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The Ugly Duchess Lion Feuchtwanger

The Ugly Duchess

Lion Feuchtwanger

Published 1961
188 pages
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 About the Book 

Dutch translation of Die hässliche Herzogin (The Ugly Duchess in English)Im done! Im free!This book was SO promising! It had everything one would need for an awesome historical novel- it plays in the 14th century, in countries about which there are not too many novels, and has some amazing characters about, to my knowledge, there are no or almost no other novels. Duchess Margarete of Tyrol is an amazing subject for a book- she inherited her fathers land and ruled over them, was respected depsite her apparently bad looks, got divorced against the popes will and was in the middle of big political drama over several lands (of which a map would have been much appreciated). There are also several other intersting characters, most with fun quirks. How adorable is her grown son Meinhard with his pet dormouse, for instance? The description of Frauenberg is also nicely done.So just 1 star? Yes. I expected this to be 4, but it quickly dropped to 3, 2, then 1. My problem as that I felt we never really got to know the characters, and never really got a feeling of being in the place where they were. It all felt really flat to me. It started off well enough with the part about Margaretes father, whom we got to know a little, but quickly goes downhill with sentence upon sentence about politics, names, lands... all very confusing and, pardon me for repeating, flat. I also had the idea that a lot of commas must have turned into dots in the dutch translation (though I cant check or prove this suspicion) - Germans love long sentences with loads of commas, but there were none to be found here. The sentences often just did not flow, and often seemed like half sentences. It just went boom boom boom fact fact fact.The last part of the book does deserve 2 stars perhaps as it has a lot of Meinhard and the despicable Frauenberg, but it seriously lacks our subject Margarete. I so wanted to get to know her, but I never did. It would appear to me she deserves better.I feel weird for taking down a classic like this, but I really did not enjoy this read.p.s. Im sorry, I have to add in one more complaint- I think it is normal for historical novels if the characters believe in fairies and witches and the like as thats what people did. And if the novel has witches in it, theyre bound to see spirits, I get that, the story calls for it. But in this most serious of novels, all about politics, the main character does not only believe in gnomes.... she also sees and hears them! What is that all about?! It really does not fit in!