Heresy by S.J. Parris
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I won this book in one of the first reads giveaways and was so excited. I hardly win anything. I like historical fiction but knew this one would be hard since it didn't involve any love story. It makes me sound shallow, I know, but who doesn't love a good love story as a plot or sub-plot?
I had trouble with the story from the beginning. I have read a lot about the Regency time period and the strict social etiquette that seems to disallow any offering of opinion except with intimate friends. I am unsure if this was also true in the 16th century, but regardless, I found it hard to believe the conversation between Bruno and Sir Philip at the beginning of the story. It caused me to question the whole book. I kept reading and found that even though I questioned the personal interactions between the characters, I enjoyed reading about the religious struggle that took place at that time in England/Europe.
It is hard for me to imagine the need to die for a book or for a religion even in our current political/religious situation. The book did a good job in convincing me of that necessity if one stayed true to one's own belief in what is right and wrong. The author also did a good job in showing the gray area when "they" turns into "us." By that I mean, when you fight to keep yourself and your beliefs alive from the threat of others only to find out you have then become the threat. This is the most complicated part of reality and of the book. The author only touches upon it, but perhaps that is because she has no answers. I do not either.
I gave the book only 3 stars because I probably would not have kept reading it except that I felt compelled to since it had been given to me. The characters did not hold my interest as much as I would like. I also think that much of the emphasis was on the murder mystery not on the historical accuracy of the book.. Perhaps, after becoming more familiar with this time period I will have to change my opinion. In that way the book did its job: I am interested in finding out more about 16th century Europe.
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