I usually reserve my one-star reviews for utter, painful rubbish. This book does actually have some redeeming features, so maybe I should nudge it up, but I can't see past the ridiculous portrayal of blindness suffered by Christopher, the male protagonist. You may feel free to groan at the painful pun. I assure you the pain won't come near that of trying to figure out on which planet the author ran across a blind person. Hmmm....maybe if this were relabeled science fiction? Nah...
I quit reading 2/3 of the way through (and I'll relay my put-down moment in a minute), so I didn't get to the point where, I assume, the hero miraculously recovers his vision. If he stays blind at the end, someone leave a comment, and I'll nudge it up to 2 stars, I swear. But I've just got this feeling...
Christopher is hiding his blindness from his people. His squire knows, and one night. (This is set in the 1200's, ftr). I have to assume he is totally blind, although the author has no description whatsoever of his specific visual problem, probably assuming, as many do, that there is only one way to be blind. So let's go with the idea that this guy is BLIND, nothing but darkness, not even the ability to detect light.
Um....and no one's noticed? The thing is, you can memorize how many steps it takes to get around your keep, and the general location of furniture. But furniture moves, especially when there are lots of servants bustling about and they don't know they're not supposed to keep it in one place. Auditory cues are great, but they won't help you look a person in the eyes.
But wait, there's more! Because this blind person can fool more than just the servants...he can fool the knights he still trains with. He can apparently joust with a few shouted hints from his squire, sword fight, wrestle, and do hand to hand combat. He's described as being better than most sighted people. Unbelievable! No, really. Unbelievable. Blind people can adapt in seemingly miraculous ways at times, but not being able to see is actually a big problem.
The description of this guy's blindness was so poor that at a couple of points in the book, I thought he had miraculously gotten his vision back. It was amazing how many times he "looked" at things. He had very little trouble finding things, even things that do not necessarily stay put (like blankets to cover his wife). At one point he tripped over a stool, hit his head against a chair, and then "looked" at Gillian. I was sure the author was going to suggest that this bump on the head had restored his wight, but that's not at all what happened.
I'm not sure why the author decided to make Christopher blind. The condition had almost no impact on the story or the character.
I feel the need for a scene break here. Sort of a...moving right along...because alas, I am not done. Gillian was an interesting character, and probably the reason I kept reading as far as I did, despite everything. She was an abused little creature at the beginning, one who had to learn to trust. I thought the initial description of her abuse and her mindset as a result of the abuse was very good. I did find that her ultimate trust came too easily, but under other circumstances, I probably would have overlooked it.
This story got boring pretty quickly once Gillian started to get over her fear. It didn't move quickly in the first place, and it slowed to a snail's pace afterward. The two loved each other but wouldn't say the words. (My "Quest for the Three Magic Words.")
Gillian was embarrassingly innocent. I got the impression she didn't know men have penises. Christopher found this sweet. I found it disturbing. A little innocence can be fun, and it's a hallmark of historicals, but for me, this one went a little over the top.
My put down moment came on me gradually. I kept hitting "speed up" on my audiobook player, wondering how on earth the thing wasn't just about over, because there wasn't much left to do. I was contemplating hitting the fast forward button to skip a few chapters, thinking maybe they were going to do something with her father (although really, they didn't need to), but then came the sex scene. Well, actually, then came the curtain in my face to keep me from reading about the sex scene. Argh! Are you kidding me? You've spent how many chapters on tentative kisses, the fact of her innocence, and the fact of his desire, but when they actually have sex it's suddenly the next morning? Um, that was an important moment that you missed right there. You can't skip moments you've been gradually leading up to for 2/3 of the book! This was a critical moment for her. This book claims to be all about trust, about Gillian learning to trust, and about Christopher learning to trust. The author could have glossed over the physical details for all I cared, but skipping the emotions and the intimacy....well...at this point, I really should desist.
Oh, and in case I didn't make it clear, I don't recommend. :)