I just finished reading Sir Walter Scott for the first time. Andrew Marr (in his recent vid-bio of Scott) stated his favorite work by Scott is The Heart of Mid-Lothian
, so I gave that book a go. Marr also said; it is a commonly-held opinion that Scott did not write female characters well. Now that I have read Lothian...I strongly disagree with that view.
<imvho>For the most part, the story is driven by a very well defined Jeanie Deans
. Just like Dickens, Scott weaves a lot of detail into his players and I found I related to Jeanie's struggle very well indeed and although it is a story about life in the 1700s Jeanie does not sit weeping, waiting for a man to make things right. She is one very strong and determined person...nearly as much as our dear Frodo Baggins.
However, I will add this about The Heart of Mid-Lothian
it is NOT an easy read. Although Scott made the all important career decision to "write in English" he did not forsake his native Scotts dialect. I found it to be, at times, almost as difficult as middle-English...almost.
I'm trying to decide what to read next. I am leaning towards Robert Louis Stevenson's Davey Balfour.
I enjoyed the 1995? production Kidnapped
so this pick should be a good one but because of http://www.gutenberg.org/catalog/
I always feel like a "kid in a penny candy store holding a pound-note."
Btw, for anyone that likes historical novels, I discovered a genre-forerunner to the likes of Edward Rutherford. G.A. Henty's The Dragon and the Raven
was a good yarn set in King Alfred's time and I read another by the same author about the Luddite uprising in merry 1800s England called Through the Fray
. Neither book was awesome but both were nicely done and held my interest just as much as todays writers.