Dotta has a winning way of cunningly revisiting the Victorian Gothic and lovers of Bleak House and Jane Eyre (whether coming from a background of faith or not ) will sink into this highly literary endeavour. The sheer verisimilitude, pitch-perfect dialect and tone and well-coloured tapestry of believable, dimensional characters puts Dotta at the top of the historical game. To add, she plays with convention---especially in the CBA sphere. Her heroine is not necessarily the protagonist, not all ends are tied up neatly, there are enough sly euphemisms to sink a ship and the humour is as steep as the pathos. The third installment is told with the same beguiling nod to the past with an upstairs-downstairs feel, portentous chapter endings and a brave conclusion that will shatter readers expectations. Even though Dotta writes in the past, I like to think this is the CBA fiction future. Smart, winning and without restriction, Dotta is a genius and master of plot and character.
Finally, readers will be surprised to realize that the last book is mostly comprised of a cloistered, actionless setting completely reliant on dialogue to inform circumstance and movement. Not unlike a tv bottle episode --- or a cozy mystery a la Agatha Christie, this was a nice, unique touch and suited the high class society in which Julia has become a pawn. Part Forsyte Saga, part mystery, all wonderment, political intrigue and topped with a dollop of romance, the Anglophile will adore this series. This is groundbreaking stuff. She doesn't talk down to the reader, she expects you to rise to her level. You will want to read and re-read and read again to make sure that you catch all the deft threads she has sewn to tie up this ornate and opiate yarn.
Stay tuned for my interview next month with Jessica over at Novel Crossing
Title provided by Tyndale for review
visit Jessica Dotta on the web