Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Blackstone Key

The Blackstone Key. By Rose Melikan. 2008. Simon & Schuster. 435 pages. [Historical/Mystery/Romance]

The clock at Great St. Mary's Church in Cambridge tolled the half hour on a grey, gloomy, October morning in the year 1795.

Mary Finch, our heroine, is on her way to a new life, a new start. So she thinks. She's going to visit an uncle she's never met. But the journey to get there, well, it's not without complications. Life-changing complications. She'll be meeting lots of new people--some trustworthy, others not so much. Can she discern the difference? Can you?

Set during the late eighteenth century, it focuses on the conflict between England and France. What you'll get--if you choose this one as something you'd like to try--is a bit of history, a bit of mystery, and a tiny bit of romance.

Did I like it? Yes and no. On the one hand, it's detail-oriented. There's a richness to that in some ways. It's like immersing yourself in a different time period, a different world. It can be a good thing. On the other hand, it can be a bit tedious at times, a bit tiresome. To be honest, there were places I just felt so bogged down that I was at the point of giving up. And then I would have a moment, where the book felt like it was on the verge of being oh-so-good. So I would keep on going. Towards the end, the pace did pick up and I reached a place where I knew I had to finish it.

So I wanted to like it more than I did. But I think it has potential for patient readers. (Or readers who aren't reading two or three books all at once.)

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Anonymous,  11:41 AM  

Do you think I would like it, Becky? It's funny that patience really never has been one of my more conspicuous qualities - yet perhaps I might be described as a "patient reader"... :) L.

Annette 5:38 PM  

The title and cover is enticing. But I am reading several books at once.

Paige Y. 6:01 PM  

I love a good historical novel but I agree that it takes a good writer to balance enough historical details to really create a good setting without bogging down the story.

Becky 9:32 PM  

L, I am *fairly* sure that you would like this one a good deal. For one thing, it's historical fiction. I kept reading this one just for you. There is a sequel I *hope* to get to at some point. I'm hoping that it will click even more since I'll be familiar with some of the characters and the setting. They'll be less "orienting" to do maybe?

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
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4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
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