This book was kind of hard to rate, and honestly a tad hard to finish.
The writing was quite good, approaching beautiful in some parts. The history was a bit shaky at times, but I'm aware I'm more likely to notice that than some people and honestly, I'm willing to let that slide most of the time as long as it is fun to read.
That was the book's downfall.
Anne was remarkably hard to connect to. I've seen her done conniving and vicious and I've seen her done thoughtful and clever, and I've enjoyed both sides. This novel's main issue was that the author couldn't quite seem to decide which way she wanted to go.
It is a valid argument that Anne was, on some level, both, but the shifts between the two felt like there were multiple people writing Anne here and they couldn't agree on how to portray her. She was often thoughtful and even silly when she should have been conniving. She made mistakes that didn't seem to spring from her character, but from the need to keep connected to the history of things. I felt like instead of writing Anne to slowly fill in the spaces between historical events, flowing over and through them and inhabiting them as you sometimes see in truly great historical fiction, they were road bumps in the path of this character that was maybe Anne and maybe not.
That is honestly my major problem. Anne was just sort of...there. She didn't come to life and sparkle because I could never guess what she would do next, even when I knew the facts that she needed to fit into.
The writing did make up for this somewhat, but the lack of sparkle made it slow-going for me. If you're interested in the time period with Anne as the center point, it's not a bad book by any means, and I am interested enough in the author to consider picking up something else by her, but it was not quite what I was hoping for.
This book was provided to me for free by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.