Let me say up front that this is a good story. It did take me a few chapters to really get into it (apparently I’m not as into historic fantasy as I thought and often found myself skimming through paragraphs on alliances and lineages), but once I did I was swept along with the characters and the story.
I love the setting of Narbonne. The inclusion of a variety of cultures, all persecuted at the time, was fantastic. Ms. Gill interwove respect within the story, even detailing how the Moors were far more advanced in sciences at this time period. I adored Lady Sancha, as well as Estela and Dragonetz, of course!
What kept this novel from really shining is the only reason it is one star short of five. I found the frequent switching of POV within chapters tedious. Though the switch was clear and it was easy enough to see whose head the reader found themselves, the frequent breaks detracted from the flow. There are a few occasions where the POV moves to a character part of the story but had never been in the forefront - and sometimes never is again. This need to jump to numerous characters and then drop them to relay a tiny bit of information could be cleaned up with some work and would really snap the novel together.
And I will say that though I enjoyed the novel, the ending didn’t leave me satisfied. Without giving anything away, the lead up to it was well done and it seemed to be the only option available, but . . . when I sat and thought about it a few aspects of it didn’t make sense. I’d love to sit down for a tete-a-tete with Ms. Gill and ask a ton of questions! And not just about the ending. A few characters aren’t so neatly wrapped up and loose ends are left without the feeling that a sequel was going to solve them, at least to me.
The story is lovely and shows great potential. I think we’ll see some great novels from Ms. Gill in the future. If you are a fan of historical fiction/romance, do give this one a try. There are parts I really loved - enough that it made me want to see a bit more from the story.