Book Review: The Falconer’s Knot by Mary Hoffman

29 Jan

When the husband of Silvano’s object of affection turns up dead in the streets of Perugia with Silvano’s dagger in his ribs and Silvano hovering over him, it doesn’t look good. But Silvano insists he didn’t kill Tommaso, despite the love he had for his wife, Angelica. He is forced to seek sanctuary in a friary. There he meets Chiara, forced into a convent because of her lack of dowry. Soon, more bodies start turning up–that of Ubaldo, a wealthy merchant who married Monna Isabella, who was in love with Domenico, who is now Brother Anselmo, who is accused of killing Ubaldo, whose brother Umberto wants revenge…

This book is a tangled web of love stories with a dash of mystery and a healthy amount of history and religion thrown in.

Had a rough time keeping up with all the characters in the synopsis? You get used to it, but I had serious misgivings about the book when I first started. Each character gets a few paragraphs, or if they’re lucky, a few pages per chapter. At the beginning, it makes it very hard to keep up with everyone, as you keep getting jolted out of one storyline and into the next. While I did get used to it, I still wish that it had been written with each character getting their own chapter. I find it much easier to keep track of them that way.

In my opinion, the main plotline was that of Silvano and Chiara, who were both in Giardinetto at the time of the various murders. Angelica and Gervasio (Silvano’s friend), and Monna Isabella and Brother Anselmo were side-plots. All the characters’ stories intertwined at the end which is why it became slightly less confusing. My advice: power through, and don’t give up at the beginning if the constant switches in character perspective start irking you.

This was, first and foremost, a love story–almost Shakespearean, in a way (I mean his comedies, not Romeo and Juliet!). It was the kind of love story that was fun to read and isn’t to be read for the seriousness of it all, or the mystery of who ends up with whom (it’s pretty obvious once all the characters are introduced). But it was fun and light and the perfect way to spend a day without any electricity (really sets up the atmosphere for a medieval friary!).

As a mystery, it wasn’t too tough to decipher either–I knew who the perpetrator in Perugia was as soon as they mentioned it was Silvano’s blade. I admit to having been stumped by the Giardinetto murders for some time, and had the wrong person in mind most of the time, though I did figure it out before Silvano did. So again, if you’re looking for a hardcore, impossible to solve, wowed by the author’s brilliance at the end mystery, this isn’t it–but if you want something fun and enjoyable, I recommend this.

I will say that the characters were fun to follow. Each one had his or her own personality, and while I hated Angelica, I adored Chiara and even grew to like Silvano, despite thinking him a bit dim at the start. The characters all managed to grow and change (well, maybe not Angelica…) and, of course, end up with the loves of their lives–which you can’t help but root for from the start.

I also enjoyed the history, which wasn’t heavy-handed but appeared to be well-researched, with a handy guide for the religious services in the back for those of us who are unfamiliar.

To anyone who likes historical romance and is between books, looking for something to read, I would recommend this one.

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One Response to “Book Review: The Falconer’s Knot by Mary Hoffman”

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  1. 2013: A Year of Reading in Review | More Than One Page - December 26, 2013

    […] The Falconer’s Knot by Mary Hoffman […]

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