September 29, 2015
I yam what I yam an' that's all that I yam!
Tautophrase. While you may never have heard of the word tautophrase, I bet you've heard
a tautophrase. Let me run through some: It ain't over 'till it's over, a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do, tomorrow is tomorrow, facts are facts, and a win is a win. According to Wikipedia a tautophrase is a phrase or sentence that repeats an idea in the same words. Which leads me to one of my all-time, least favorite phrases of modern time: "it is what it is." I cannot tell you how much I loathe that phrase. Every time I hear it, all I can see is someone’s shoulders shrugging. I've always felt it was a rather defeatist phrase - a just-give-up-there's-nothing-anyone-can-do-about-it phrase - too bad, sorry, a shrug of shoulders. I really don't like to hear it. So, when the hero of one of my historical books says it I am really thrown out of the story. I am tossed out firstly because I hatessss that phrase. Secondly would someone from I am assuming the 19th century say that? Thirdly, would someone from Oxenburg in the 19th century say that? Nyet! I tried finding any reference to "it is what it is" origins and all I was able to find was that the first time it showed up in writing was 1949. That of course does not mean a prince from Oxenburg would not have that phrase in his vocabulary, but I doubt it and it has such a modern cadence to it that I could do nothing else but stop my reading. But, hey it is what it is.
The Prince and I, by Karen Hawkins, is the second in The Oxenburg Princes series and is loosely based on the Robin Hood story. In this case our heroine, Murian (get it, Murian-Marion-Murian), is Robin Hood. She's the one who robs from the rich to give to the poor. Her band of merry men are mostly widows who have been kicked out of the castle which once belonged to Murian's husband. They all live hidden right under the bad guy’s nose in some run-down cottages in the forest. How the villain of this piece is never able to find them is beyond me. They have fires in their fireplaces in those cottage, how can you not see the smoke coming over the top of those trees? They also have the prince and his men taking wagon loads of building supplies daily to their little hidden place in the woods. All I can say is that the villain’s trackers should have been fired.
Anyway, Murian holds up Prince Gregori Maksim Alexsandr Romanovin and his feisty grandmother's carriage one evening. (Everyone calls him Max by the way.) Also, grandmother Natasha is a stubborn, outspoken elderly person who I think is supposed to be there for comic relief. She refers to herself as a Gypsy and goes around scaring people by casting spells and curses. There is also a plethora of accents: Murian has a high-class Scottish burr, while her followers have a lower-class burr. Then there is Max and gang's Russian/Oxenburg/Romania accent - it gets to be a little confusing.
If you are looking for a heavy-duty historically accurate book, this one is not for you. There is a cute romance and funny secondary characters with thick accents. The entire read is light and fun. If you don't have a problem with modern language creeping into the story you will find this an enjoyable read, but if you are a historical stickler you might want to pass this one by and avoid the pain it will cause your verra wee brain.
Time/Place: Sometime after some war Scotland, maybe early 1800s