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I had to spend quite a few days in hospital recently and spent some of the time listening to this book. It is not the best book of Charlotte Betts that I have read, nevertheless, it was an easy listen and well researched. I'm sure that a small extra push would make Betts' historical novels come to life. However, it's not quite there yet but it's entertaining and easy to digest.
I absolutely loved book one, which focused on Susannah & William during the time of the plague, and was hoping for this book to be a continuation of that same storyline. Instead, I found the characters to be too plentiful (sure, there is immense detail about WHO is in the house now to wink at you about the past novel, but never goes into enough details about each of them to make it worthwhile), and so absolutely whiny and annoying. Cecily, Beth, Anne and Johannes were unbearable in some chapters; we get it, life is difficult, but so is listening to the constant and predictable complaining.
Even though I was able to push through the above, what I got caught up on is that Beth’s love interest is her FIRST cousin. FIRST - she could have married Kit for the same result. I get that it’s set in the 1680s when this was acceptable, but it was so hard for me to get past this point when there were so many other characters (too many) to play the part.
I also got frustrated with the author’s use of terms that were way out of period in the dialogue (like when Arabella uses the term “rabble rousers” to describe the opposition causing chaos in England...and that term wasn’t even documented until the 1800s). If you’re going to write historical fiction, to the point of being accurate enough to include incest amongst the main characters, at least do your research on the terms and language being used in the book.
If you loved the apothecarys daughter this is a must! Following the life of Susana and Beth