Normally I wouldn’t review such a poorly written book that I randomly picked up on Kindle Unlimited, but I was floored that there is a plethora of strong reviews for this book on Goodreads. The premise sounds good, but the writing technique was poor. The book had several problems:
- Absolutely no white space/scene break between scenes. Characters would seemingly do the equivalent of teleporting or time traveling (for example: in one scene the two main characters are down by the barn, and suddenly in the next paragraph the male lead is looking out his study window). This was jarring and confusing.
- Almost-but-not-quite-fully-omniscient point of view. I normally don’t like full omniscience, but I think I would have in this book had it not been for the previous problem of zero scene breaks.
- Too much side story and too many characters. This book needs an editor to go through and kill those darlings (sorry, Penelope and Michael, and solicitor who likes honey).
- The villain was too adept at his villainy ways while at the same time being absolutely terrible at it. He’s constantly drunk, and reportedly poor, but somehow can afford to follow people all over the place and find time to stay upright while doing so?
- The main plot dragged on for so. freaking. long. Again, kill those darlings. This dragged because: 1) too much subplot/too many characters; 2) too much drama with the villain without any actual action taken on it; 3) unnecessary detail; and 4) the “Who is Angelique… really?!?!” subplot.
If this book was run through a solid reading group and got a hearty round of editing, it could be a really good story. Unfortunately, its meanderings and poor writing technique makes it a struggle to read in its current state.
I gave this two stars because if you set all those problems aside, there was nice historical detail and a sort-of romance. The heart of the plot kept trying to beat along, everything else just clogged it along the way.
My review on Goodreads has some late-plot commentary hidden behind spoiler tags, if you are interested in checking those out.