I just don’t think that I get Ms. Milan. I previously tried The Duchess War and filed it as abandoned–I recall being on the subway platform and starting it, and just feeling sort of removed from the characters and not particularly invested.
I felt similarly for most of this novel, sort of uninvested in the tensions and drama faced by both Chloe and Jeremy. I appreciated that in the author’s note a lot of the history of Wedgeford was described and pinned back to actual events, but as the old adage goes, truth is stranger than fiction. Despite the fact that the Wedgeford Trials are based on a similar type of village-wide annual game day (or days) that actually existed, the forthcoming Trials felt simultaneously entirely bizarre and somehow both downplayed and overplayed in the day to day tribulations of our main characters.
Chloe’s entire personality seemed to be Makes Lists. Her entire relationship with Jeremy is 5-10 days a year, nine years running. That’s not the foundation for a lifelong romance, it’s a casual acquaintance whose spouse’s name you have to stress about remembering and whose kids’ ages you constantly mix up. Plot pacing was similarly discongruous. Chloe makes lists all year but has put off on deciding on a name and labeling hundreds of jars of sauce until the day before the big event?? What??? I was having nervous anxiety that things wouldn’t get done on time, and I my career is late night last minute fire drill doer.
(Crossposted to Goodreads)