I must say, as soon as you requested a review, I was extremely excited to begin reading your story! The cover is lovely and it very accurately represents the story's time and location. By looking at the cover, I instantly assumed that the story would take place in the 14th or 15th century. The title also offers the same effect, and the reader knows what to expect from the story. They both fit the book very well!
I thought this story was particularly unique because of the setting. During the time that the story takes place, people were extremely religious and LGBT people were considered sinners. I find it very interesting to read through the life of a princess who is interested in her closest female friend, and the issues that she and her friends and family face.
The explanations in the book are fairly clear, but I think the setting could be described a bit further. For example, I couldn't clearly imagine Persephonie's castle or Megan's home. I understood how Persephonie was a royal, so I was able to develop a picture of the castle in my mind, but it wasn't a very defined image. I had the same problem when trying to picture Megan's home.
The only overused words that I noticed were "mousy-brown hair." This is used to describe Megan's hair, which gives the audience a clear description of her looks in the beginning. However, the words "mousy-brown hair" continue to be used throughout the story. After the first couple of times, the description begins to seem overused and it loses its meaning.
Your vocabulary is spectacular and your writing contains very few grammar errors. The only grammar mistake that I noticed was:
Chapter 1: "And it's cruel to." The word "to" does not fit with this sentence, and it should be changed to "too," as in "And it's cruel as well."
The story moved at a consistent pace that remained quite enticing. There was constant suspense and heartbreak, which kept me interested in the story. The only parts that I found to be a bit unrealistic were:
- When Persephonie and Megan personally experienced friends and family members dying from the Bubonic plague. It is understandable how William passed away shortly after Megan came to see him, but it is less realistic when Louis died almost immediately after Persephonie visited him. I think that section could have been a bit more drawn-out. Perhaps Louis could have passed away overnight rather than soon after Persephonie came to his room.
-The dialogue; it did not fit the time and location of the story. I would expect Persephonie to speak more formally and act more respectfully towards her parents and royal friends, as it is assumed by the audience that she was raised to behave in this way. On the other hand, it is expected that Megan would speak with more slang, as she is much less privileged than Persephonie and she probably never learned proper English grammar. I think this would make the story a bit more realistic than having the characters speak similarly to how we communicate today.
Although you mentioned that the timeline of the story does not entirely follow the real historical timeline, I found one thing in particular that seemed off. The Bubonic Plague lasted roughly five years at the most, and the second chapter takes place 5 years after the first. If the plague began during the first chapter, then it should have nearly died out by the time that the second chapter took place. If the plague began around the time that the second chapter took place (and not the first), then I think that this should be clarified somewhere early in the story, as this was something that confused me a bit.
The characters in the story are each very unique and likable in different ways. For example, Persephonie is a royal, and she is expected to be spoiled and snobby. However, the audience quickly learns that she is quite selfless and she is very kind towards Megan. It is also interesting to read about Megan's life and how her lifestyle is so different from Persephonie's, yet they still come together and become extremely close.
I truly enjoyed this story as a whole! I love reading historical fiction books and watching the same type of television shows, and this is another one to add to my favorites! It is clear that you have done your research on the timeline during which the story takes place, and that already makes the story quite realistic. I am looking forward to continuing the story and learning about how Persephonie's and Megan's lives come together!
Any fans of the television shows "Reign," "Medici" and "Game of Thrones" may take interest in this story!
*Analysis is based on the first 10 chapters