logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: kristopher-dukes
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-09-29 00:10
Great historical detail, and then it falls short
The Sworn Virgin: A Novel - Kristopher Dukes

So what I really liked the most about the book is the historical background and aspect. It’s rich in detail and sheds a light on the customs in Albania. I loved the descriptions of the setting, the clothing especially and how family life was at the time. Despite that Eleanora lived differently from others in the village, traditions are deep rooted, strong and followed to the exact detail. It’s all about maintaining family honor and if disgraced, the way to gain it back is likely with someone killing the other from the rival family that did you wrong. It’s pretty harsh and during that time doesn’t give much voice to women in general, but Eleanora’s personality is strong and admirable even though she’s pretty much a daddy’s girl (which helps her let her be who she wants to be).

 

The first half of the book was great and got the reading going pretty quickly. It wasn’t until the last third of the novel where things bog down and I was afraid of this: the moment the ‘man of the her dreams’ came into the story. Then I was instantly reminded as to why I hated “Memoirs of a Geisha” so much and this mirrors it. Holy mother. The guy was the sun, moon and stars for Eleanora. I kind of get it after what happened to her dad but for crying out loud I was rooting for Eleanora for taking the vow and being strong. All it takes is an Adonis to break that all down. Eleanora then takes a complete 360 and becomes a mooncalf.

 

I lost admiration after her treatment of Meria. I get it. Meria shouldn’t have done that nonsense because she’s all obsessed with family honor and had Eleanora’s best interest even though it was far from beneficial. I thought her treatment was excessive to the point of abuse and cruelty and I felt like jumping in and giving Eleanora the beat down for her stupidities.

 

Then Eleanora’s mood swings go from pity party to guilt and goes back and forth for what seemed like the entire last third of the novel and it got tiresome to read. You know Eleanora, you could have solved all this if you JUST. TELL. HIM.

 

And when she does. Your patience is done with the book and depending how you found the book you either breathe a sigh in relief or roll your eyes because it took about 50 pages to get Eleanora to smarten up and the book would have ended sooner than later.

 

I liked the book at first, but it just didn’t hold it for me. The pity trips, and the self torment Eleanora goes through is just too much and made up a good half of the novel. I wish it could have been better because the historical aspect was excellent.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-08-10 15:55
The Sworn Virgin
The Sworn Virgin: A Novel - Kristopher Dukes

During the early 20th century in Albania, the Law of Lekë ruled.  Women were under the strict authority of men and men could shoot each other for honor with no consequence.  However, if a woman wanted to swear to live as a virgin for the rest of her life, she could live with the freedoms of a man including the style of dress, carrying a gun, and killing another man for honor.  Eleanora has lived a privileged life for a young woman in a small mountain Village of Albania.  She has spent most of her life traveling with her father who works as  a healer.  This life has given Eleanora extended freedom, a different skill set than most other women and a passion and talent for art.  Eleanora's father, Francis believes he can secure a place for his daughter at an art school in Venice.  While traveling, Francis is recognized and killed in the street as an honor killing.  With no other choice, Eleanora makes the trip back to her village with her step-mother, Meria. Believing she is doing what's best, Meria arranges a marriage for Eleanora with Edi, a cruel man from a neighboring clan.  Rather than become a subservient wife, Eleanora declares herself a sworn virgin. When an injured stranger enters their life, Eleanora fears breaking her vow.

This is an amazing story that introduced me to a culture that I knew nothing about. The writing transported me to the mountainous villages of Albania. The rich culture, vibrant landscapes, houses, food and clothing came to life for me.  Eleanora's character was captivating, I loved her passion for art, her unwavering spirit and following her on her journey to find out how she can fit in. The gender roles and Eleanora's place within them was an intriguing journey that carried throughout the story.  I was very interested to see if she would thrive in her role as a man when she was a sworn virgin or enjoy her role as a traditional woman.  I was not surprised at the outcome.  The suspense created by the many different feuds and the effects they caused on the families was very direct and created a dangerous web that Eleanora fell into which led to a very different ending than I suspected.  Overall, a unique and vibrant tale about a woman's life in early 20th century Albania.  

This book was received for free in return for an honest review. 

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?