The simple review: I liked this book. I generally like Tessa Dare so that’s unsurprising, but this may be one of my favorites of hers. Clio, the mainThe simple review: I liked this book. I generally like Tessa Dare so that’s unsurprising, but this may be one of my favorites of hers. Clio, the main character, is just so resolutely herself that it’s refreshing.
The story starts with Clio waiting 8 years for her fiance to get around to marrying her. She doesn’t think she loves him and is fully convinced he doesn’t love her. She can’t just move on though because there is a contract and he has to release her from it. But, he is gone to mysterious parts unknown on diplomatic duty. Never fear, the fiance’s brother Rafe is acting as the Marquess in his brother’s stead and can release her. But he won’t. Instead, he thinks his brother is the best and she deserves the best. He proceeds to spend a fortune trying to convince Clio of this. But Clio knows herself and knows she wants her independence. She inherited a castle and has grand plans to make it fully sustainable. No one understands this need or this plan. But Clio goes along with Rafe’s attempts to convince her because she has always been a follower and kind of meek. But beneath that, she has a strong will, because no matter what he does or how she seems to capitulate, she sticks to her plan.
I think the best part of this book though is Tessa Dare does not take the easy way out.
I probably shouldn't write this review yet because I'm still reeling from the end of the book. I'm one of those people who reacts differently after aI probably shouldn't write this review yet because I'm still reeling from the end of the book. I'm one of those people who reacts differently after a day or two, but in this case, I don't think I'm going to change my mind.
This book was beautiful. Odd to say about a book with gritty executions partially set in 1940s occupied Florence, Italy. But the writing itself was beautiful.
The story begins with Caterina and Isabella (Cati and Issa) in Florence as the armistice is declared, just before Germany invades. The first few chapters draw you in to their lives and you don't want to leave. Then you move to present day and the mystery of two rather grisly executions. The inspector on the case, while investigating, comes across a journal written by Cati. His interest in the journal keeps the reader involved with both parts of the story. He comes across as a little stodgy and, until he found the journal, boring and career-focused. Normally that would be hard to read because a character like that can be hard for me to connect with. But the journal draws him out and gives him depth.
To me, the journal is the most amazing part (in case you can't tell). Even though what you learn of the sisters is limited to interspersed journal entries, you feel like you are still part of their lives. Like you are getting a glimpse of history and some tiny idea of what that daily struggle was like. The parallels between past and present, dead and living were well done.
Overall, one of the best books I've read in a while....more
It took me too many months to read it to give it a fair review. That may be a review in and of itself. It was good. It was not what I expected from thIt took me too many months to read it to give it a fair review. That may be a review in and of itself. It was good. It was not what I expected from the title. I expected more a history of how the Victorians came to be. It's more a look at who the Victorians were as framed by the current view of our society. Maybe we've typecast them too much. I may read it again one day in a more condensed setting so I can get a better overview. Sometimes it was too focused. Sometimes not focused enough. Interesting though if you are curios about constructs of Victorian society. Also good if you want to know about some lesser known aspects and people of the time. Worth a read if you like Victorian England....more