Sunday, 28 December 2008

Astraea - Jane Stevenson

The Netherlands, the 1640's. Two royal exiles meet - Elizabeth of Bohemia, daughter of James I of England, and Omolojou/Pelagius, once heir to the Yoruba kingdom of Oyo but now a freed slave with shamanic powers. They fall in love and clandestinely marry. Secretly, Eizabeth gives birth to a son, Balthasar Stuart, whom both of them see as a new hope for the future.

At the start I found the book confusing, as initially it was difficult to decide whether it was meant to be read as factual or fiction based on actual historical characters (which it is). It was a relief when the whole tale seemed to settle into a more natural "story telling mode", as it started to flow more smoothly from then and drew me in. A reasonably interesting read for those who like historically based books...... although be prepared for an ending that is not only not particularly happy but is also a little disappointing. I would have liked to have known the ultimate fate of both main characters but instead all was left "hanging", rather than following things through to a more natural conclusion. I guess that's a way of ensuring you go on to read the following two books in the trilogy.

This is now registered with Book Crossing and has also been added to my Swap List on the Swap Blog - shout if you want it. :0)