I was not as pleased with this book as I was the first one, “Through A Glass Darkly”. The history was solid, the fashion and manners spot on as well… But I didn’t get enough Barbara. I wanted less politics and more of her story. More Hyacinth and Therese, love affairs and challenges, adventures in the wilds of the Virginia colony! Not Jacobian plots and politics over the South Sea Bubble. (Although between “Outlander” and this series I probably know more about The Pretender than any other British scandal.)
Barbara grows up in “Now Face to Face”, although I’m not sure whose face she is looking at. She travels to Virginia, always the sunset beauty with the pale skin and a thousand admirers. (If all it takes to be popular in 1720’s England is a stubborn and loyal disposition I’d have been quite the sought after lady.) New characters like Governor Spotswood and the Viscount Duncannon, Colonel Perry and an overseer or two are also brought to the table… But I believe that Koen’s favorite literary device is death.
Don’t know what to do with a character? Accidental death.
Ready to end their storyline and move on? Murder.
Need to drag your character through a sad time? Smallpox!
To Koen’s credit, I still want to know what happened with Barbara but the end of the book leaves the reader hanging on nearly every open storyline. Nothing is finished! Koen has two more books, a prequel to “Darkly” and a separate story of Louis XIV. Not sure if I’ll read them. Maybe if I find myself in the K’s this winter and need a gigantic brick of paper to lug around.