Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Carmen Posadas

Here's the Spanish site for author Carmen Posadas:

I've recently read a book by her in Portuguese that I borrowed from a friend. The book is historical fiction and is the memoirs, let's call them that, of Teresa Carrabús, a Spanish born lady who married and lived in France during the French Revolution.
This book is told from her POV, except the last two entries - the book is told in entries, sort of, not chapters - that are told by one of her daughters, the person she trusted to keep the memoirs to posterity.

This is a work of fiction but the author quotes many non fictional sources and there's a long line of bibliography at the end of the book.

Teresa is a very brave lady and the book tells her life adventures and the people she mixed with during those times of danger right before the French Revolution, the Terror period and the rise of Napoleon. In terms of narrative I really can't say how much this is real but I assume most of the facts described that relate to Teresa personal life are somewhat real and the author used good and reliable sources as she says so, to build up her story. The historical facts can surely be easily proved.

So, the book has two main ideas to bear in mind: Teresa's personal life and her role in the stages of
the French History.
  • Teresa's life didn't impress me. I know it's an example of how ladies lived, how society worked at the time but despite her good deeds and bravery in the face of adversity and danger, I really didn't connect with her and my values clash with many of her choices, even if it was something she had to do. I really struggled and had to force myself to keep reading.
  • The historical details about France, the Revolution, some key characters of those times, all that was more interesting but honestly if felt like an history lesson. Of course a book about someone so immersed and important for that era had to focus on it, but I couldn't put aside I was being given a lesson and that removed some of my delight in reading.
The book has its good moments, some parts are definitely easier to get though, but I admit I had trouble focusing and I just wanted to get it over quickly. I think the writing itself wasn't bad, but yes, it offered too much for too long. Even in th shorter entries.

I think this is a good book to History lovers. I do like that the settings of historical works are accurate and based on real facts well coordinated but this book isn't as exciting or vibrant as I imagined and the fiction parts that could atone for the worst details we all know were real, the guillotine deaths, the political and social misfortunes, the violence, the oppression, etc, all this wasn't balanced with a likable heroine telling her story. At least for me, I couldn't sympathize much with her.

All in all, this wasn't such a great read. It had interesting points, but for the most part I just wanted to finish.
There is no English written translation. It's only available in the original Spanish, in Portuguese and French. I leave the covers; maybe one day it will be translated into English as well and people interested in the theme might try it.
Grade: 4/10

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