Saturday, July 18, 2015

Review ~ Come Winter by Clare Gutierrez

Rating: 3/5 Stars
Author: Clare Gutierrez
Available Formats: eBook & Paperback
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group 
Publication Date: 03-17-15                Pages: 411
Purchase ~ Amazon                         Add ~ Goodreads
The adventures of a lowly maidservant, a disguised fugitive, a savior to the poor and endangered, and a queen.

Such is the paradox of Lady Caterina Tabor, an extraordinary young girl who, en route to England, finds herself captured and at the mercy of a stern and powerful lord. Forced to work as a common kitchen maid in the dank halls of Dermoth Castle, Caty dreams of her past as a free and autonomous maiden with a bright future in the English courts—did fate have other plans?

This early trial is but the first in a litany of shocking tribulations; imprisoned, abused, accused of sorcery, and kidnapped, Caty’s life is for so long anything but charmed—but you can’t keep a soaring heart shackled. As we follow this misunderstood maiden’s journey through both the unexpected, electrifying joys of new love and the pain of mind-boggling adversity, we become eyewitnesses to the astonishing way she not only transforms herself but also enchants, inspires, and invigorates those around her.

Spanning decades of castle life, treacherous journeys, bloody battles, and heartache, Come Winter is a sweeping yet personal tale of a brave woman who at once embodies and transcends the prescribed, and oftentimes oppressive, roles her society demands. Let Clare Gutierrez (author of Dancing with the Boss) curate your voyage back to the Scottish highlands of ages past—a time and place in which simply staying alive constituted a noble adventure, and becoming a patron of the oppressed and the impoverished could make you a hallowed queen.

My So-Called Review: 
I was initially drawn to Come Winter because of its beautiful cover; I think it’s so beautiful! I used to read a lot of Historical Fiction but it’s now been about 15 years since I’ve steadily read that genre. This book sounded interesting and looked great so I decided to give it a try, thinking I would love it. Unfortunately I didn’t fall madly in love with this one; it wasn’t terrible by any means, it was just kind of ok for me.

While on her way to serve in the English court, Lady Caterina Tabor is kidnapped by the Lord of Dermoth who is a demeaning, controlling man. She believes he has no idea who he’s kidnapped and therefore spends her time working in the kitchen. When Lord Rhys learns of her behavior and attitude towards her duties he is surprised. He becomes entranced with her and is surprised that she doesn’t seem to be afraid of him either.  It doesn’t take long for Lord Rhys to want her as his own and soon Caty realizes she needs to escape. Once she does she sets off again towards England, it’s quite a long journey that comes to a sudden halt when Lord Rhys tracks her down and takes her back to his castle.

I enjoyed, very much, the beginning part of this book and thought I had a pretty clear understanding of where the story was going but it turns out I was wrong. I won’t give away any plot spoilers so I’ll try to explain, as best I can, why this didn’t work for me. Lady Caty goes through many trials and tribulations throughout her life and must learn to find peace within herself in order to love again. I love books that span a person’s lifetime or a families many generations and historical novels are usually the best setting for these types of stories. In this novel Caty seems to just go through the same things over and over again making it all a little too repetitious for me. Even the people that come into her life later on are very similar to the people that were in her earlier life. I understand that this is a story about of a strong, independent woman who stands her ground and faces challenges, I just she would have had different challenges to overcome and felt the author kind of missed what could have been some great opportunities with new storylines.

There were also things I really enjoyed about Come Winter. I loved that Lady Caterina never backed down when facing obstacles or challenges in her life; no matter what life throws at her she continues to be a survivor every step of the way! I also loved the history throughout; the people, the politics, their fashions, its scattered perfectly through this book.  Author, Claire Gutierrez writes with such passion and beauty, each part of the story comes to life off the pages. This is a book I wanted to love so badly but instead I was just left wanting. Although I can’t say that I would highly recommend this to everyone; I do have some reading buddies that are huge historical fiction fans, it’s all they ever read and so they’d probably really enjoy this one!

Thank you to the publishers, Greenleaf Book Group and to NetGalley, for providing me a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


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