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Now Face to Face (Through a Glass Darkly #3)

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3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  2,758 Ratings  ·  202 Reviews
The unforgettable sequel to Karleen Koen’s beloved debut, Through a Glass Darkly

A Book-of-the-Month Club main selection


A bride at fifteen, widowed at the tender age of twenty, Barbara, Countess Devane, embarks for colonial Virginia financially ruined by the death of her husband in scandalous circumstances. Dressed in mourning as is proper for a woman, she is patronizingly de
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Paperback, 752 pages
Published January 8th 2008 by Broadway Books (first published January 1st 1995)
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Community Reviews

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Amy Bruno
Dec 10, 2008 Amy Bruno rated it really liked it
For me, with movies, the sequels are never better than the original. In my opinion, the same can be said for Now Face to Face, which is the sequel for Through a Glass Darkly. Not to say that I did not enjoy it and am not happy that I read it, but it wasn’t quite up there with the TAGD.

After the death of her husband, Barbara is beside herself with grief. Her grandmother, the Duchess of Tamworth, offers her the chance to go to Colonial Virginia to check out her newly acquired tobacco plantation. W
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Rowena
Apr 03, 2008 Rowena rated it really liked it
This book reminded me of how much I truly enjoy historical fiction. The story began in sparse and spare colonial Virginia but was interspersed with scenes of delicious London court intrigues. The heroine, Barbara was a believable and lovable character despite (or perhaps because of) her human foibles. This book would have fallen in my "unbelievable reads" category if the last few hundred pages didn't peter off. I understand the novel was based on James II's attempts to wrest the throne from King ...more
Misfit
Oct 29, 2008 Misfit rated it liked it
****SPOILERS POSSIBLE***

NWTF continues the story of Barbara Devane begun in Through a Glass Darkly. Widowed and saddled with her husband's huge debts, Barbara's grandmother convinces her to inspect the Virginia plantation she now owns and she's soon sailing westward, although much to the chagrin of her mother Diana and Cousin Tony (who loves her and would marry her despite her crippling debts).

Our plucky heroine sets the plantation to rights, runs off the black hearted smugglers, frees the slave
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Naksed
The dead are not dead, they sang. They are not under the earth. They are in the rustling trees. They are in the groaning wood. They are in the moaning rocks. The dead are not dead.

Now face to face, Karleen Koen's sequel to her best-selling historical fiction novel Through a Glass darkly is many things. One is a wistful hymn to the beloved dead. The author wrote the book as her sister was slowly dying of cancer and the despair and love and painful efforts to make sense of it, to reconcile oneself
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Matthew
Aug 19, 2010 Matthew rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Now Face to Face is the first novel I've finished in which I was/am truly saddened to have to say goodbye to the characters and story.

That being said I did enjoy reading it, despite the fact that it almost felt like two entirely separate novels crammed into one.

Through A Glass Darkly ends with Barbara on a boat headed to Virginia. That is right where Now Face to Face picks up.

Koen tried, rather unsuccessfully, to juggle the story of Barbara's time in Virginia along with a subplot in London for
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Becky
Feb 27, 2009 Becky rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Historical Fiction Fans, Karleen Koen Fans
Shelves: reallyenjoyable
This was a really great book, but I was disappointed in the ending. I loved "Through a Glass Darkly" and reread it before starting on this one. While I did enjoy this book, I felt like the first 500 pages were spent getting the reader invested in all of the characters, their stories, and what the future held for them. The rest of the book seemed like a rushed attempt to wrap up these stories & some were still left wide open. There were events that you wanted to read about that were described ...more
Lori McD
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nattie
Sep 29, 2012 Nattie rated it did not like it
Shelves: incomplete
Through a glass darkly was pretty good up until a bit past Barbara finding out what her husband was up to; then the thing just went to the dogs. That book had way too much pointless graphic sex. It was a dirty and trashy read, which I just finished several days ago. I'll admit I skipped a few pages here and there. I had Now face to face waiting by my bedside and couldn't wait to get at it, that was of course before I read the first book, after having struggled through that one, I wasn't too keen ...more
Ron
Jul 24, 2012 Ron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A solid four stars.

Koen brings her "history" to a satisfying conclusion, with plenty of twists and turns along the way. The energy level was lower than Through a Glass Darkly, but the writing better. A few of the subplots were too neatly concluded.

Koen successfully relates how the Bible (as well as Shakespeare, John Donne, etc.) wove through the consciousness of the eighteenth century, even among people who were not believers. That's a rare achievement.

