Headstrong Ariadne Fairfax is convinced she loves handsome Gabriel Fawcett, but her grandfather has other plans for her. He decrees that she marry Ivor Chalfont, thus forging a powerful alliance between the two warring families who share ownership of their valley. Given no time to plot an escape, Ari finds herself standing reluctantly at the alter, swearing to honour and obey a man who is not her choice ...
The setting of this historical novel was rather unusual being set at the time of Charles II when there was a problem between the Roman Catholics and the Church of England, but the remainder of the story (the first in a series) was very formulaic with the standard HEA ending.
The writing itself was rather verbose, as though the author had swallowed the book on how to write romantic friction in the manner of the late 17th century. Writing complex descriptions with archaic words when modern English would suffice. When author just throws in the historic elements apropos nothing, they don’t appear to relate to anything that has already happened or is about to happen. It was as though the author wanted to add that historical element but could not figure out where to put it so put in anywhere.
The language applied to the characters was also flawed especially the use of metaphors that reference a modern card game. There was also the epic failure of calling a female person on the stage an actor and not an actress. Additionally the vast majority of the dialogue of these characters was too modern as were Ari’s general attitudes to life.
Whilst I am mentioning the characters, this reader thought they were fairly one dimensional and had no redeeming qualities that the reader could identify with even root for. The main character of Ariadne (Ari) is really really unlikeable being spoiled beyond compare, immature, young and totally not in keeping with the time period. To be honest, her intended Ivor is not much better, although he is perhaps the lesser of two evils. These characters are not original having been written by many other authors in many other settings.
What could have been a novel full of court intrigue and the pull between the two religious factions fell short. There was lots of repetition which this reader felt was merely padding. A good editor would have significantly reduced the number of pages in this book making for a tighter read.
For all the writing, very little happened and the ending felt rushed and was VERY abrupt. Things were hinted at but nothing developed. It was as though the author got tired of this book and just wanted to finish it in the fastest way possible.
It may well be that things are resolved in a second book but unfortunately, this reader will not be reading that or any other novels by this author.
Full Disclosure: ARC received from Netgalley for an honest review.
I rated this 1 star on Netgalley, and 'I did not like it' on Amazon (2 stars) and Goodreads (1 star)