I am a voracious reader, and keep this one on my shelf to read over and over. I bought it at a thrift shop, and am a big fan of historical fiction. I like it when you can feel the cold, and see the dirt! It is true that the writing style is very spare, and you almost have to read between the lines to discover the love story between Maria and her husband, Richard. The author made Maria a very strong woman in a time when women had very few rights, and had to defer to the men in their lives - whether it was fathers or husbands. If you liked "The Pillars of the Earth" then try this one, but where Ken Follett's book is huge and descriptive, Great Maria is simple yet intriguing.
A review on another site describes the author's writing style as "scrubbed clean of emotions". An apt description. So much scrubbed that to me it's choppy and completely lacking in any sort of flow. Almost like listening to an excited 5 year old tell you a story. Each paragraph seems unattached to the previous one. I was enjoying the story but gave up about half way through.