Author: Mirella Sichirollo Patzer
Genre: Fiction (Historical / Canadian / 18th century)
Publisher/Publication Date: History and Women (2/8/2011)
Source: The author
Rating: Loved - definitely a favorite of 2011.
Did I finish?: YES - I couldn't put this book down!
One-sentence summary: Two lovers in 18th century New France are cruelly separated by the evil machinations of a rich lord and their struggle to be together is confounded by disease, political upheaval, evil priests and a mysterious nun.
Reading Challenges: E-books, Historical Fiction
Do I like the cover?: I do -- it reminds me of a small cameo the hero might carry around of his true love.
I'm reminded of...: Ann Radcliffe,Eliza Haywood, Priscilla Royal
First line: Fast approaching hooves rumbled against the damp earth of the long, tree-lined dirt road.
Did... I love the mix of historical accuracy (small pox outbreak!) and Gothic drama (mysterious nun!)?: YES. Honestly, I was grinning the whole time I was reading because this was like popcorn awesome.
Did... I like the unexpected spiciness that showed up now and then?: YES. It's not a lot, but there's some naughtiness that makes this story feel a little dangerous in the best way!
Did... I kind of crush on the reformed ruffian?: YES. Just wait, you'll see -- he's so dreamy!
Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Totally buy - the e-book is inexpensive ($3.99US) and this is a delightful read, perfect for a summer weekend or a few nights when you want to escape!
Why did I get this book?: I'm a reader of Patzer's blog and love her posts so when she asked me to review the book, I eagerly said yes. I knew I was in for a treat and this didn't disappoint!
Review: This deliciously readable historical has the feel of a great Gothic: an unrepentant villain, a virginal heroine, nefarious doings with nuns and priests, daring escapes, and the promise of true love. Set in 1702 in the Saint Lawrence River-area of New France, it follows the beautiful Emilie and her betrothed, Robert the miller, whose plan to marry is derailed when the evil seigneur, Richard Tonnacour, decides he wants Emilie for himself. The story unfolds at a breakneck pace, full of intrigue and adventure, and I was literally delighted with every turn of the page.
The novel felt a bit like a book from the 18th century: the story had a kind of unapologetic romantic melodrama not often found in modern novels and I loved it. I literally raced through this book, eager for the next turn of the story, and I loved the characters and plot twists. The writing is clear and straightforward, the characters distinct and vibrant. I anticipated some of the story's developments which actually heightened my anticipation because I was so looking forward to seeing how Patzer would tie up everything.
This is a perfect escapist historical novel, easy to dip in and out of or read in a few long sittings. I can't rave enough about it (ask my coworkers!) and I'm now an eager Patzer fan (which is good -- you'll see in the forthcoming Q&A that she has two more historical novels in the works!).
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Giveaway! The author has generously offered an amazing giveaway for my readers: one signed paperback copy of The Blighted Troth and three e-book copies (in the format of your choice)! All four prizes are available for US and international readers! To enter, please leave a comment indicating which version you'd like (paperback, e-book, or either) and an email address. Ends 6/24, open to US and international readers. For another entry, be sure to check out my Q&A with the author on June 8th.