Thursday, January 13, 2011
The Lady's Slipper...Review
1660. King Charles II has returned from exile, but memories of the English Civil War still rankle. There are old scores to settle, and religious differences threaten to overturn a fragile peace.
When Alice Ibbetson discovers a rare orchid, the Lady’s Slipper, growing in a wood belonging to Richard Wheeler, she is captivated by its beauty— though Wheeler, a Quaker, is determined to keep the flower where God intended it to grow. Knowing that the orchid is the last of its kind, she steals the flower, little dreaming that her seemingly simple act will set off a chain of events that will lead to murder and exile, and change her life forever…
This one sounds so good, and from an historical standpoint it is. It's a fascinating account of England in the 17th century as it recovers from Oliver Cromwell's parliamentary rule. The novel also explores the origins and establishment of the Quaker religion. I thought that using a rare flower as a main plot device was certainly unique and unusual and was one reason I was drawn to the book. The writing is lyrical and the descriptions vivid.
However, the story itself was simply not something that ultimately appealed to me. I didn't really care for the characters and found myself more annoyed than enthralled. This isn't a fast read, it's more of an ambitious one that can hamper a reader's enjoyment. The sex scenes were unexpected, unnecessary and quite vulgar in their descriptions.
I found the religious aspect fascinating, especially the lengths one character went to in order to become a Quaker and the ease with which another ultimately disregarded his Quaker faith.
Thanks to Reading Group Gold (Macmillan/St. Martin's Press) for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Deborah Swift here. You can purchase your own copy here.