I quite enjoyed the first chapter or two of this book. But from then on it began to dawdle off downhill in the most tedious way, going on and on and on....
The main two characters in this book are symbolic of the cause of almost all the problems in the world right now: SILLY PEOPLE CONSTANTLY FIGHTING OVER NOTHING! I got sick of them really quickly. Honestly, I hate it when grown ups fight like three year olds. He was a trained fighter, she was a noblewoman...surely they should have had some sense of decorum and propriety, not to mention personal discipline, especially given that both their futures were on the line!
Also, the standard of writing in this book was definitely sub-par. The author seemed reluctant to use punctuation, and even more so to use it correctly...it wasn't uncommon for a sentence to stretch for five lines without even a comma in it to break it up. The writing was choppy, narrative skipped from character to character so much it was often difficult to know whose viewpoint you were seeing the story from, and the exchanges of dialogue between characters did not flow like a normal conversation would. (It was like a talkfest between self-obsessed bimbos who don't listen to each other.) The effort the writer went to in doing her historical research was wasted by the characters just not being believable in their settings. And the story just went on and on...450 pages in all. All the important stuff could have been said in 250 pages, and it would have made for a much better book that wasn't so cluttered by painful filler.
I can't believe this writer has won a writing award (for another book). Man, do they give those things away in cereal boxes or something? I expected better writing than this from an award winner, especially given that she's an Aussie like me. I like to think that we Australians can write pretty well...boy has this put a dent in my national pride!
Furthermore, there were logic gaps in the storyline. Like when one of the characters, Johanna, who has been married before, is somehow completely ignorant of marriage traditions such as banns...surely she would already know about all this from personal experience if she had gone through it before?
The fact that this was (very loosely) based on a real historical story intrigued me. In the hands of a competent writer it might have been absolutely wonderful. But in the hands of this writer...look, I've read worse books, but not too many of them. To put it flatly, this was a yawnfest. When books are good, I can't put them down, and inevitably read them within a day or two. But this took me MONTHS to get through. I kept putting it down so I could go off and read other, better books. I got through about forty or fifty other books before I finished this one! I just couldn't commit very much time to something I didn't particularly enjoy.
But the joke's on me. I bought another one of her books at the same time as I bought this one. So the writer has made money off me for both of those books regardless of whether or not she deserved to! Rats!