Saturday, November 13, 2010

ARC Book Tour & Book Review: The Sixth Surrender

The Sixth Surrender: A NovelAuthor: Hana Samek Norton
Title: The Sixth Surrender
Publisher: Plume
Publish Date: July 27, 2010
Rating: 4 stars
Book Blurb: In the last years of her eventful life, queen-duchess Aliénor of Aquitaine launches a deadly dynastic chess game to safeguard the crowns of Normandy and England for John Plantagenet, her last surviving son.

To that end, Aliénor coerces into matrimony two pawns-Juliana de Charnais, a plain and pious novice determined to regain her inheritance, and Guérin de lasalle, a cynical, war-worn mercenary equally resolved to renounce his.

The womanizing Lasalle and the proud Juliana are perfectly matched for battle not love-until spies and assassins conspire to reverse their romantic fortunes.

Populated by spirited and intelligent women and executed in flawless period detail, The Sixth Surrender is a compelling love story that heralds the arrival of a major new talent in historical fiction.

Review: This book was so well written that it was hard to believe it was a debut novel. Hana takes her readers back in time to the days of Queen Alienor of Aquitaine.

It feels so accurate and that is probably the only fault in this book. It is almost like reading a book by Jean Plaidy or Philippa Gregory which are more fictionalized biographies and like those biographies they have lots of characters that really play an important role in the story.

I don't think there was a character in this book that didn't serve to carry the story along to its end and end that was a happily ever after in a round about way.

Juliana and Guerin are the biggest mismatched couple in any book I've read. They don't want to be married. They try not to be married. In fact, they spend more than 400 pages trying to avoid each other. It is hard to believe that in the end, they seem to end up with each other.

Both are huge pawns, Juliana more by the Alienor and Guerin by Alienor and the Lusignans. Guerin is such an interesting hero, if you can call him that. He does more killing and whoring than declaring his love for Juliana. Not that Juliana makes anything easy for him. She's not the most likable character. She's a bit too pious and at times it seems like she's totally without emotion, but for the time period, that seems suitable for a woman that was almost a nun.

Hana does offer a glimpse of her feelings for her husband,  and at the end, there is no doubt that she does care for him and readers will be happy with the way things are wrapped up at the end.

This is an excellent historical novel. It really isn't a romance though. So if you are looking for a great love story, this might not be the book for you. I know it took me a lot longer to read than most of the books in my TBR pile. It was one of those books I had to really concentrate to read, because there was so much being told.


Nikola said...

This book is EVERYWHERE. I love books that have a lot to say, but only if they have a good pace. You know, sometimes you're just like "Spit it out already!" :)

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