I regard this gem breathlessly, and with a manner of panic, as I'm uncertain what to do with a book that has far beyond exceeded my expectations. I'm...moreI regard this gem breathlessly, and with a manner of panic, as I'm uncertain what to do with a book that has far beyond exceeded my expectations. I'm so rarely impressed or deeply moved by a book, but amongst the array of historical fiction I've read, I think this one is the best. How can such a book exist? Very nearly five stars from page one. It's books like these that make me panicked and impatient to read anything I may find remotely interesting, because it may turn out the way this book has.
As such, I'm forced to slog through a myriad of badly written novels hindered by cliche plotlines and horribly written characters. (Well. Not forced to read them, but you get my meaning.) I am always in search of this book. And in the extraordinarily rare event that I find it, I feel like rejoicing in companionable silence with the author, who seems to understand my own heart so well and if not, how could she have penned such a masterful story? My opinions seem very concise and are often placed on narrow paths, and as such people don't always agree with them. If I call this story masterful, there will always be other readers who don't understand why. But from my view, this story truly is. I cannot say enough good things about it.
Honestly, this tale was penned with such care for detail, such richness and enthrall that I found myself rereading passages again and again, which I rarely do nowadays. I adored the description, which wasn't overbearing or of distracting length as much writing is. The characters were fantastic--Mrs. Windham reminiscent of Mrs. Bennett from Pride & Prejudice (which is the perfect thing, because I love Mrs. Bennett--she cracks me up.) without taking direct or overly similar quotes from Jane Austen's dialogue, which I've seen done an irritating amount in historical fiction. (I guess I can't fault authors reflecting Austen's dialogue, though, fantastically elegant as it is.) And oh, the dialogue in this story. I almost want to take up a study of the execution of words, particularly those Mr. Macy says, although I don't think anyone uttered two sentences together that weren't thoughtfully expressed. If only we could speak that way in ordinary conversation in real life.
Anyway, certainly my favourite read of the year and the first to receive five stars! Hooray for Ms. Dotta--I look forward to the next book in this series and will be on the lookout for her future releases.
AND NOW that I got a proper, coherent review out of myself, it's time to entertain some moderate spazzing plus spoilers.
I need to just kdfnjgjbjf over the characters and a particular dose of delicious irony which was perfect, utterly perfect, that being how Edward had to marry Mr. Macy and Julia. Mr. Macy is an uncannily perfect villain, I just cannot with him--CANNOT, including "handle" nor "resist" his character and I do not want to. Every time I think "okay he's going to flip and show his true colours now. ok now. ok--now!" and he NEVER does and I'm just like WHAT IS HAPPENING I DO NOT UNDERSTAND kdfnngg what a blissful lack of understanding I keep. I am relishing for once being unable to predict what's going to happen in this series, this is epochal, this is so important you do not understand.
Also, Julia's personality? How she flips moods and seems so shallow and silent and meek? Dotta just makes it... work. She's not annoying at all. I feel like I can understand her perfectly, considering her circumstances, WHICH SUCK QUITE A BIT, let's be honest, here. But what I didn't understand was why she was suddenly so intensely afraid of Macy when he didn't really do anything to warrant it? Actually, he did nothing to warrant it, but that flashback to that tragic wedding Julia and the others witnessed seems to have been the trigger point. But why is Julia convinced that Macy is drawing her into a marriage like that? Why is Edward so vehement, I mean, beyond his jealousy towards Macy? That too isn't clear. Is he blinded by his jealousy and blowing Macy's "evil" out of proportion?
I mean Edward's a vicar. And yet his actions do make sense when you consider his past with Julia and other elements and kfnkgndf Dotta does such a fantastic job of weaving character relationships, and subtle but sweet moments in their pasts, like about Edward's stubbornness, or him hiding in a tree right above a lecturing Sarah, watching her. hehehe. I am invested.
... but particularly in Macy, because I can't resist such characterisations, and I need him to indefinitely stick around. He's brilliant, and his obsessive devotion to Julia jabbed me right in my Achilles' heel. SERIOUSLY. I feel inclined to do as he bid Julia and to go to him first when hearing slander regarding him... because he is not your average villain. If he were, why would he even disclose that he had dark secrets to Julia? He made no attempt to conceal the fact they were gritty and shocking, even if Julia at the time had no desire to learn them, and dismissed their existence quickly. Unlike Julia, I'm still in the position to swallow his lies, I think. SOUNDS GOOD TO ME.
hahaha. This book was dangerously close to perfection. Ten stars, really.
Very cute book, with a plethora of unnecessary profanity. The author spammed the f-word to the point of irritation, and that is probably the main reas...moreVery cute book, with a plethora of unnecessary profanity. The author spammed the f-word to the point of irritation, and that is probably the main reason why I dropped my rating to four stars. It was otherwise a lovely story; real and heartfelt and gritty and sweet. (less)
Enjoyable and well written. I love YA historical, and I love Harvey's writing style. She has a dedication to just the right amount of interesting deta...moreEnjoyable and well written. I love YA historical, and I love Harvey's writing style. She has a dedication to just the right amount of interesting detail that both baffles and impresses me. My only qualm with the story was the attempt to weave too many threads all at once. There are too many PoVs, which is distracting in the beginning, but they do later merge, as the characters are more frequently together, so I didn't mind in the end. But I felt like too much was happening in this book, and it could've done without focusing on a few characters. The world of magic was so broad and strange that I'm not sure what I thought about it, although I'm biased--I'm not a fan of magic that alters human anatomy, so I thought Emma growing antlers was really silly.
All the same, a fantastic read. I'm looking forward to the next one!(less)