I am proud to be a Ten Reviews or More reviewer on Net Galley
I was sent this e-book, free-of-charge (yay!) by NetGalley, in return for an honest review. So, here it is…
THE LAST DAUGHTER
by ANN TURNER
This was another book with an intriguing description, which, sadly, didn’t quite live up to its promise:
Why is Rose transported back in time, to the London of 1666? What waits for her there? Will she ever be able to return back to the present day?
Recovering from her father’s death, Rose books into a small London hotel. On one of her explorations, she meets and strikes up a friendship with Alan, vicar of St Mildrith.
During her stay at the Hotel Aragon, Rose encounters Julia, a ghost who has been searching through the centuries for the last daughter, the only woman who can help her. Having found Rose, the spectral Julia spirits her to Pudding Lane, only days before a fire breaks out in a nearby bakery. This scares Rose, and she insists Julia returns her to her own time. Evaluating what has happened to her, Rose asks Alan to join her, and Julia takes them back to the London of 1666.
They become involved in a plan to help Julia, daughter of the third wealthiest man in London escape an arranged marriage, as she has met and fallen love with an ambitious apprentice baker, Adam.
A fire with dire consequences for London breaks out in Pudding Lane. Can Rose and Alan, whose friendship is slowly developing into love, without either realising it, survive and escape the ravenous fire and return to their own time? Or will they be trapped forever in the London of King Charles II.
Will Julia and Adam succeed in their audacious plan to marry, despite the cavernous divide of their different lives?
I’m not quite sure what didn’t work for me with this book (apart from some extremely poor editing – or writing – but more about that later) but I did end up feeling it was a good idea that didn’t quite deliver. There were a couple of yawning plot holes that irritated me, but even putting those to one side, I just didn’t feel invested in this book.
The characters were reasonably well drawn, and engaging enough, although from time to time I felt they acted out of character; the story was interesting – although sometimes the descriptions were long winded and events were drawn out, and perhaps unnecessary to progress the plot. I think that, finally, I’m afraid I found this a bit tedious. I must admit however that most of the other reviewers on Net Galley loved it, giving it four or five stars; maybe I’m just a fussy cow!
As the story continued, I did find myself becoming increasingly irritated by
- bad grammar – the author seems to be unable to grasp the fact that the third person neutral possessive adjective DOES NOT have an apostrophe.
- incorrect vocabulary – the verb is “to slither” The snake slithers. The noun is “sliver” A sliver of wood. NOT a slither of wood. AAARGH. Equally, “to bare” is “to make naked” wheras “to bear” is “to support” Therefore “they could not bare to know the truth” is INCORRECT. These are the two examples that I remember off the top of my head, but there were others that leapt out at me.
- poor writing – In the part of the story where the beginning of the great fire was being described, the author wrote “but none failed to notice that the door of the oven was not closed” Which means that everyone noticed that it had happened. Surely, she merans “EVERYONE failed to notice…” or “NONE noticed…”
There were several sentences which were so clumsily constructed that they ended up not making sense; for example:
“Rose snuggled next to her new husband, feeling comfortable and safe by his side, could not resist a small laugh escaping”
At the very minimum, this sentence requires a comma between “Rose” and “snuggled”, but even then it’s a poorly written sentence. Do you resist a laugh escaping, or do you prevent a laugh from escaping? I would have said the latter. You resist doing something; you prevent something from happening.
I know this all seems like nit-picking, but over and over I find things like this are really noticeable, and spoil a story. If the author can’t write cohesive, well-constructed sentences, it makes me wonder how the heck they manage to get published. Ho-hum.
Three-and-a-half stars for the story, two-and-a-half for the writing, gives an average of three stars.