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 book is rich with history and detail. I highly recommend this book is you are into historical fiction. The life of the main character is full of twists and turns and brimming with heartache. I lost myself in this book and even though it was long I was kept enraptured to the end. I will read the more books by this author.
This is one of my favorite books. A very good read if you like historical fiction with a lot of betrayal, sex & love.
I loved the first half of the book, but was somewhat disappointed by the second half and ending. I think the author skips a really important part in the middle of the story and only tells it as though the character was remembering it. I would probably still read another book by her though.
If you like to read about the Dukes and Duchesses and how they live and lots of scandal read this. Megan.
I loved this one almost as much as the Prequel DARK ANGELS. It is a great read and full of wonderful characters, intrigue, romance, sex and politics.
Other reviewers have told you what the basic sitch is in this novel, so I won't recap any of that. I will just say that I thoroughly enjoyed it because the author really tried to put herself into the mindset of these people in a different age, with their different attitudes, both (by our standards) good and bad. It is elegantly written without being stuffy, and it is leisurely without being slow or draggy. I loved it so much I went and got a hardback of it, and its sequel as well. I hope to see more books from this author, but I'm told she writes very slowly. If you can take the time to read this one more slowly and appreciate the craft, I would highly recommend it.
What a great book! I read this shortly after reading the Wideacre series by Philippa Gregory, because I was on a historical kick. This was just as good, with a little less drama. Barbara is an amazing women! Loved it.
This is one of the first historical romance novels I read. It got me hooked! Great story with a little of the unexpected.
You know a book has lived up to its hype when you are sad to reach the end. Such is the case with this. Fortunately, "Now Face to Face", the dynamic follow-up, is also available. Koen is fantastic!
The beginning was slow, but momentum built gradually and by the end of the first quarter I was hooked. Gradually it drew me into a well-written, character-rich time and place. Descriptive prose flows naturally and the willful heroine grows from a silly young girl to an independent woman. 18th century elegance and decadence...
Rich in detail and rarely tedious, like some books of this genre can be.
I didn't know Miss Koen had written two books on the same characters and I read the second book first. I felt I knew each character has I read the first book. I enjoyed it very much.
The book was fine until it started with men lusting after men and gay sex. I left the book unfinished. Not something I care to read about and the other story lines were not strong enough for me to over look the gay sex and move on.
wonderful book i read dark angels first and red through the glass darkly last.
i just love the caricters so much it is just a wonderful story!!
Very fun book which will burning the midnight oil to get to a point where you feel you can put it down for a while; great character development, a little sex thrown in for titillation, fast-paced story with twists and turns,I call it Charles Dickens meets Pride and Prejudice. My favorite character was the elderly Duchess. I'm about to read the sequel (Face to Face) and prequel (Dark Angels).
With about 100 pages to go, I just realized that I didn't give a darn about any of the characters or what happens to them. I just put the book down. I felt like it was mostly a waist of time. The characters are so UNLIKABLE!!! There is not one character in the book that had any redeeming qualities, they were all selfish and dull.
Through A Glass Darkly was a fictional book about Richard The Lionhearts family.Imust say it was one of the best piece of historical fiction I've picked up in a long time.While this book is mostly about Richards young granddaughter & her infatuation with her girlhood crush & soon to be husband Rodger it does tell a captivating story about the his family.I do not want to give away to much of this book because this is one that all HF lovers should read I will say that Barbara soon finds her marriage is based on a young girls false hopes & filled with drama unbecoming even in that centry.A story of ups & downs, not to mention the Alderlys sad tale of heartbreak & death.This is sure to become a favorite of all you history lovers.
this is a well done historical romance set in the 18th century England and France.the pages are a little yellowed but the binding in good shape.