This was okay. Not a bad way to spend an hour, but I think I wanted a different story than it ended up giving me. I just never connected with the characters after I realized it was going to be a different story than I thought it would be after reading the first three pages.
Here’s how it starts. Violet is a wallflower at a ball on Christmas Eve, when in comes a seriously injured man fresh from being shipwrecked or something. He’s speaking some archaic form of French (we learn later it’s Breton), and only Violet, a bit of a language prodigy, can understand him even a little. Why has he chosen Violet’s lap to fall into, and Violet’s hand to cling to? Who is he? Why does Violet feel inexplicably drawn to him?
The answers to these questions turn out to be pretty boring.
Here’s what I wanted: the stranger and Violet to get to know one another despite a language barrier, Violet to comfort him, something conflicty happens I don’t know what, then they fall in love and go smoochies. Obviously I would have wanted it more detailed and nuanced than that, but give me a break, this is my inner narrative monster talking here. It’s not great at articulating things.
Here’s what happened: it turns out Violet is drawn to him because she knows him. He just so happens to be her old next door neighbor who she surrendered her virginity to the year before. The very same man she fled to Spindle Cove to escape, and who is now a spy living in France and pretending to be a Farmer who only speaks Breton, because Napoleon. I don’t know. He pretends not to know her for a while, she thinks it might be him except for a badly broken nose. They make up and smooch and go smoochies (and more) after a proposal. He escapes back to France. Yawn.
My way would have been so much more interesting. Also, it probably would have had to be a full length novel, and I will grant that this story is one that could be told in novella form because it was so simple.
Anyway, it was okay.