1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Beautifully written but doesn't have a story to tell,
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This review is from: Tides of War (Kindle Edition)Set in England and Spain during the Napoleonic Wars, this follows an ensemble cast through battle and peace at home.
Tillyard writes beautifully and the book is filled with lush historic detail, but the narrative never really manages to overcome its tendency to provide a series of accomplished vignettes and turn itself into a truly organic story.
The characters are potentially interesting and provide a panoramic view of war (Wellington, his officers, his doctors, and the men at arms), and life at home (Wellington's wife Kitty, Harriet). So we have the `modern' women, the status quo wives, the foundation of the house of Rothschild, the development of gaslight, the publishing of First Impressions (the first version of Pride & Prejudice). In Spain, too, we have beautiful renditions of a bullfight in Seville, of early blood transfusions in field hospitals, of sieges and battles.
This is all well and good but there is no real heart or story in this novel: there's no narrative pull, or that urgent need to turn the pages. Tillyard writes with sumptuous detail and her research feels impeccable, but the novelists' flair just isn't here and I never felt truly engaged by the book.
So I've given this 3 stars for the exquisite word pictures of which this is made - but, for me, this doesn't really have a story to tell. In summary, this is intelligent, probably very historically-accurate and full of gorgeous prose - but for all that, it's a disappointing read.