Thursday, December 20, 2012

Book Review: The Lady of Secrets

Author: Susan Carroll
Publication Date: December 11, 2012
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Series: The Dark Queen Saga # 6

Meg Wolfe, The Lady of Faire Isle, is a gifted healer who can find a cure for almost any ailment. But she's also the daughter of Cassandra Claire, a mad witch and heretic with a notorious history. Meg's infamous lineage makes her a target from both those who want to use her extraordinary talents for good and those who want to use them for evil. One man in particular needs her special skills: to execute his revenge on a king. History and a kingdom hang in the balance as Meg tries to navigate the delicate line between right and wrong. And what she discovers is that she can no longer trust anyone or anything...not even her own heart.
“‘I will tell you again, I don’t think you should be interfering in this matter.’ Her tone softened as she added, ‘You are not obliged to atone for all the evil your mother did while she was alive. You don’t have to ride to the rescue anytime someone breathes the word witch.’” – Paperback Copy pg. 26

“Ariane had glanced up from the powder she was grinding with her pestle. ‘I can teach you a good many things, my dear. How to mend bones, how to curb fevers, stitch cuts, ease a woman through the pangs of childbirth. But when you are the Lady of Faire Isle, people will come to you for advice as well on troubles of the heart. Too often you will have no solution to give them. All you will be able to do is listen with kindness and sympathy. You cannot take on their sorrow as your own, even the pain of those whom you love deeply. There will be times when you must stand back and let others find their own healing.’” – Paperback Copy pg. 74

“I do not think you are the sort of woman who cares to be flattered. But you should know that the legend of the Lady of Faire Isle is known and spoken of, even in London.” – Paperback Copy pg. 100

“Once the fire blazed on the hearth, Meg worked as though possessed of a fever herself, grinding herbs, measuring and tossing them into the boiling kettle. The poison had started its course through Blackwood’s veins this morning and Meg felt like a frantic hunter racing to overtake her prey, all the while knowing there was nothing more dangerous than a cornered beast.” – Paperback Copy pg. 229

“I was unable to execute the one man I thought deserving of death, so how was I ever going to slaughter complete strangers?” – Paperback Copy pg. 413

I enjoyed this story so much because of the main character, Meg Wolfe. Meg lives under the scrutiny of her mother’s reputation before death. Her mother was known as insane, at least to locals, and a woman always sought after by witch hunters. She is even referred to as evil at one point in this story, but yet Meg perseveres and becomes the Lady of Faire Isle. Meg is gifted in all types of magic and particularly at what is known as healing. Although she is feared by many for possessing the same traits as her mother did, she still continues to prove that she intends to use her powers for the betterment of mankind and the locals that surround her. Meg was a wonderful heroine to follow.

The Middle Ages is always a time that I enjoy reading about. It is so dark and mysterious and I always picture rats running along grey and foggy cobblestone streets. I guess I am a little stereotypical, but that is just how I picture things. This book definitely fit that scenario and I was enraptured by the small details of the king’s court and all the royalty of England during this time period. The historical detail was on target and Susan Carroll does not miss a beat. I love when I read a wonderful story like this one and feel as if I have had a history lesson all in one setting. But then again, I am a nerd!

I love reading about witchcraft and superstitions as they are depicted in this novel. I have always been so fascinated with events like the Salem Witch Trials and witchcraft as far back as the Middle Ages. People took it so seriously and just like King James in this novel, some took their superstitions too far. The stigmatism surrounding witches in this book was just as I imagined it really would have been in the Middle Ages. Meg’s gift of healing and her connection to dark magic were explored really well throughout the novel as well. Readers will get an inside look at her abilities and talents and also into King James’ court.

Fans of rich historical fiction will enjoy this novel. There were points in my reading when I felt that passages were too wordy and could have been shortened, but this is usually the case with most historical fiction that I have read and I believe it says a lot for the author’s eye for detail and wanting to connect with their readers.

***A copy of this book was generously provided to me by the publishers at Ballantine Books in exchange for my honest review***

1 comment:

  1. OOh wow this book sounds amazing! I'm doing s series challenge in 2013 so I think I may just have to read this whole series. I love the sound of this one though. Great review!
    -Kimberly @ Turning the Pages