Through a Glass Darkly by Karleen Koen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I thought this was going to be a more serious sweeping historical novel as it's quite the tome. It turns out that it's a frothy borderline trashy romance novel with a historical setting. That's not a bad thing or slam but had I realized that before I was already pulled in, I'd have saved this one for the beach this summer. The main character Barbara (Bab to those closest) is fifteen when we begin and she's going to be married to Roger, a much older man who happens to be an earl & who she's crushed on since she was ten. She's overjoyed & he's marrying her because he's much about a particular piece of property her in her somewhat disgraced family's holdings. This is no impediment to one true love status for Barbara & she's sure, beyond a shadow of a doubt that she will make him love her completely & eternally. It's very easy to see from the beginning that calamity will follow & Barbara is going to get kicked in the teeth. Still, I had to see it unfold. It's engaging like that. And of course, Roger has a deep dark secret that absolutely can't get out, to cause even more drama. Okay, so it was so anvilicious, I figured it out well before I had read 100 pages in. And I kept going, because it's obvious that's going to come out and probably be all kinds of soapy, angsty.
Long story short, it was. The story doesn't end there though. In fact, there's another few hundred pages to go where it kind of goes a bit off the rails plotwise but by then, I didn't really care because though I wanted to see how it all turned out, I wasn't taking it so seriously that I needed anything more than the soaptastic to close it out. It did drag a bit though (there are heavy descriptions throughout of rooms, furniture, gardens, meals & clothes; I love those things usually but after a while, it was too much) & I must say by the end, the only person that I still liked and wanted to know more about was Barbara's grandmother & her scathingly opportunistic mother, Diana. Barbara, I'd had enough of along with everyone else. I found out there's a prequel featuring the grandmother & I may read that in the future. There's also a sequel to this one following Barbara to America but I'm pretty sure I'll skip that one.
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