Rec'd via the author for review.
Amazon Editorial Review
Lydia Hamilton was a modern woman, happily in love and living in Canada . . . until the nightmares. Following the death of her father, Lydia begins dreaming of places and people she doesn't know. When she closes her eyes, she sees a bloodied, severed head. The images are confusing and unclear, but she knows one thing for sure: something bad happened a long time ago. And why only now have the dreams begun?
Read two hundred pages (out of nearly five hundred) but couldn't go any farther.
Gave up today.
Initially, I was quite intrigued by the premise. Lydia has these vivid nightmares and daydreams, in which she seems to be a young woman living during the reign of Henry VIII. She becomes a lady-in-waiting to Queen Anne Boleyn, but always there is a threat of danger, for in her dreams Lydia has seen the woman locked up and imprisoned, with execution only moments away. As the dreams become more intense, Lydia seeks help, but the strain on her relationship with her lover Dan threatens to tear the two of them apart. A love triangle begins to form between Lydia, Dan and her therapist Alan.
There were several reasons why the book just wasn't working for me:
- Spelling/punctuation/grammar errors. This is a real problem for self-published books, and Kallio's work was no exception. It seemed like there was something - maybe a misplaced semicolon, a dropped quotation mark, a dangling modifier - on almost every page. Now, I know this isn't an issue for many people, but it always drives me batty.
- Awkward dialogue. This actually ties into the punctuation problem. The strange placement of periods, commas and suchlike led to sentences that didn't flow naturally. If the book were read as an audio recording and followed the punctuation marks, there would be a lot of awkward pauses and strange-sounding sentences.
- Lydia's rather unlikeable, at least to me. I understand that she's under a ton of stress. She's having these living daydreams and horrific nightmares, her father died not too long before the book begins, and her boyfriend constantly nags her to 'fix' the problem or he'll leave. But I swear it seems like she's bursting into tears in every freakin' chapter. She's also constantly dithering back and forth between "Oh, hypnosis might help me with my problem so I should do it!" and "OMG hypnosis is terrible and I refuse to do it!" If I met her face-to-face, I wouldn't like her, and she didn't translate well on the page, either.
- Elisabeth Beeton goes from a fairly anonymous scribe and ward of Cardinal Wolsey to lady-in-waiting to Anne Boleyn practically overnight. This seems exceptionally unrealistic to me. I mean, to the best of my ability to remember Elisabeth was a commoner, not a member of the noble class. (Perhaps something was revealed about her origins later in the book; as I said, I didn't finish it.) Ladies-in-waiting to the Queen were nearly always high-ranking nobility - often relatives - and I highly doubt that a random servant of Wolsey would have been elevated in this way.
The Anne Boleyn Files has a list of some of Anne's known ladies-in-waiting here: http://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/8723/anne-boleyns-ladies-in-waiting/
With the exception of a mysterious woman who could have been a midwife (or a baroness) and the women who served Boleyn in the Tower after her arrest, the women raised to ladies-in-waiting after Anne married Henry seem to be members of the noble class.
- The book is intensively wordy. Scenes are described in great detail, but often it is detail I could live without. If the author establishes that a street is 'busy' I don't really need another paragraph listing all the things that make it so; I've already gotten the general idea. The inclusion of such minutiae drags the story down to a crawl and bogs it down considerably.
All together, the text just doesn't work for me.