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Old 02-03-2011, 08:09 PM   #8093
ATDrake
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Finished The Traitor's Wife by Susan Higginbotham, which was one of the Sourcebooks holiday freebies. It was billed as a historical romance, but was really more of a romantic historical for while the thread of characters being deeply in love with one another runs strong, it's just one of many which make up the overall tapestry of these persons' life stories.

This novel centers around Eleanor le Despenser, niece of King Edward II of England, who gets caught up in a lot of drama because of her relations (blood and in-law) basically fighting amongst themselves for control of the country, really. While I'd already known the bare facts of what happened with Edward II and Isabella of France, I wasn't well enough acquainted with that part of English history to really know any of the other major players, and I quite liked this depiction of various people who apparently had interesting lives, in the sense of the traditional Chinese curse.

It is rather infodumpy at times, with a lot of summarized timelines-of-events leading into scenes showing how the characters reacted to it all, but not particularly clunky. I especially appreciated the author's notes in the back on what was really known about these people at that time, and what she went and filled on, and upon which basis she had for doing it that way, and also what happened to them in real life after the story told in the book wraps up.

Quite good for a first novel (apparently it won some sort of minor award) and I wouldn't mind reading the sequel, for which a sample chapter is enclosed. E-book version, aside from having a mix of straight and curly quotes, was practically typo free. However, it had this irritating half-space between paragraphs that was neither a full line-height, nor none, which made the paragraphs look just sli-i-i-ghtly off and grated on my nerves.

Recommended for people who like their romances very historical, or their historicals somewhat but not overwhelmingly romantic, and more than a bit sensationalistic, what with all the equally depicted love affairs. (Edward the II was one of those kings who was reputed to be very close to certain advisors to the detriment of his rulership, Isabella of France is also known as the She-Wolf, and traitors were traditionally hung, drawn, and quartered, which should give you adequate warning for content).
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