It's Cheesy Saga Time!

Just look at that that cheesy saga material, or what?  No wonder A Reader's Respite couldn't resist.  We're such a sucker for a big ol' family drama-saga and at 600+ pages, this one certainly fit the bill.

Now y'all know this one wasn't going to be winning any Pulitzers, right?  It's about as subtle as a freight train.  Published by Viking in 1978, Fred Stewart offers up a steamy dish of love, war (the US Civil War to be exact), betrayal, murder, wealth, politics, Mexican bandits, cheating spouses, faked deaths....the list goes on and on.

The story chiefly follows one young couple, married at the onset of the Civil War and follows their lives through the war, on to Paris during the reign Napoleon III and the ensuing fall of the Second French Empire, and down to Mexico for the stirrings of the revolution to come in 1910.  Whew.  It's a long ride, but a fun one riddled with enough drama for an afternoon soap opera.

Napoleon III and his Empress Eugenie in better days

Stewart's writing is sound and the man knows how to build tension in a scene.  Of course, some descriptions and scenes do stray a bit over the top, but who can blame him?  When you have the power to do things like give your character a fatal case of syphilis or bring him back from the dead, you're bound to run away with it a tad.

If you can find the book (not an easy task since it's been out of print for years and years), it's worth a read.  A Reader's Respite went on a dedicated hunt for this book upon discovery of the infamous thread over at Amazon, entitled Bar none the very best historical novels.  This thread is now 6,285 posts long chocked full of historical fiction recommendations by book lovers and if you haven't seen it yet, be prepared to be sucked in for hours and hours.  A Rage Against Heaven was the first recommendation in this long, long thread and we consider it a badge of honor that we tracked it down and read it.

We'll even leave you with our most memorable sentence (disclaimer: don't read on if your sensibilities are too delicate.  You've been warned!):

Lew rolled over on top of her and straddled her, his throbbing *enis jutting out below his belly like the bowsprit of a Yankee clipper.

We laughed over that line for about two days.  *snort*  Good luck trying to get that image out of your head.  You'll never watch the America's Cup in the same way again.

FTC crap:  A Reader's Respite purchased this book and we've gotta tell you, it took forever and a day to find a copy that wasn't listed for $60+.  And we sure are grateful we were patient because the book was most assuredly NOT worth $60.


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  2. Huh. Well, normally I would see books like this and run like hell in the opposite direction. I get plenty of straddling and ships at full mast with Jamie and Claire!

  3. I think this guy is aka Fred Mustard Stewart, if memory serves. Which means I could never read him, because that condiment middle name puts me off. Yes, I know it's also a plant, but all I can think of is having a hot dog.

    That quote...eeeeeeewww!

  4. Yeah, I don't think this is for me, but I commend you for tracking it down and reading it!

  5. Michelle, I was so pleased to see this post, pleased enough to leave Google Reader, and head over here to your actual blog in order to leave a comment. I, too, saw the glowing recommendation in the first post on the 'bar none' thread. And, like you, I doggedly pursued a reasonably priced copy, started reading it with great anticipation, and was soooo disappointed. Then, continuing to read through other very enthusiastic comments on 'bar none' I began to think I must have missed something. Your reponse to this novel validates my original reaction. Thanks.

  6. Pretty Racy for 1978... I do believe I read this decades ago or something else that Fred Mustard Stewart wrote...ah the good ole days. I agree with Sandy, I would rather read about Jamie and Claire!!!

  7. Yay, comments are back to normal. I swear I posted one today :p

    Yes, the Bar None thread at Amazon that goes on and on and on and on. Hee.

  8. Delicate sensibilities? How 'bout a warning for those who might have recently had abdominal surgery and for whom laughing is painful? I am still laughing my butt off here.

  9. I can't stop laughing. If you can part with the gem, please consider me! Just found your blog through my insomniac rounds on the net, I am enjoying it immensely. have all that mast at one's disposal.

  10. Bybee - yes, this would be him: the condiment man, LOL.

    Kathy - I took one for the team. ;)

    Linda - thanks for stopping by. I know exactly what you mean re: the Ammy thread. I have yet to see a post discussing this particular book that wasn't just a glowing review, which has be scratching my head a bit. It wasn't a bad book by any means, it just wasn't what they were making it out to be (eg, Gone With the Wind).

  11. CelticLady - those 1970s sure churned out some racy novels (I keep thinking about Judy Blume here, ha).

    Misfit - not sure why the comments reverted back to this form? I sure as heck didn't mess with the html. ????? Maybe it's a sign that the platform wasn't a good one to begin with. I can take a hint. ;)

    Kristen - LOL, glad you weren't offended. These days, I figure I'd better be careful 'cause what I think is funny sometimes goes over like a lead balloon, if you know what I mean. ;)

    Yoli - so glad you found us and took the time to leave a comment! Send me your email address and as I'll send you the book after a couple of friends get done with it!

    Beth - it was indeed a lighter read. BTW, just started a book that came directly from YOUR recommendation: The Virgin of Small Plains. So far? wow.

  12. I thought I left a comment here... maybe I didnot!
    The post is HILARIOUS! and I am not even going to chk out that Amazon link!
    And the quote.. LOL!

  13. Interesting quote there LOL. Not a book I would read but glad you liked it.

  14. haha, look at her dress on the cover, it's almost like cake icing.

  15. Oh goodness! Now I won't be able to get that Yankee Clipper image out of my head.*snort* I'll make sure not to look for this one. ;P


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