As a historian of sorts (a degree in history and social science education counts as being a historian, right?), I was drawn to this book because of its historical theme… Oh, yeah, and also because it was in the big box of $1 books at Books-A-Million. Admittedly, I knew as soon as I read the description on the back that it very well could have been a cheesy, terrible romance-esque novel, but I’m proud to say that it wasn’t. My $1 and I are pleased.
Catherine Monroe's The King's Nun is about a young soon-to-be nun named Amelia who is chosen by her abbess to lead King Charlemagne on a tour of their monetary when he comes to visit. The monetary is in need of some financial aide, and Amelia’s job is to convince the king to give them some dough. When King Charlemagne arrives, Amelia realizes that she’s met him before, only she didn‘t know he was the king back then. Juicy, right?
King Charlemagne is impressed with Amelia’s intelligence, and soon he sends for her to come to the palace to advise him on some family issues. She’s not too thrilled about it, but she and the king become very close over the course of her stay at the palace. Not close like that, you gutter-minded animals, but, you know, emotionally close. Sort of. But eventually the king has to go to war with those dirty Saxons, and Amelia goes on with her life. I’d say the vast majority of the novel doesn’t even taken place with Amelia and Charlemagne in the same place.
Anyway, this easily could’ve taken a turn for the trashy side, but it really didn’t. There are no gratuitous sexual scenes, no mention of “loins,” and no trite happily-ever-after ending. I like that. Because of the subject matter, it kind of reminded me of The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, which is hands-down my favorite book ever. Monasteries and royals and history and all that.
I feel like I should mention one tiny thing that bothered me, even though I know I’m a total snob and this wouldn’t bother most normal people. The chapters go back and forth between Amelia’s point of view and Charlemagne’s point of view, which is totally fine. The problem is that Amelia’s chapters are written in the first person and Charlemagne’s are written in the third person limited. Why does that bother me? I don’t have a clue, but it did. I’m cool with bouncing to different view points (in fact, I think most of my favorite books do that), but aaarrgghhh, keep it in the same person.
All in all, it was a quick, entertaining little story, and I think it was well worth my time. I dare say it might have even been worth more than I paid for it.
3 out of 5 stars
Read from September 14, 2010 to September 22, 2010