Here again finally catching up on previously provided eARC’s. Huge shout out to NetGalley and Grove Atlantic for this one in particular.
In this historical fiction novel, we follow Frances Gorges as she joins the court of King James to care for his daughter, Elizabeth. While there, she fights for her life after being labeled a witch, falls for a man who is not what he seems, and gets invited to join a treasonous plot to kill the king. Will Frances have the fortitude to make it through these trials? Pick up the book to find out!
Ok, I’m gonna start with didn’t loves this time because I really loved this book and want to properly end with those thoughts.
So, some things I didn’t love…
- Some phrases are over used. People reply “at length” with frequency. Repetitions of this and a couple of other phrases detract from the overall flow of the book and start to get a bit annoying.
- There’s so much covered it almost feels like two different books. There’s the whole “she’s a witch” nonsense and then the Guy Fawkes thing. It’s a lot to wade through, but if this is already book 1 in a trilogy, I get the need to cover a lot of material. I just can’t imagine what happens next in this tale.
Moving in to loves…
- Frances is a strong woman for 17th Century England, and, honestly, by our standards today. But unlike many heroines, she’s not strong to the point of stupid. She knows when to keep her yap shut and go with the flow. I like that she doesn’t have to win everything to still reach her goal.
- The character growth is realistic. It’s subtle in the way it happens. Frances goes through some shit and it changes her. She doesn’t end up crazy, bitter, and old (not that I’d blame her if she did), but she slowly adapts and hardens to the world around her.
- The ending is both totally expected but in a way you don’t necessarily expect it? I know that seems vague, but we all know I don’t do spoilers. Let’s just say I anticipated the main plot points for the ending, but not the details that got us there. It allowed the ending to be both comforting and uncomfortable all at once.
I feel like I’ve used a lot of words, but the gist is this: I used to read historical fiction all of the time in elementary and middle school. After reading this, I can’t remember any reason I stopped. Although paced slowly, the read is absolutely worth the build up.