Top positive review
25 people found this helpful
Great read but disappointing ending.
on 28 January 2008
I thought this was a much better book than her last 'The Alchemist's Daughter'. I really enjoyed reading this - it was a great story with good characterisation and sense of place. I don't know much about the Crimea war but the historical settings and facts all appeared to be well researched and also well explained without being too political. I found this a very easy book to get into and got lost in its pages while I was reading it. I did actually like Mariella as a character even though she isn't the type of protagonist that I would usually warm to.
Mariella goes to Sebastopol to visit her sick fiance, Dr Henry and also to try and find her missing cousin Rosa. The book jumps from past to present taking the reader through the build up of Mariella and Rosa's relationship to Mariella's search for her. Whereas I usually love the inconsistent time setting in books, I think this one would actually have benefitted more from a linear narrative. I think it would have built up a better understanding of the before and after Mariella. However, the story was still beautifully told and a joy to read. The only let down was the ending which was such a shame because, for me, it really ruined the book. There was so much possibility for the ending that it just felt to me that the author just gave up on her story which was really upsetting. However, the book is still a great read and i would recommend it.