Several egregious errors about boats and bo
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Gilda Felt
Mar 14, 2017 Gilda Felt rated it really liked it
I very much enjoyed my return to the adventures of Barbara, Countess Devane and those of her friends and family, though much of this book is focused on the Jacobite plots against George I, and how many of them are affected by, or affect, the workings against the crown. Having just watched The History of Scotland, I was aware of how it all played out, and of the attributes, both good and bad, of James Stuart and George Hanover.

But there is much in the book that deals with the personal: weddings a
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Holly
Aug 09, 2012 Holly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: yummy-history, owned
My first worry upon starting this book was that the Duchess of Tamworth might no longer be with us......she is! Alive and kicking and more astute and ornery than ever.

In this book, new characters are introduced and old characters take on more dominant roles. We start out with Barbara's New World adventures, which could be subtitled 'Lady Devane Grows Up'. Barbara is at last pitched forcefully from the cocoon of her sheltering life and her focus on her own needs and desires. She becomes a sociall
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Suzanne
From the jacket: "A child bride at fifteen, widow at twenty, Barbara Montgeoffry, Countess Devane, arrives in colonial Virginia in 1721. Emotionally devastated and financially ruined by her husband's death, she must find the strength and skill to turn a family tobacco plantation into a prosperous enterprise. But soon, as King George and James Stuart vie for the English crown, Barbara will return to London, entering a world of treacherous intrigue to confront her enemies, reclaim what is rightful ...more
Lori Anderson
Mar 10, 2011 Lori Anderson rated it liked it
"Now Face to Face" is the sequel to Karleen Koen's book "Through a Glass Darkly". I dearly love historical fiction, and as I devoured "Through a Glass Darkly and gave it a resounding Five Stars, I really looked forward to the sequel.

Eh. Well.

This book was on its way to being put on my "Not Finished" shelf, but I persevered and the pace finally picked up and the story fell back into the method of her first book. When I finished the book, I had tears in my eyes, and felt the novel had redeemed its
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Kara
Aug 21, 2015 Kara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-colonial

“Nothing changes, everything changes” – several characters repeat this mantra throughout the story, and it certainly sums up the plot as the wheels of change grind along slowly. Nothing appears to change on the surface, but meanwhile, huge upheaval is on its way as the 18th century gets going.

Lady Barbara spends some time in the Virginia colony, and quickly becomes the only person to realize slavery is bad because she is just. that. special. However, Barbara’s Mary-Sue like tendencies are watere
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Linda Wulf
Jun 02, 2011 Linda Wulf rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked it, couldn't stop reading it, but was exhausted by the end--not because of the writing, by any means, but because of all the intrigue, the plotting, the backstabbing. I really needed a break by the time I finished this and the one before it, Through a Glass Darkly. Yes, I know, life at Court was grueling. It was what it was. I could never have survived it. Thank goodness Barbara ends up with the man she wanted to be with; I was very afraid he would die, as so many other beloved character ...more
Raya
Jan 22, 2010 Raya rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Man this book draaaagged! When you find yourself skipping lines, then whole paragraphs, and flipping to the next page, then it’s probably time to throw in the towel. But no, I insisted on finding out how it ended, and in so doing read 700 pages, of which only about 200 was relevant information. Was it really necessary to include the thoughts of every…single…person, minor character or not? Does she really have that little faith where she can’t rely on her readers to make inferences and read betwe ...more
Anna Anderson
I loved Through a Glass Darkly, which is the first book and I loved this book as well, but not quite as much as Through a Glass Darkly. I need a third book, so I can catch up on what everyone is now doing...I don't like for books to just end, unless there is another one coming along to tie up any loose ends. There is also Dark Angels, but that is about Barbaras grandmother and was written later. They are all three great examples of historical fiction that is juicy, but also loaded with factual i ...more
Charlotte
Jun 20, 2013 Charlotte rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I somewhat enjoyed the other two books in this series, so I started this one as a fun summer read. I can't even come close to finishing it. When you read "He was a sensual man whom pleasure did not frighten. Pleasure did not frighten her, either. They saw that in each other. It was like a promise between them" and you still have over 500 pages to go, you know it's time to call it quits.
Emily
Jul 17, 2013 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Completely agree that I miss these characters now that I've finished the book; but I'll get more sleep and feel less in need of coffee STAT when I get to work. Vividly drawn and well-constructed prose. Read this several years ago and yet every twist of the story was tense and enjoyable again.
Nicolette Horsthuis
So. Boring. I liked the first book, Through a Glass Darkly, well enough. Although the end was a bit of a slog. But this book... it was a little too much of everything: too much Emo Barbara, too much Barbara the magnificent, way too much time devoted to politics, too much being sad and reminiscing from everyone. I just wanted to read the storyline but the author gets bogged down by reflection. Her characters think way too much. At any rate, skimming through much of the book a decent storyline eme ...more
~mad
May 17, 2017 ~mad rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: booksiveread
Great book - enjoyed the tale and learned more about history as well!

