September 2016
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Through a Glass Darkly, Karleen Koen

Fifteen-year-old Barbara, inexperienced and innocent, daughter of a bankrupt family, discovers that she is to be married to the man of her dreams, Earl Devane. She determines to win him over, her attempts witnessed by a loving cast of characters who all provide their own side stories as Barbara’s life veers in directions she does not expect.

I think the best word for this book is predictable. The foreshadowing is so heavy that the author basically tells you so and eliminates any suspense or surprise that the book might have held. I knew most of what would happen in the book before the halfway mark. In addition, the characters fell somewhat flat. The best character was the Duchess, although Tony was my favorite and went through the most believable character development. For the most part, I felt that many of the relationships were built on air, meaning that the author spent more time telling me about them than showing me how they happened. Most of the story is that everyone loves Barbara, except for those who hate her for being loved by everyone else. The mechanics of the writing were fine and I could get swept up in the story, I just think that the author could have plotted better.

That said, it was enjoyable for the most part. I got a feel for the atmosphere of the time, the contrast between England and France, country and city, innocence and experience. I think the book does a good job with the time period and avoids historical improbabilities. All in all, a decent read, but not something I will read again.

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