopian paradise. but does Artificial Intelligence and related internet and computer technology pose theats to human society that far outweigh any possible advantages? Whateve, Google plan to put machines in our place on top of the food chain.

City of Berkeley to require cellphone sellers to warn of possible radiation risks
One of the fist themes of this blog was that mobile phones (and wi-fi etc.) do pose a risk to health. Here's the latest admission that the sceptics voices were right, from The Guardian

Have US tactics only helped to make ISIS more powerful?/b>
We have questioned the US led efforts to defeat ISIS in the middle east many times, pointing out that every time the western alliance steps up opposition to the establishment of a news Islamic Caliphate, Islamic State seem to get stronger. 'Conspiracy Theorists', our critics yell. So let's look at opinion from around the world that concurs with ours.

Refugee host school in Germany bans revealing clothes
We have asked before and no doubt will again, when the citizens of a nation are constantly asked to give up their freedoms and change their behaviour in order to avoid offending new arrivals from medievalist cultures, whose effing country is it anyway.

More Violence In Malmo As Community Centre Burned
27 'youths' arrested after shootout in RosengĂĄrd
More trouble in Sweden as the ruling elite's determination to had the country over to lawless gangsters and tribalists from barbaric third world cess pits sees violence and inter - tribal conflict continue to increase in the once peaceful suburbs of Swedish cities.

Refugeee Host School In Germany Bans Short Skirts As They Wind Up Muslim Boys
We have asked before and no doubt will again, when the citizens of a nation are constantly asked to give up their freedoms and change their behaviour in order to avoid offending new arrivals from medievalist cultures, whose effing country is it anyway.

How Ironic That Humourless Warmageddonists Will Not See The Irony
I've lost count of how many times this blog has highlighted the extraordinary consistency with which politicians and scientists working in concert manage to achieve the exact opposite of what they are aiming for. One might be tempted to think that the first step in proposing a scientific solution to any problem is to first understand what harm the unintended consequences of your solution might cause.

Saying The Unsayable
Watching BBC Question Time last Thursday, I was struck once again by the way it was left to one of the stock hate figures of the left, Melanie Phillips, to actually pronounce the great, clunking truth that the online activities of left wing hate mobs have rendered unsayable.

Mediterranean Boat People Crisis Threatens European Identity
As European leaders gathere for a summit meeting on the Mediterranean Immigrant crisis, Italy's Matteo Renzi has warned that Europe must find a solution to the ever increasing flow of migrants from third world locations or risk losing its identity.

Saying The Unsayable: Today, Melanie Phillips
Watching BBC Question Time last Thursday, I was struck once again by the way it was left to one of the stock hate figures of the left, Melanie Phillips, to actually pronounce the great, clunking truth that left wing hate mobs have made unsayable.

Russia Outmanoeuvres the west again
While mainstream media (and even some of the more rabidly fascistic left wing bloggers) have been trying to demonize Russia as a way of drumming up public sympathy for Barack Obama's efforts to start a shooting war with Moscow, we Boggart Bloggers and ...

America and UK Lead the World in Climate Scepticism Several times now it has looked as if the climate chance scare was over as the enthusiasm of climate scitentists for changing real world data to fit in with the predictions of their mathematical models has been exposed. But as the scare was never about the environment, but was a scam to redistribute wealth from rich to poor countries, the politicians are throwing their propaganda budgets behind it again.

Sham Marriages To Beat Immigration Laws Are Out Of Control
With main immigration news on being dominated by the Mediterranean boat people crisis and the masses at Calais hoping to stow away in a freight container, we forget that another way of getting somebody into the country is the sham marriage. Numbers involved may be small, but it is another indication of our governments' failure to address the immigration problem.

Mediterranean Immigrant Composite
The flow of undocumented migrants from Africa trying to cross the Mediterranean from the coast of Libya to Italian, Greek and Maltese territory seems unstoppable. Two factors in the problem however have been western (particlarly American meddling in the internal affairs of African states, and wester aid leading to a population explosion national infrastructures are unable to cope with. And of course European leaders haven't a clue how to deal with the problem.

De-Dollarization Du Jour: Russia's Largest Bank Issues Yuan-Denominated Guarantees
Leading the charge to multipolarity and de-dollarization are Russia, resugent despite economic sanctions and the rising superpower in waiting, China. The downgrading of the dollar is clearly demonstrated in the launch of the BRICS bank and the establishment of the AIIB.

Older Posts index