Julia Quinn recommended this book to me. I do not mean that Julia Quinn and I are BFFs and she was all, “Hey BFF Amy, you should totally read this book.” What I mean is that I was in the audience when she was giving a workshop on writing dialogue, and in that workshop she recommended this book for writers studying how to write dialect.
The heroine is French, and she speaks in a way that makes it clear she does not think in English. You will notice it from page 1, and it’s skillfully done. I was not surprised to learn, upon finishing the book, that the author had lived in both France and England.
The author also has the characters switching languages between French and English and German, yet all of this is rendered in English for the reader. This is another well-executed bit of craft.
Another thing I found interesting about this book was that it went through several wild-and-crazy plot twists, most of which I totally did not see coming. One of them actually made me want to go back and read part of the book again, because the new knowledge changed my understanding of a lot of scenes. Honestly, I think in most books these plot twists wouldn’t have worked because they are too far-fetched–they are asking for too much faith from the reader.
But in this book, they work. Why? Because the author has earned the reader’s faith with exceptionally convincing writing, historical details, and dialogue. My theory is that the stronger the writer is with the details, the wilder the ride that writer can take a reader on without, well, crashing head-on into a tree. This author is so strong with the details that she can take us on a very wild ride indeed.