This was my very first ARC and the very first ebook I read. Exciting! I know I mentioned in my recap post that I wasn’t going to be reading//reviewing as diligently, but this is one of the ARCs I received before I made that decision, so I will still review it, since that’s the whole reason I received it in the first place.
Thank you Netgalley and Kensington Books!
Ludmila Novakova–Mila–has barely set foot outside Prague Castle in her seventeen years. But with the choice between braving the bandits and wolves of Bohemia’s uneasy roads or being married off to a disgusting old baron, she’s taken what she can carry and fled.
Escape won’t be easy. Even Mila has heard the rumors of a rebellion coming against the court. The peasants are hungry. The king hasn’t been seen in months. Mila’s father, the High Chancellor, is well known and well hated.
But Mila can’t sit behind a stone wall and let fear force her into a life of silk gowns and certain misery. Her mother’s death has taught her that much. She has one ally: Marc, the son of the blacksmith. A commoner, a Protestant–and perhaps a traitor, too. But the farther she gets from the castle, the more lies she uncovers, unraveling everything she thought she knew. And the harder it is to tell friend from enemy–and wrong from right .
I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. This isn’t really the type of book I would pick up off the shelves and read, based on cover and blurb. (but that cover is really pretty XD)
I definitely enjoyed this book. It gives a really good glimpse of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation and how it affected people of different social status and background. It’s not perfectly accurate–the dialogue is modern, not historically accurate for 1610, but I was completely okay with that. The author didn’t try to straddle both worlds and have partly historical dialogue and partly modern-day speech habits. It was completely modern. But I didn’t have a problem with that at all because the author was consistent, and it made it very, very readable. It didn’t feel dried out or drowned just for the sake of authenticity.
I don’t think I’d ever read a book set in this exact time period before? I think it represented the Reformation very well, while still remaining interesting and readable. Yes, the historical aspects fade a little in lue of the fictional part, but the fiction was well based and grounded in the historical setting. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The characters were strong and I enjoyed the relationships and connections various ones had with others. Again, it was realistic. In the first chapter, there was a lot of telling vs. showing and to be honest, I groaned a little, hoping the entire book wouldn’t be like that. It got better as it went along though. It could have been better overall, but it wasn’t cringe-worthy.
At one point the main female character is almost raped, which is very accurate for the time period and situation. But it wasn’t overly-detailed, which I very much appreciated. While in a dire situation, two characters also shared a bed, though didn’t have sex. Because of my personal beliefs, I wasn’t happy about it, but I could understand the situation and again, historical accuracy. That doesn’t mean I agreed with it.
Overall, it was a good read and I don’t have any specific complaints.
Lions in the Garden will be available March 1, 2016.