I was pretty excited when I received a copy of this to review via Bookbridgr, because I’ve enjoyed all Maitland’s work so far. And this is certainly very much like her other work in tone and style — the historical setting, carefully drawn; female characters focused on, as least as much as the male ones; hints at supernatural aspects without anything being completely overt.
Unfortunately, it also has the kind of plot and twist I expected from Karen Maitland’s work, as well. It’s very effective in the first couple of books I’ve read by her, but I predicted it here and that took away some of the enjoyment. She still has great control of pacing, a great handle on her characters and how they relate to each other, how people manipulate each other. But I expected the story to play out as it did, almost from reading the first hundred pages.
It’s still a good story, but that knowing really disappointed me. I’m hoping for something more different from Maitland’s next novel: something that will surprise and intrigue me the way her first book did, instead of just being enjoyable. I’ve read all her other books in almost one sitting, but the last two have been more comfortable, just books to sit down and read when I had time. I’m hoping for the compulsive quality of the first couple.