This is the first book I’ve read by Philippa Gregory, and I only decided to read it after the BBC/Starz series started airing. For the most part, I enjoyed the book.
Some parts of the story focused a little too much on teaching about the Cousins’ War time period. It felt a little too much like a textbook when I would get to some of those sections. While I enjoyed being educated about the history of the time period, I didn’t like feeling like this was more of chance to school readers than to entertain them.
There were also parts of the story that were too focused on the legend of Melusina. Some of those parts were repeated over and over again, and by the end of the book, I was sick of hearing about the sea goddess and her husband. It was annoying and redundant and it felt like the story would have been better off with less of that myth being discussed.
I felt like there could have been more development of the characters. I know that Gregory was trying to stay true to the historical information, but sometimes I felt like Elizabeth, as well as her friends, family, and enemies weren’t as fleshed out as they could have been. It felt like Gregory forgot that it can be really important for the reader to understand what characters are like and what drives them to behave in certain ways. She was too busy with things that were less important (i.e. the Melusina parts) and it really took away from the quality of the story-telling.
I’m still trying to decide if I want to continue reading the stories in this series and others by this author because I don’t know if I will find them more compelling than this one or not. If not, I’m not sure that I want to “waste my time” reading them.