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Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley

Night scene in dark blue, showing a tree reflected in a mirror pond with stars and gold swirls to evoke the feeling of magic.Why I read it:  I will read anything Susanna Kearsley writes.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  “The house, when I first saw it, seemed intent on guarding what it knew; but we all learned, by the end of it, that secrets aren’t such easy things to keep.”

It’s late summer, war is raging, and families are torn apart by divided loyalties and deadly secrets. In this complex and dangerous time, a young French Canadian lieutenant is captured and billeted with a Long Island family, an unwilling and unwelcome guest. As he begins to pitch in with the never-ending household tasks and farm chores, Jean-Philippe de Sabran finds himself drawn to the daughter of the house. Slowly, Lydia Wilde comes to lean on Jean-Philippe, true soldier and gentleman, until their lives become inextricably intertwined. Legend has it that the forbidden love between Jean-Philippe and Lydia ended tragically, but centuries later, the clues they left behind slowly unveil the true story.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  I adore Susanna Kearsley and love her books. I usually get kind of torn about a new SK book; I want to save it and savor it and I want to read it immediately and both of those things don’t really sit comfortably together. In the case of Bellewether, I was having one of those weeks where I didn’t have a lot of time to read so that forced me to read more slowly than I usually would have otherwise, which meant I was able to savor the language and let the words and the story sink into my bones.

The thing which got up my nose in a big way about the latest Outlander book

MOBY printThe following might be considered spoilerish, so be ye warned.  Personally, I don’t think it is all that spoilerish because even though it comes late in the book, it’s not really connected to the main storyline – something that makes me even more annoyed because it just didn’t really need to be there at all and it could have been changed in one very small (but significant) way and it would have been okay.

On with the rant.

First off, I’m an Outlander fan. I love the series.  It’s not perfect, but overall, I find the Outlander vortex sucks me in every time.  I gave the last book, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood, a B+.  I liked it very very much.

But.

There was one thing which bothered me when I was consuming the book.  Claire operates on a very young slave girl (she’s around 13) with a gynaecological injury.  The girl, Sophronia, was non-violently repeatedly raped (she’s so young and also a slave, it cannot be called seduction as consent here was so far absent it may have been on the moon) by her owner.  She became pregnant. There was a problem during a long labour and the baby died.  Sophronia was left with two fistulae – so both urine and fecal matter was escaping her body via her vagina  (this is still an issue today, especially in poor communities where very young girls give birth without appropriate medical care, but that’s another story).

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