Monday, September 2, 2013
Book Review: "His Last Mistress" by Andrea Zuvich
Published: May 20, 2013
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
The year is 1675. The handsome James Scott, Duke of Monmouth, the illegitimate eldest son of King Charles II, has grown into a spoiled and rakish young man. But then the libertine finds himself captivated by the innocent young Lady Henrietta Wentworth. She has been raised to covet her virtue and is determined to spurn the advances of the reckless Duke, yet she cannot deny the chemistry between them...
When it comes to historical fiction, I'm a stickler for accuracy (I'm not saying authors can't take some liberties--but a good historical fiction author will acknowledge where they bent the facts a bit). One thing I can say about this book is that Zuvich knows her facts. My degree is in British History and I am quite familiar with this period and there was not any one part where I felt the book fell of the historical rails.
However, there is more to a historical novel than just the history. Unfortunately, I didn't feel that Zuvich's writing was there. I found her style to be overly affected and it seemed almost to me that this was a rush job when it came to writing. When Henrietta first sees Monmouth, it's hate at first site (it is also a scene stolen right out of Gone with the Wind)...then, all of a sudden, she is completely in love with him. There is absolutely nothing that explains her change of heart. Unfortunately, that goes hand in hand with undeveloped characters. There is not a single character in this book that is not cliched. Because of this, I found it hard to really care for any of the characters.
However, towards the end of the book, things improve a bit. This is Zuvich's debut novel and I think she has potential to be a better writer, but just needs to spend more time honing her craft. She obviously has the research part down, now she just needs to work on refining her voice and taking time to develop her story and characters.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of a blog tour by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received no other compensation for this post.