Author: Philippa Gregory
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Length: 256 pages
Seventeen year old Luca is recruited by the Order of Darkness to record the end of times in fifteenth century Europe. His mission brings him to the monastery of seventeen year old Isolde, who is trapped there so she can’t inherit her fortune and accused of witchcraft as her fellow nuns seem driven to madness. Luca must determine the truth behind these rumors, and in doing so, embarks on quite the journey against evil.
The worst part is that I really expected to like this book. It’s historical fiction from Philippa Gregory who my “adult reading” friends swear by. And while I kept reading to see Luca triumph over misguided medieval nuns and villagers, there was very little else to keep my interest.
The narrative was all over the place as it switched viewpoints, and I never really discovered who the main character was, or what the title had to do with anything. The book wanted to cover too many things at once: Christian superstition, forbidden romance, the place of foreigners and underlings to name a few. And Philippa kept dumbing things down for me that didn’t need to be dumbed down and not explaining things that needed to be explains. Perhaps my problem, in the end, is that I’m a History and English major with pretty high expectations when it comes to my historical fiction. And sadly, this didn’t live up to them.