Note: I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I requested The Queen’s Exiles by Barbara Kyle because it seemed like it was a historical fiction about a strong woman and I like historical fiction, especially stories set before, during and after the reign of Henry VIII because I’m really intrigued by the crazy wife murdering queen for some reason. And yes with the whole title being about the “queen’s exiles” I had a feeling she wouldn’t be much of a character and her citizen’s would be but Elizabeth was nothing but a deus ex machina, using her queenly powers to bring about a happy ending. So that was a big letdown among many other confusing and annoying plot points and writing techniques.
I sincerely hope that a lot of the technical issues have been solved in the published copies because my ARC was all over the place. First of all, I’m okay with books that switch perspectives between different characters but this one gave no indication when that switch would happen and it happened in such random places that it got soo annoying. Paragraphs would go on for pages and pages. Page long flashbacks would happen in the middle of a section without any clue that they were flashbacks. Whole paragraphs would be repeated less than 10% of the book after they were first mentioned.
And the content itself was not as interesting as I would have liked. There were so many passages about the specifics of maintaining a ship which I understand was important because the main characters were into ship repair and sailing but honestly I think the first 3% of the book was all about the rigging, masts, etc. As someone who has been on a boat but never messed around with that part of it it got so boring so fast. And this happened again and again throughout the book.
Now onto the romance. I had not read the rest of the books by Barbara Kyle so perhaps I was missing something but I thought the romance between the two main characters was unbelievable. It felt as though Fenella and Adam only admired each other because they kept saving each other’s lives, like it was an obligation to feel attracted to each other and not much more. And so when the Queen came in with all her deus ex machina-ness at the end I really didn’t care. I didn’t really care about any of the characters actually.
So all in all I this book was not for me.