I have to admit that, strangely enough, this is the second novel I read with Kit Marlowe as main character in less than an year (the other one being The Shakespeare’s Conspiracy by Ted Bacino), and so I’m for sure still influenced by the way that other novel presented me the Elizabethan playwriter. Plus, knowing a thing or two of that period, I also know that unfortunately Kit Marlowe didn’t have a long life. So when I started reading this story, about the tailor Hugh Seaton and his lover Kit Marlowe, I’m sincere, I was waiting for the moment when the author would have put a stop to their relationship and maybe directed Hugh to another man (my cheering was for Barnaby). I admit that I was probably facing this novel in the wrong way: sure, the author is respectful of the period and the historical details, but this is, after all, a romance (yes, yes, I know, this is also a historical mystery, but you all know me, I don’t usually focus on the mystery, preferring the romance); and being this a romance, it can take some “licenses” on the real historical events. So what? Kit Marlowe died on May 30, 1593; William Shakespeare (another character in the story) started to write his plays around 1589 (several of his plays were on the London stage by 1592), this put this story happening around 1590… our heroes will have only 3 years to enjoy their romance, if this was indeed an historical fiction. But if you instead read it like an historical romance, a romancizing of history, then those dates don’t matter and you can actually think these men had an happily ever after. I want to approach this story with this attitude, because if you do the same, you will read a wonderful love story, a love story that takes in account all the odds of being in love with another man in the XVI century; not only that, also having to decide between a good and pleasant relationship with a tender and caring man like Barnaby, or loving a rake like Kit… well, we all know who are the best lovers, aren’t we? But aside from the joke, that was not an easy choice since Barnaby is really a good man, a good lover as well, and he really cares for Hugh.
The quality of the writing is, as I said, very good, especially for me: being not an English mother tongue reader, I often found difficult to read an historical novel for the trend of some writers to try to “replicate” the old language; I think it’s not necessary (aside maybe for a word or two), the reader can dive into the “history” even without that weight, exactly with K.C. Warwick’s approach, i.e. writing a believable story, with believable character, in a believable contest; if these characters are using a “modern” language (of course she is not making huge mistakes like historical inconsistencies), then that is easier for the reader, not for the author.
Amazon: Prove a Villain
Amazon Kindle: Prove a Villain
Paperback: 238 pages
Publisher: Cheyenne Publishing (October 1, 2010)