Before I dig deep into the emotions I felt towards the end of this book (and I have a LOT of emotions), let me give you a quick summary. Mind you, it’s written by the highly-acclaimed (and one of my favourite historical fiction authors) Philippa Gregory so I was a tad bit biased in my expectations.
First Impression: The cover is pretty. It’s purplish and showcases two people, a girl and a boy, and is sort of plain, but gives you a good sense of the setting and time period. The fact that Isolde is standing in the foreground and holding the torch makes it seem as if she is the main character, which is what I had assumed until reading the book. Luca, who stands behind her, is whom the story generally follows so that was a bit misleading. Overall though, it looked intriguing and full of delicious medieval secrets.
Summary: It’s 1453 in Italy, a medieval and religious period in history. Luca Vero is a bright, seventeen-year old boy who you’re introduced to at the beginning of the novel. He’s said to be handsome and exceptionally gifted – so much so that the village he was born in accused him of being a “changeling”…someone who has been touched by magic and witchcraft. Moreover, he’s cast out to prison by the religious order he was in because he attempted to use new science (math etc.) to understand superstitious beliefs. However, Luca is taken in by a secret religious sect, the Order of the Dragon, which aims to use his gifts to investigate and wipe out the evils in Europe. So, Luca travels around the country with his companions, on assignments commissioned to him by the Pope.
So, let me just start by saying that I’m a HUGE fan of Sophie Kinsella. Who wouldn’t be? I love her candid writing style and the way you absolutely fall in love with the characters. I feel like in some dimension, Becky Bloomwood (her heroine from the Shopaholic series) and I are besties. And after reading I’ve Got Your Number, Kinsella’s got me feeling the same way about Poppy.
What’s it about? The story revolves around a charming, yet somewhat self-conscious girl named Poppy Wyatt. Although self-accomplished as a physiotherapist (and in love with what she does), Poppy tends to feel rather unworthy in regards to her well-known, university professor fiancé Magnus (this name does two things to me – make me cringe and think of a pompous, big-bellied man with a curled mustache and monocle, or it makes me crave Magnum ice cream..hmm). Magnus is what you would call “love on paper”. He’s got all the credentials, the air of a sophisticated gentleman, wealth, and family. Poppy is totally in love with the idea of him – how could you not love being engaged to someone so perfect? But of course, in pure Kinsella fashion, a whirlwind twist knocks on Poppy’s door. Everything dear to her in this picture-perfect life is suddenly put in grave danger when she (accidentally) loses her engagement ring at a pre-wedding event! Horrible, right? It gets worse. She also loses her cellphone! Imagine losing something extremely precious to you (like if one of the girls in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants lost the pants or if Hermione in Harry Potter lost the Time-Turner) and then losing the one thing that could be traced back to you with helpful information. Nothing seems to be going right for Poor Poppy.