Jess's Reviews > A Winter's Promise

A Winter's Promise by Christelle Dabos
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it was ok
bookshelves: read-in-2020, ya, fantasy, didn-t-finish

DNF @ 44%

I just... didn't like this one very much? I was really excited to check it out; I want to read more translated fiction and any book that's become so popular it's been translated into a bunch of other languages is a book I want to try, but this one just didn't work for me.

The whole thing felt incredibly bleak, and while that doesn't mean it's a bad book it is a bad book for me. I love to read dark stories or stories about characters overcoming adversity, but I didn't feel like there was anything pleasant in this story at all. There were brief moments between Ophelia and her aunt that I liked, but for the most part I didn't enjoy the mood of this novel.

This is a real shame because some of the ideas behind it are really good! I love the idea of a character travelling through mirrors and being able to read the history of objects, and I was intrigued by Ophelia because personally I got strong aro/ace vibes from her, but good lord so many people in this book are just awful. Her fiancé and his family treat Ophelia like garbage and her own family aren't much better. What's really frustrating is how many of the women in this novel are horrid.

Do all women in novels have to be nice? No, of course not. Plenty of women are nasty pieces of work, and I'd've had no problem with it if some of them were, but pretty much every single woman Ophelia encounters (even her aunt, initially, before we're allowed to warm up to her) is awful. There's Berenilde, who's stunningly beautiful and therefore also a complete cow at her core, and then there's Ophelia's mother and sister who fall into that overdone stereotype of women who've conquered sexism by browbeating their husbands into obedience or wrapping them around their little finger. Instead of, y'know, treating each other like human beings and just talking to each other. In fact Ophelia seems to come from a matriarchal society, and yet they all tell her she should do exactly what her new husband wants and make an effort to provide him with children and make the marriage a success or she'll be banished.

(There's also this zinger on p. 49: A nanny pushed a pram while blushing at the admiring whistles of workmen up scaffolding. Ew. Can we not.)

I think that was my biggest problem with this book: no one actually treats anyone else like a person. And perhaps that's something that's addressed later in the book or in the series, but I'm not interested enough to find out.

Sadly, this one isn't for me!
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Reading Progress

January 16, 2020 – Started Reading
January 16, 2020 – Shelved
January 16, 2020 –
page 105
21.34%
January 17, 2020 –
page 217
44.11%
January 17, 2020 – Shelved as: read-in-2020
January 17, 2020 – Shelved as: ya
January 17, 2020 – Shelved as: fantasy
January 17, 2020 – Shelved as: didn-t-finish
January 17, 2020 – Finished Reading

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