Interestingly enough historical fiction is probably one of my least favourite genres. Why? I'm not sure, it didn't use to be that way. But somehow over the years it's just failed to hold my interest or entice me to continue reading it. So why? You might ask would I read this book. Well it was part of a book challenge of course, silly person.
Yep, that was totally the reason. I decided that I was going to do at least one challenge here on BL this year, start to finish no excuses so here was my quandary I needed a book that took place before the advent of electricity and I wasn't going to buy a book just to meet this requirement...no it had to be from my current stash of books and I knew historical fiction was my best bet, so my problem was to find one that would keep my interested at least long enough to finish it.
Needless to say 'what's a girl to do now?' well first I went through my book stash found several possible options of which to be honest this was the most likely candidate. Then I checked to see what my friends thought of it and to be honest overall it seemed like a worthwhile endeavour so I decided to risk it even though the one suggestion that seemed to be fairly consistent was do not read this as a stand alone because of the ending. Well now what's a girl to do?
What if I don't like it? I rarely dnf a book and once I've started a series and read the first book or two I feel so committed. What to do? What to do? Read the book of course I mean after all at this point I have all three books so why waste the money. Yes, I know I don't particularly care for historical fiction, so why in heaven's name would I buy it. Because I like to make myself move outside of my comfort zone, even just a tiny bit from time to time. By now you're probably thinking 'just get on with it already, will you?'
So the purpose of that whole ramble was so that you the reader of this ramble would understand where my brain was at when I went into this venture. Figuratively kicking, screaming and annoyed with myself for putting myself in the position of reading a book that I was more than likely going to hate. Well...imagine my surprise when I reached the end of the book only to realize that I was sad to be at the end of the book. I didn't hate it, in fact I truly enjoyed this first step in David and Balfour's relationship.
While David is a person whose world is black and white with very few if any shades of grey and in spite of his claims that he is neither idealistic nor naive, protestations that I felt lent credence to him possessing both of these traits. I liked that David's actions were guided by the strength of his personal moral code of ethics. Whether he acted in accordance with how I or other characters in the book would, was irrelevant, he was being driven by his morals and what he felt he needed to do giving him a strength of character that I appreciated. Ironically it was these same moral values that created his personal conflict about his sexuality. Ideals that were common to the era and to me appropriate for a man of those times to struggle with.
Now Murdo Balfour...what is there to say. He's incredibly handsome, tall, dark and sexy. He is also a man of privilege and standing, who for those times was advanced in his comfort level in regards to his sexuality. However, did I as a woman appreciate his attitude of marrying to preserve his reputation and ensure his own progeny...no. Did I understand it as a realist...yes. This book is set in the 1800's. There was much in terms of ideals, beliefs, social mores that society no longer agrees with. So for this not be reflected in a book set in that times well I probably would have dnf'd it. The one thing I need above all else when I am reading a book that claims to be historical fiction is to be able to feel like it's set in the era that the author wrote it for.
So far I've been wonderfully surprised by how much I'm enjoying this series. Yes, I've already started book 2. Will I become an avid reader of historical fiction again...I doubt it. Will I become a fan of Joanna Chambers...probably.
At the end of it all, this is why I like to step outside of my comfort zone from time to time, it makes me explore new things and often times I like them, I really, really like them.