Historical fiction is one of my things. I don’t let too much time pass by without some lovely loosely real storyline. Where do I go when I need an excellent ingestion of the best quality HF? Phillipa Gregory and CJ Sansom. Today I am reviewing prolific Phillipa Gregory.
As I said, I am a fan, so I have a stack of this writer’s work and I tend not to donate it. This time, I picked up Dark Tides in the local library. It was a thrill to get back into a library after lockdown alone, never mind finding an unread Gregory!
Two settings (with a welcome dive into a third) and two slightly interlinked plots are at play here. The major storyline is a winner. Have you seen Oscar winner Parasite? Think of that trickery set in 17th century London. Excellent reading. The charming, beguiling and shall we say bewitching (dangerous for those times!) Nobildonna da Ricci (or da Peachey- depends on who she is trying to manipulate) is the best kind of character. The sort that requires comeuppance!
A journey to Venice opens all sorts of new drama, bringing life to two more characters and creating set up for a tumultuous resolution.
The subplot takes place in New England, based loosely on a lesser known true story and including the brother of a main character from the London storyline. Ned left England for life as a free man, with choice. As he tries to live peacefully between settler and native, the inevitable tug of war plays out. As with much of this genre, we know the outcome culturally which of course is the element of dramatic irony that makes historical fiction so good.
I found the minor plot less intriguing, skimming these chapters to get back to London and see what devilment Nobildonna was up to next.
This is a good book with a few weaker points. It really needed the strong lead character and I did enjoy the plotline which (was very like a 1670 based soap opera at times) in a good way. Definitely worth reading if you enjoy Phillipa Gregory or even Tracy Chevalier.