I was going to leave this one unrated but I don't have a shelf for unrated books and on mobile it's cumbersome to create new shelves,Whoaaaaaaaaaaaa.
I was going to leave this one unrated but I don't have a shelf for unrated books and on mobile it's cumbersome to create new shelves, so I went ahead and gave it 4 stars - but mehn! I don't know whether to give it 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 stars! Hot damn, what did I just read?
This was NOT a romance. No ma'am. At all. And yet, it is a more realistic romance that stayed true to to the historical reality of its era than, oh, probably any historical romance I have ever read, I think.
Set in Italy during the renaissance era, the main character Ms Denys created - Domenico, Duke (here, "duke" means "king") of Cabria, is exactly how historical accounts have described monarchs and powers that be of the era. People who wielded absolute power over their subjects, who took what - and who - they would, with no one (except mebbe the Roman Catholic Church) to gainsay them. People who were surrounded by sycophants and had been raised from childhood being indulged in their every whim.
Domenico bought Felicia because he could; forced her to become his mistress, because he could; tortured a boy to death when he thought she preferred the boy better because he could.
He was a very flawed human being, as capricious and horrible as you'd imagine one who had absolute power and indemnity from consequences would be; petty, childish. And he was also capable of love as well, as much love as someone like him could be.
Felicia.....Sigh. Felicia was a doormat. But that was how life was for women then, more so for bastard women, and even more for bastard women who caught the eye of the ruler of the land. She was a doormat, yes, but that was more because she was truly helpless in the situation than because doormat-ness was an intrinsic part of her character. She was gullible to the machinations of various people at court, but that was mostly because she was ignorant and untutored in court life and intrigue. She was interesting, this doormat who wasn't really a doormat.
This book was.....accurate, too accurate for comfort mehn. No illusions, no whitewashing characters to make them more palatable for modern sensibilities, none of that.
It is because of this historical reality that we can call this...this....this.... "romance" a romance.
Just.... I don't even know. This was a very realistic historical 'romance.' If nothing at all, that's what it is. ...more
I am rather confused. I don't know whether to rate this book 4, 3, or even 2 stars!
Ms Ivory was doing the most here - going into a bit too much detaiI am rather confused. I don't know whether to rate this book 4, 3, or even 2 stars!
Ms Ivory was doing the most here - going into a bit too much detail about sheep farming and the intricacies of the confidence trickster life. They were necessary to the plot but in too much detail. We didn't new all that research to be out into the book.
I am also not sure I like the circumstances under which the protagonists hung out and fell in love. I wish it had been different.
But what I absolutely loved were the two main characters. They were glorious. Emma I loved without reservation. Loved her character. Self-aware, self-assured, confident in her abilities, capable......awesome. I'd take her over any of the "headstrong, independent" heroines that pepper historical romance any day. Loved her. Loved that she was on the chubby side, or as Stuart liked to think of her "a grownup cherub." Loved her common sense, her independence, her impulsiveness, or "going daft", as she called it.
I also loved Stuart. Loved him. And I can't tell you why. I am sure that in other circumstances/the hands of a less talented writer I would've found him too pushy, or even a tad rapey, perhaps.
But oh, I didn't. Instead I enjoyed and adored the character Ms Ivory created. Loved his pushiness, loved the substance of him. I loved that his speech impediment was a great part of his charm, and how he seemed to have mastered it most of the time. Loved his kindness.....I really loved Stuart, and I am very sure I would've hated him elsewhere. But no. Here, he's Bae.
So yeah. Amazing characters who I loved reading about; interesting enough story, but I wish they'd been in any other setting but that.
I also felt cheated at the end. I wanted an epilogue. I wanted to see the HEA of these two compelling characters in action. But alas.
Love, love, LOVED IT! Oh this one was beautiful, I tell you - simply beautiful! Where has Sherry Thomas been all my life? And how come y'all waited tiLove, love, LOVED IT! Oh this one was beautiful, I tell you - simply beautiful! Where has Sherry Thomas been all my life? And how come y'all waited till now to tell me about her?!!!!!!!...more
I have a few friends on GR, who, when they are effusive about books, well then, such books must simply be read, because they don't steer you wrong (whI have a few friends on GR, who, when they are effusive about books, well then, such books must simply be read, because they don't steer you wrong (what a lot of commas!)
Well anyway, after NU recommending this book to me, and after reading her review, I just had to read the book. And she wasn't lying.
I'd write a review myself but I am lazy. Just go read her review here ...more
I have so many thoughts, but no energy to write them down as this book has left me exhausted.
Having worked with people suffering from brain injuriesI have so many thoughts, but no energy to write them down as this book has left me exhausted.
Having worked with people suffering from brain injuries as well as having lived in a community of faith whose beliefs and practices aren't the healthiest....well, I have thoughts.
For now, I think Lady Danielle's review is the best I've seen, and I'll link to it sometime when I'm not on goodreads mobile.
Disclaimer: please note. I am not calling Quaker beliefs and practice of the Christian faith unealthy. Having gone to a Quaker college and having been inspired in my faith by several Quaker authors myself, I know this is far from the case....more
The characters were sooooo bland. This heroine is as plain, nondescript, and uninteresting as she presents. No hidden depths to her (well, Ms Hoyt wouThe characters were sooooo bland. This heroine is as plain, nondescript, and uninteresting as she presents. No hidden depths to her (well, Ms Hoyt would have you believe different but she totally fails in that regard). Also unlikable really. She isn't a bitch or anything, but yeah, nothing there.
Nondescript hero and uninteresting side mystery. Blah....more
So.... I think if I had read this book earlier, when I was more able to suspend disbelief, I would've rated it even higher - possibly 5 stars3 stars.
So.... I think if I had read this book earlier, when I was more able to suspend disbelief, I would've rated it even higher - possibly 5 stars.
But with every passing birthday, it seems I grow more cynical/realistic/unwilling to suspend said disbelief, and it's wreaking havoc with my enjoyment of historical romances.
For the first half of the book, I felt that the writing was...off. I can't quite put my finger on it, but it felt like the writing was getting in the way of the story. I don't know how to explain it, but that is how it felt to me. That resolved itself with the second half, and well, the resolution brought with it new problems.
See...I just couldn't credit it. This is not just a story of abandonment. He didn't just throw her out - but he threw her out with nothing, in an era when women alone had no recourse to any help, and were like as not to end up in the workhouse or a brothel to keep body and soul together. He threw her out while she was pregnant. With his child (even though he didn't believe it). After killing her cousin, whom she loved, for no just reason - all because he wouldn't listen.
So fair enough- helping the wounded soldier n all. But I can't credit, after all that (and then learning he'd been enjoying time with his 'Mimi') - after 5 years of sorrow and trouble and almost losing her son, which would never have happened had she had his protection - after all that, going glibly into his arms because 'love.' Nah, bruh. I just couldn't credit it. So her inner conflict, what little there was of it, didn't work for me. At all.
I can credit forgiveness because you don't wanna be choked with hate; I can't credit getting back together again with Jack, not with all that happened. Can't do it.
So.....yeah, I guess it was a good story in the sense that it's pretty well-written. But it is not a good story in the sense that....nope. Nah. Neaux. Not true. Not creditable....more
These days I suffer from exam stress and insomnia. Reading helps me cope, and that is the only reason I read this book to the end. What a bor1.5 stars
These days I suffer from exam stress and insomnia. Reading helps me cope, and that is the only reason I read this book to the end. What a boring, lackluster couple/story? Nope. Not a good one. At all. ...more