Flame-Coloured Taffeta by Rosemary Sutcliff
Genre: Middle Grade, historical fiction
Published on April 1, 1989
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Read From: 7.15.12 - 7.21.12
Cover Blurb: This is a cover that could do with a makeover. It’s not bad, but it is a tired cover, nothing terribly exciting about it, though it does say “historical fiction right here!”
What I Liked: Damaris is an adventurous and likable protagonist. It’s true that she doesn’t actually do all that much in the story, but it isn’t because she’s useless; there just isn’t all that much that happens. It’s a novella, remember. Tom’s humor is surprisingly funny; I wasn’t entirely expecting it, and I liked it. And of course Snowball, Damaris’s fat little pony, was adorable.
What I Disliked: Only the fact that it wasn’t longer. So much more could have happened, and I wish more had.
Believability: This Author does an amazing amount of research for her stories; she’s known for it. And she always has a wonderfully detailed Author’s Note for all of her stories that explains what isn’t true or if she has changed the locations of things (which she doesn’t do often). Though only a novella, I got the feeling that she gave the historical aspects of this story as much attention as her others.
Writing Style: Some reviewers (and no, I am not pointing fingers at anyone in particular) complained that Readers would have difficulty getting past all of the long sentences and apostrophes and dashes. They make it sound like the book is difficult to get through. It isn’t. It took me longer to read than it should have because I was distracted that week, but on a normal week it would have only taken me half a day. There is nothing wrong with Sutcliff’s writing style - as usual. I never have anything to complain about with her writing. The sentences are no longer than usual.
Conclusion: My biggest complaint is, definitely, that the story wasn’t longer. It felt like it had so much more that could have happened - and did happen, but in the background. This could have easily gone from a novella to a full-fledged novel. That is my only sorrow. For a novella, the end was satisfying enough, but still - more could have happened.
Recommended Audience: It is appropriate for all ages, both guys and girls would like it, and historical fiction fans will enjoy it.