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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Through A Glass Darkly by Karleen Koen

Genre: Historical Fiction

Copyright: 2003 (first published 1986)

Pages: 674

Rating 5 Crowns

This book had been on my TBR pile for quite some time before I plucked it off my shelf and boy, am I glad that I did! This is one of the books that when you read it, you could just kick yourself in the shin for not reading it sooner! I LOVE drama and this book did not disappoint.

Through a Glass Darkly is a novel about Barbara Alderley and is set in England and France in the early 18th century. Barbara and her siblings were raised by her grandmother, the Duchess of Tamworth. Her mother, Diana, being too selfish and caught up in her own drama to worry about the children she bore and her father has just left the family, taking the money with him.

When Barbara’s mother informs her that plans are in motion for Barbara to wed Roger Montgeoffrey, she cannot contain herself, to her mother’s surprise. Roger was an old friend of her grandfather’s that she has been secretly in love with since she was younger. What Barbara does not know is that she is part of a deal her mother has concocted.

The story goes on to follow Barbara as she moves to London and marries Roger. She quickly grows up when surrounded by the deception and cruelty of the English and French courts.

I really enjoyed this novel. The characters were well-developed and easy to like, although they had their own faults (but that’s what makes them real). Koen paints a very pretty picture through her words and you as the reader feel like you are right there with Barbara through all of her ups and downs. What was interesting to me was watching as Barbara tried to stay true to herself and her beliefs amidst the licentiousness of court. The love between Barbara and Roger was beautifully written, so much so, that you could feel it in your heart. One word of caution: have plenty of tissues ready when you are near the end.

I highly recommend this book to all historical fiction fans!

Favorite lines:

When you can no longer taste the divine nectar of life, when love no longer exists, then life is death.

Never run away from the truth because you carry it on your shoulder and someday it will put its ugly face into yours and say, “Boo”.

Forgiveness: It is never done well in little bits and dabs. Do it all at once and never look back, or do not do it at all.

Change is an easy thing to decide and a difficult thing to do. It is the day-to-day struggle of it that defeats people. Do not despair if old ways look good to you. Despair only if you fall into them too often.


dolleygurl said...

I haven't had the chance to read this one yet, but I have read her other book Dark Angels and loved it. Can't wait to read this one!

Anonymous said...

I loved this one, especially Grandmama and her cats, let alone Barbara's mother. Nice to see you posting reviews of other than the latest releases.

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

I loved this book, I was so caught up in Barbara's world. Unfortunately, the prequel doesn't come close, but I did love the Duchess in TAGD, great and memorable book!

Amy @ Passages to the Past said...

dolleygurl: I still have to read Dark Angels - I'm looking forward to seeing Barbara's grandmother in her youth!

misfit: me too! Whoa - we agreed on a novel! GASP!! Heehee!

Julie: I completely agree...the sequel was good, just not as good as TAGD. It's is definitely a novel that sticks with you for a long time.

Terry said...

This is one of the few books that I read more than once. I really enjoyed this one!

Blodeuedd said...

Sounds like a good book, but I do hope it has a good end if I need tissues

Ms. Lucy said...

Thanks for the review Amy:) I love when a book is filled with drama and keeps you interested throughout- This one sounds just like that...18thc, French and English courts... I'll keep it in mind for sure.

Anonymous said...

Amy, lol. Wait until you read the sequel Now Face to Face. There is a scene with Barbara's mother wherein she uses her lover's wig to clean up....after.....well....you know. Priceless.

The Tome Traveller said...

I read this when it first came out - I was in college, totally dating myself here!- and I loved it. I wish I could find time to re-read it!

I was an English Lit major and, sometime shortly after I read this book, we were discussing Pamela by Samuel Richardson in class. The Prof. was asking us what some level of female servant did (I don't remember exactly) but I knew the answer because of TAGD. Then he proceeded to grill me about HOW I knew the answer. I tried to avoid telling him but had to in the end and he made me feel like an idiot because I had learned it from some fluff fiction book (in HIS opinion). But I was right and no one else knew the answer. My love of HF probably started right there, despite my jerky professor.

K said...

Great Review. I'm adding this one to my reading list.

Teddyree said...

I've had this one on my wishlist forever and had actually forgotten about it until I read your review. Thanks for the reminder, will stop procrastinating now!

Anonymous said...

Great review! Love the banner too!