This is not a sunshiney, happy read; there is betrayal and the usual psychological warfare that tends to go on among females in this era and type of fiction, and the author pulls no punches -- people die, etc -- but the imperfect protagonist survives it all and is the stronger for it, which is what I feel makes it a good read. I also feel it leans a bit more toward historical fiction than romance (though there is plenty of passion and sex), the storyline just goes deeper than that and involves more politics.
It may help to know that the title is taken from 1 Corinthians 13, about how human nature often fails to perceive reality as it truly is, and the title fits the book: the protagonist's rose-colored glasses are broken, and she perseveres. This is not to say that it is Christian fiction, for it is not; simply that the author has delved a bit deeper below the surface than some of the more fluffy romance novels.
"Now Face to Face" is an equally good sequel to this one, and the author has recently released a third, "Dark Angels".
Sweeping, Epic, Heartbreaking... these are just a few words I'd use to describe this book. It's a must read,.. in my opinion. I had trouble not crying at parts and had trouble not grinning like a fool at others.
One of the best books I have read in quite some time. It is amazing all the wonderful detail about Barbara's family, the locations, the historical aspect, etc. Very very thick book and it took me exactly a week to read. Would love to see this made into a movie. I have heard there is a prequel so i'll definately check that out. I highly enjoyed this book and know you will as well!!
What a page-turner this romantic historical novel is! Though it was published more than 20 years ago, it holds up very well, and I seem to re-read it every year, though my copy drops a few pages after every reading. It's one of those thick, sweeping sagas, with many, many characters, full of atmospheric descriptions of the fashions, the jewelry, the furnishings, the street scenes. Set in 18th century England, within an aristocratic family clearly modeled on the Spencers and the Duke of Marlborough. The heroine, Barbara, is a beautiful, naive young girl, in love with a handsome, charismatic older man, and she can't believe her luck when she's betrothed to him in an arranged marriage. But Barbara soon finds out that being married to the man of her dreams doesn't, of itself, ensure her happiness. I don't think I'm giving away too many spoilers when I say that this was one of the pioneering works within its genre to feature a gay male romance as part of the love triangle. If you like the big, thick historical romance precursors (like "Gone With the Wind" and "Forever Amber"), and can deal with the ups and downs of Barbara's journey, you will like this one. Also watch for one of the best secondary characters in the genre: Barbara's grandmother, the masterful, cranky, manipulative old Dowager Duchess, who's probably my favorite character in the book.
This is one of my favorite books. A very good read if you like historical fiction with a lot of betrayal, sex & love.