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18 April 2012

Review: The Wicked and The Just by J. Anderson Coats

I love historical fiction.  Its probably one of my favorite genres of fiction to read.  I love history, but historical fiction gives more of a "human" twist to the dusty old textbook history.   

For some odd reason, I really like early British history (ok, I'm blaming it jointly on my obsession with the Robin Hood legend and my love of Elizabeth Chadwick's book, The Wild Hunt, which to this day, I highly recommend).  When I saw The Wicked and The Just by J. Anderson Coats on Netgalley, I thought this book would be right up my alley.  I hate to say it, but I was a little let down.
 
Here is the summary from Amazon:
Cecily’s father has ruined her life. He’s moving them to occupied Wales, where the
king needs good strong Englishmen to keep down the vicious Welshmen. At least
Cecily will finally be the lady of the house.
Gwenhwyfar knows all about that house. Once she dreamed of being the lady there
herself, until the English destroyed the lives of everyone she knows. Now she must
wait hand and foot on this bratty English girl.
While Cecily struggles to find her place amongst the snobby English landowners,
Gwenhwyfar struggles just to survive. And outside the city walls, tensions are rising
ever higher—until finally they must reach the breaking point.

While the book was obviously wonderfully researched and historically accurate, I had a really hard time sympathizing with the characters.

Throughout much of the book, Cecily (read to me) as a spoiled little brat.  Her "good" side (helping Gryffud and Gwenhwyfar) didn't really come out until the very, very end.  Instead of being nice and good, she playacted.  Instead of coming across as head-strong/strong willed, I felt it more spoiled.  Even at the end (I'm not going to say what happened), but at the very end, after a tragic event when I, the reader should be filled with sympathy for her, barely felt a twinge because she became whiny and demanding.

Gwenhwyfar, I'm sure, was meant to draw more sympathy and to be a strong woman character.  She didn't read that way to me.  She read as a revenge driven woman who will stop at nothing, and who is blinded by their notion of revenge.

Like I said, I loved the actual history of the book.  I just couldn't form an attachment to the characters, and because of that, really didn't enjoy the book.  You, dear reader, very well may. 

The Wicked and The Just is a Debut Author Challenge novel that I downloaded for free via Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  
It comes out April 17th.

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