I have to say that this is my second and hopefully LAST Bertrice Small novel. I feel as if I was tricked into buying this book, because the first Small novel that I stumbled onto, Skye O'Malley, was so good that it mislead me into thinking that this author might be a treasure. If Rosamund is anything to go by, then I was sorely mistaken.
First, there it is impossible to believe that Rosamund would be as smart as she supposedly is at the age of six years old when we know that she could not even read the alphabet or spell her own name. And yet she understands complicated social politics and what it means to be heiress of her own estate?? And getting a little ahead of myself, the hero apparent for the upcoming sequal FELL IN LOVE WITH A SIX YEAR OLD when he was the mature age (for those times) of sixteen years? Disturbing.
And then the love interests.... I don't even know where to begin! For all intents and purposes Sir Owein Meredith should have been all that Rosamund needed--a grown man, a knight, beautiful and blonde, sought after by all the women of the court. And yet in her reminisence of the man, Rosamund recharacterizes the same as a dry, old bore. I don't think Small knew what she wanted to do with the knight and what she wanted him to represent. One minute he was an angel-haired, smooth knight and the next he was a weak old man with one foot out of the grave. Small vascillated, never deciding whether we (and Rosamund) are to fall in-love with the man...or merely have a fondness for him.
And the relationship between Rosamund and the prince, later King Henry was also difficult for me to swallow. Again, here Small did not seem able to make up her mind whether her main character was a weak, malleable obsequious submissive or a strong, independent, self-possessed heiress. The way she reacted to Henry's propositions, arrogance and bad behavior did not show any of the adroitness or diplomacy she supposedly had been born with and cultivated during her time at court. And more importantly, my high regard of Rosamund suffered as her actions increasingly showed a lack of basic integrity and the goodness Small endeavored to encourage us to believe she possessed.
And the ending...the ending.... Well, all I can say is that while Small's imagination must have been bursting with possible love interests for Rosamund, I think that the quality of romance, erotica, plot and character connection in each relationship should be paid more heed than to the quantity of characters. More specifically, while the Scot thrown into the mix and maintaining a position in the background of the story may have been compelling, it was vasty unsatisfying to have him waiting in the wings and then so haphazardly forced into the limelight toward the end and during the epilogue.
For Shame, Miss Small!