Saturday, 19 July 2014

The Harem Midwife by Roberta Rich

Circassian Mountains
Ottoman Empire

One spring morning as the sun dappled the rocks with golden light, drying the dew from the night before, making the world look as scrubbed and as fleecy as a cloud, Leah made a blunder that was to lead to her death.

Preamble. This reads something like a blurb that would be on the back cover, minus, of course the poetiky weather report. And I'm no expert, but Leah doesn't sound like a 16th century name. It may well be, but it sounds a little too modern for me and somewhat obstructs the historical image that this novel will undoubtedly try to create.

By page two there is some back story dump about Yuruks. Slowly, over 13 pages the circumstances of Leah's death emerge.

First thing said:

"Be quiet, or I'll slit your throat too."

This dialogue works at building up conflict and tension, so if there is more conflict like this, that is, to the point, then that's something to look forward to.

Nevertheless, I shan't be finding out.

Verdict: Fail

Rudy Globird

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