This is a book review for the Blade and the Dove by Christine King, available here:
Considering the number of 5* reviews on Amazon for this book, I was a little disappointed by it. I don’t think the blurb accurately reflected the content of the story, which didn’t help.
The beginning is very clunky. King was obviously trying hard to set up her characters where she wanted them to be but it seemed to take a while for her to find her voice and so it’s clumsy and stilted. The characters, particularly Lucien, just come across as caricatures. The further it got to the end of the book, the more he just seemed like a cartoon villain.
By about two thirds of the way through I was getting really irritated with the wilful ignorance of the characters. Hugo’s suspicions seemed entirely unfounded, however tenaciously he clung to them, and Elinor’s flapping over his feelings for her seemed entirely disingenuous.
This book should contain some trigger warnings for domestic violence. It didn’t deal with them in a particularly consistent way either. Elinor seems more concerned with her vanity than preserving her person when it comes to Hugo and when she does give in and sleep with him, there’s no emotional fallout from it. For a woman that has been so sexually traumatised, it seems a bit of a stretch that she’d just dive on in like that.
There were a few editing issues but despite my negative feelings, the book kept me absorbed enough to read the whole thing and it is a LONG book.
The supporting characters were good. I liked Jenny, the maid, and I was very fond of Hugo’s family. Sarah was a bright point for me. She came across as sweet and concerned.
While a lot of the detail was extraneous, it wasn’t too much of a hardship to read about it.
Overall this was a solid 3* read for me. It wasn’t a bad book; it just wasn’t particularly good either.