#Review: THE RED RIBBON by Rachel Ledge
2 Stars for lack of enjoyment due to frustration
This book won a Grand Prize in the Clue Awards so I was excited to see what it had to offer. The plot sounded engaging – set in 1773, a young woman (Julia) from a privileged background struggles to return to a normal existence after the murder of her best friend. To complicate matters, Julia’s fiancé has been found guilty of the murder and awaits execution while Julia still harbours feelings for him despite the fact she has married his best friend. Another problem she faces is a headstrong younger sister who is intent on ignoring the advice of her elders.
The opening was very confusing. Initially it was difficult to establish which character was which when it came to the two sisters. Nor were matters helped by the constant shift between modern and archaic language. Even before I was 9% into the reading several proof reading and editing issues had already reared their heads: shifts in tense, misspellings, words used in the wrong context, missing articles, poor punctuation. I was beginning to despair. Then there were clumsy unedited sentences such as: “Only the body collectors, sent by surgeons who wanted the bodies for dissections, waited like vultures for the bodies to be cut down.”
I’m afraid that for me things did not improve. The constant need to describe 18th century costume made me feel I was reading a dressmaker's historical account of the period rather than a period drama. There are certainly sections which warrant the description of dress to explain a character’s fall in status but this only occurred once.
At one point I could not bear this list of problems any longer. I shut my Kindle on it for 3 days. I did however persevere. There was no reward for my stalwart behaviour. The book concluded much as I expected and I was very glad it was over.
This book was very much a case of NOT what it says on the tin. I read for pleasure. In this case I was completely robbed of it. I sincerely hope this writer’s future offerings are better edited with more attention to detail.
Is there anything in particular which spoils the enjoyment of a book for you?