Second of two - eventually the prequel!

I highly recommend - it'll grab you.
Jenny Q
Mar 04, 2010 Jenny Q rated it really liked it
As with Through A Glass Darkly, this novel takes its title and its themes from this verse:

When I was a child, I spake as a child. I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face; now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
~ I Corinthians 13:11-13

I absolutely loved Through
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Susan
Aug 10, 2012 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First, I'd give this one 3 1/2 stars if I could because I did not like the ending...not what happened at the ending, but how it was constructed and what characters were actually in the ending. I do think protagonists should be in the ending and I would have appreciated some further explanation of some plot resolutions. With that being said, I did enjoy this book which tells what happens to Barbara Devane and other characters after "Through A Glass Darkly." The reader is introduced to some additi ...more
Heather Williams
What a wonderful surprise this book was. I purchased it when it was on sale with the other two in the series (which I've already read). And I put off reading this one for a long time. In fact, I started reading it a year ago and put it down after chapter 1, not picking it up again until 2 weeks ago. Now I'm glad I did.

This is the final Tamworth story - and the conclusion of Barbara (sort of).

A lot of this book felt like I was reading 2 books in one. One story in Virginia and one in England. An
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Jenny Brown
Jun 17, 2012 Jenny Brown rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up hoping it would be half as good as Through A Glass Darkly, only to end up thinking it might even be better.

It was so nice to have a big rich historical novel, written for women, which dwelled almost entirely on factors other than romance. Yes, there is a satisfying romance in this story, but it is only a very small part of it, and the matrix in which it is embedded is so interesting that even without the romance the story would still keep you turning the pages. I also loved tha
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Shelley
Jan 11, 2016 Shelley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kathleen Koen is a great writer. I can see why Diana Gabaldon had such praise for her books. The two authors have similar writing styles – great historical detail and an appreciation for what every character brings to the table. As a reader you start to feel like a member of the community, deeply entrenched in the lives of these characters.

This book did not have the same amount of sex and scandal as Through a Glass Darkly, and it explored deeper topics like slavery in the colonies. I found thes
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Allison G
May 24, 2013 Allison G rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Karleen Koen's books - wish there were more in this series. I love Barbara and all of the other characters that weave in and out of her life. I don't want to leave her world! I laugh, I cry, I get angry, I am amazed. What a beautiful world Koen creates...there are so many possibilities for more books. I would love to see her write the Alice (the Duchess) and Richard's story that happens between Dark Angels and Through a Glass Darkly. I would love to see her write a story that continues Ba ...more
Shannon
Jul 20, 2008 Shannon rated it it was amazing
This is the second book in Karleen Koens series. Barbara is all grown up now, & fleas to the new world to escape the death of her husband & family. Barbara is in for a real surprise Virginia is nothing like London. All her black gowns are useless there, Hyacinthe is not a servant but a slave, & life is far from easy in the new world. Barbara takes on Virginia in great stride, before long she is growing her own tobacco, & steering up trouble with her Londoner ways. When she finall ...more
Christina
May 29, 2009 Christina rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009-reads, fiction
Unlike it’s predecessor, Through a Glass Darkly, Now Face to Face lacks the drama, glitz, intrigue, and wonderfully written characters. I wavered between caring and not giving a care about what happened, and continually asked myself what happened to Koen’s writing abilities between her first novel and her second.

There’s just too much going on, and it’s all poorly strung together as we jump across the pond to England and back again to Virginia. This poorly constructed storyline is distract, confu
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Betty
Jan 20, 2015 Betty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I read the first in the series, (second if you count the prequel,)Through a Glass Darkly, I became totally engrossed in the characters and their lives, even when I wasn't actively reading it. So much so that I often had trouble getting to sleep after putting the book down. I even missed a turn on a road trip, driving over an hour off our route before realizing because I was thinking about the story.

I didn't lose myself, and my touch with real life, quite as much with this story, but it is
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