Official Review: The Royal Secret by john bentley

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rachel_jacks
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Official Review: The Royal Secret by john bentley

Post by rachel_jacks » 31 Aug 2016, 12:27

[Following is the official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Royal Secret" by john bentley.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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The Royal Secret is John Bentley's first historical fiction novel. It explores the life of Francis Bacon, who lived during the time of Queen Elizabeth I in the mid to late 1500's. In this novel, Mrs. G, an elderly woman living in modern day America, journeys to Europe in the fall of 2014 to chase the hidden clues about the true life of Francis a Bacon and the belief that he was the real author of the works credited to William Shakespeare. On her journey she is tempted by immortality, the very temptation that may have resulted in her close employer's death.

The book is presented with a very professional feel. It contains more than just the story, including an enlightening Prologue and Afterword. Bentley also includes a "Cast of Characters" to help identify the real and fictional characters in the book. The extent of the research that went into this book is clear throughout. Some chapters of the story jump back in time to tell of current events in the 1500's involving Francis and the Queen of England, while other facts are included more abruptly. At times I felt as if I were reading a history book and not a piece of fiction. The real history lesson occurs in the Afterword as Bentley provides detailed support for his description of events in this fictional work.

Despite the amount of effort put into organizing and preparing this work, there are a handful of typographical errors, missing punctuation, and grammatical errors that detract from the polished piece expected. In addition to these errors, overall I found the piece lacking in engaging content. At times I found myself lost in the story, other times I struggled just to keep reading. This could be from personal tastes, as I prefer fiction over history. My previous experiences with historical fiction have blended history and fiction into a captivating story. I felt that this book lacked that balance and contained too much unrelated history.

I would definitely suggest this book for fans of history, conspiracy, and cover ups. It was one of the aspects that drew me to this book to begin with. While I was disappointed with the execution, there are many merits in the historical evidence used in the book that history buffs may appreciate more.

Aside from trying to prove who Francis Bacon really was, his ties to the throne, and even to Mary Magdalene, Bentley weaves another message into his book about the quest for immortality. Francis Bacon was allegedly trying to find a way to beat death (and is argued to have succeeded). Similarly, Abe, Mrs. G's employer, was searching for a cure to disease, a way to overcome the potential epidemic the world faces as antibiotics become increasingly less effective. The reader learns that Mrs. G is determined to complete her journey, despite having a severe illness. Through her journey, the reader learns that there is more to life than being the best.

I would rate The Royal Secret by John Bentley as earning 3 out of 4 stars. With a little more action to hold the readers' attention, it could easily earn higher.

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Post by Shelle » 07 Sep 2016, 17:31

Great review!
I love historical fiction and this story sounds really interesting. Editing problems can drive me nuts too, so I appreciate you mentioning those issues.
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Post by Amh73090 » 09 Sep 2016, 10:31

Thanks for sharing your great review. This sounds very interesting. While I don't usually read historical fiction this sounds very interesting.
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Post by rachel_jacks » 09 Sep 2016, 11:12

It lacked the action and suspense that I enjoy, but seemed to be founded in extensive research and was well written overall :)
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Post by kimmyschemy06 » 14 Sep 2016, 06:00

Sounds like a very interesting book. I love historical fiction and I would like to read about Francis Bacon. I already read some materials attributing the works of Shakespeare to various writers. It seems that critics could not believe that someone like Shakespeare who had more ties with the land could ever come up with literary gems like Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet. Too bad, though, about the errors in this book. It could have been one great read. Good job on the review.

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Post by rachel_jacks » 14 Sep 2016, 09:53

kimmyschemy06 wrote:Sounds like a very interesting book. I love historical fiction and I would like to read about Francis Bacon. I already read some materials attributing the works of Shakespeare to various writers. It seems that critics could not believe that someone like Shakespeare who had more ties with the land could ever come up with literary gems like Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet. Too bad, though, about the errors in this book. It could have been one great read. Good job on the review.
The errors are not extensive and did not detract much from the reading. I would not pass on this book simply for the few errors it contains. The story is well researched and backed with support, so if you like historical fiction, especially Shakespeare and Francis Bacon, then I would definitely give this book a try!
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Post by Kimber1099 » 19 Sep 2016, 02:09

Thanks for sharing the review. Historical ficton is one of my favorits.

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Post by zero_macabre » 19 Sep 2016, 02:14

I don't really read historical fiction so perhaps I won't check out this book, but thank you for pointing out the flaws of this book and writing a great review!
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Post by gali » 08 Mar 2017, 08:54

Sounds interesting. Too bad about the lack of balance between the history and fiction sections. Nonetheless, I will give it a try. Good job on the review!
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Post by ashley_claire » 08 Mar 2017, 12:27

I enjoy historical fiction from this time period. I like that there seems to be a mystery element also thrown into this book. The lack of balance between history and fiction does give me a bit of pause. Looking forward to reading a few pages to see for myself if it's something I'll enjoy. Thanks for the review!

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Post by Momlovesbooks » 08 Mar 2017, 14:08

Nice job on the review! While I usually enjoy a good historical fiction novel, this doesn't seem to be one I'd choose. I don't like occult themes. Also, editing issues can drive me crazy!

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Post by Vermont Reviews » 08 Mar 2017, 21:54

Great review on today's book of the day.
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Post by Donnavila Marie01 » 09 Mar 2017, 01:03

Great review. The review invites me to read the book. What I know about Francis Bacon is, he was one of the great American philosophers. I will surely love this book.
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Post by Gorrety Yogo » 09 Mar 2017, 03:08

I hate history but love fiction though.

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Post by GennivieCatiil » 09 Mar 2017, 05:08

History is to know on what our past and I love it to read

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