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My go-to book blog raved about this book, and I enjoyed some aspects of it, but overall I found it uneven. The story can't really decide if it's fantasy, historical fiction, love story, or allegory, and that indecision shows. The reader also has an odd pattern of intonation, so that sometimes he'll pause as if he's at the end of a sentence, only to continue with what is clearly (grammatically, at least), a modifying phrase or clause. Since I haven't seen the text, that could be Norfolk's writing pattern (I know, for example, that the Hunger Games trilogy is riddled with unnecessarily fragmented sentences), but judging from the overall flow of the narrative, I'm blaming the reader. So: it's absorbing, but as time goes on, I came to like it less. It promises a great deal, but doesn't deliver fully on those promises.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
The plot between the characters ranged from generally uninteresting to aggravating when dealing with female sexuality. This narrative relies on the trope of rape or attempted rape of a woman facilitating immediate consensual sex. It's overused in genre fiction but no less gross for that fact. The main female character also spends her life fantasizing over romantic poetry written by her father, which is unnerving. Overall, the description of 17th century cooking was great, a really interesting basis, and the reason I gave this book 3 stars. The story built around the kitchen was unremarkable in many ways and bizarre and unsettling in others.