Saturday, December 4, 2010

Julie's Review: The Lady's Slipper

Summary: 1660. King Charles II has returned from exile, but memories of the English Civil War still rankle. There are old scores to settle, and religious differences threaten to overturn a fragile peace. When Alice Ibbetson discovers a rare orchid, the Lady’s Slipper, growing in a wood belonging to Richard Wheeler, she is captivated by its beauty— though Wheeler, a Quaker, is determined to keep the flower where God intended it to grow. Knowing that the orchid is the last of its kind, she steals the flower, little dreaming that her seemingly simple act will set off a chain of events that will lead to murder and exile, and change her life forever…

Review: I don't have a green thumb, but I do love historical fiction and found the premise of The Lady's Slipper intriguing. Plus the cover is just gorgeous! The book starts off with Alice Ibbetson stealing the Lady's Slipper orchid from Richard Wheeler's land and then hiding it in her art studio. Richard Wheeler knows that it's Alice and goes to confront her but she denies it. She had decided to show the rare orchid to her close friend Sir Geoffrey. Little did she know of the history between Geoffrey and Richard Wheeler. Her one, simple act of stealing the orchid sets off a domino affect in her area.

Of course, you could sense the sparks between Alice and Richard off the bat and even though Alice was married and usually I object to that kind of attraction, but I knew there was more to her marriage than we were seeing. Boy was there ever. Let's just say that her husband was a dirty dog. Her maidservant wasn't exactly loyal either.

What I found the most interesting was how the Quakers were religiously persecuted in England during this time period. Obviously this is a reason so many people fled from England for the New World during this time period but I just didn't associate Quakers and England for whatever reason. It's an interesting perspective on the political attitude during that time period.

There are definitely a few things in the book that I didn't see coming and I always love a good twist. I thought the ending was solid and completed the story. There are all kinds of interesting secondary characters as well: Widow Poulter and Ella to name a couple.

I also enjoyed the way Ms. Swift told the story. She slowly unfolded all the plot lines until they came together nicely. I never felt that the pieces didn't fit, I was just interested to see how they ended up.

If you are a fan of historical fiction, then definitely pick up The Lady's Slipper, you will enjoy a great story about a beautiful flower and one woman's quest to save it during a time of political unrest. The book would make a wonderful book club pick.

If you'd like to know more about the author and her research on the Lady's Slipper orchid you can go to her website at Deborah Swift

Final Take: 3.5/5

Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy of the book to read and review.



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