Book: Mistress Of The Art Of Death by Ariana Franklin
Pages: 384 (Hardcover)
My Review: Mistress Of The Art Of Death is about a woman named Adelia, and her 2 companions (Simon and Mansur) travel to England to solve the mysterious deaths of 4 children. The community blames it on the Jewish population, who are hidden the king’s castle to keep them save from the rioting mob.
The two things that jumped out at me were the title and the cover, but the book was just okay for me. It takes place in 12th century England, and while I don’t expect historical fiction to be completely accurate (being fiction and all), I just couldn’t get over the fact that a world dominated by men would be so accepting of a woman from a foreign country investigating the deaths of 4 children. She was just too independent and confident for someone from 1170, and she felt too out of place, like she didn’t belong. She was just a little *too* unrealistic for my tastes.
She seemed genuinely surprised by the few people who didn’t want her investigating the murders- you’d think that she’d be used to it, since woman doctors were (most likely) very rare in that time.
As for the plot, it wasn’t as interesting as I hoped. I was hoping for more suspense, but the book didn’t deliver on that, and sometimes the plot just moved along really slow. There was something off about this book, and I can’t quite place my finger on it. I couldn’t even tell you most of what happened in the book- it wasn’t very memorable. A lot of what I do remember (like the murders of the children and the ending), I felt like she threw in just because she could.
Rating: 2 out of 5. The book had a lot of promise, and could have been really good. Maybe if Adelia wasn’t so completely out of place, and if Franklin had left out some of the grisly details, I would have liked it better.