Review published on June 7, 2018.
Described as a fusion of betrayal, adventure, religion, romance and history, Mosse’s latest book is set across three French seasons during 1562.
Taking place after a sequence of eight civil wars between the Protestant Huguenots and Catholics, peace is reached, albeit this is more out of exhaustion and bankruptcy than any religious tolerance. But it is a fragile peace, amidst divided loyalties not necessarily upheld in every village and town. There is corruption, conspiracies and a religious focused mystery related to nineteen-year-old Minou Joubert who receives an anonymous letter at her father’s bookshop. Sealed with a distinctive family crest, it contains just five words: SHE KNOWS THAT YOU LIVE. Following a chance meeting with Peit Reydon, her life is changed forever as amidst danger she finds out about her true heritage and family secrets.
Minou is an extremely sincere, likeable and sensible character that you instinctively get behind. Her brother was the most fun and rebellious character, amidst a high level of loyalty and was my favourite. The unrest and historical depictions of the mistrust and betrayal is nicely captured, but there was something very predictable and clichéd about rather a lot of the writing that prevented it from being entirely captivating. I didn’t really feel any tension during the affrays, with no real fear of loss of life, despite some brutal intentions. The young romance was pleasant enough, quite hero and heroine esque, with the mystery element only distinctly featuring at the latter part of the book. This is not to say that the story didn’t flow nicely and carry you through. The first part of the book I found most engaging, but the plot became notably looser as the story progressed with some of the mystery elements at tad too coincidental and slack. Despite this, it was pleasing to pick up and read, but for me it lacked the more steadfast emotional hooks and authenticity that would set it up as a great read that I was hoping from Mosse, which may account for my sense of disappointment. Perhaps the story will refine as the next book in the series is released…
Sara Garland 3/4
The Burning Chamber by Kate Mosse
Mantle 9781509806836 hbk May 2018
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