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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Review: The Arrow Chest by Robert Parry

Publisher: Create Space
Genre: Historical fiction, romance
Paperback, 342 pages
My Rating: 87/100

About the book:

London, 1876. The painter Amos Roselli is in love with his life-long friend and model, the beautiful Daphne - and she with him - until one day she is discovered by another man, a powerful and wealthy industrialist. What will happen when Daphne realises she has sacrificed her happiness to a loveless marriage? What will happen when the artist realises he has lost his most cherished source of inspiration? And how will they negotiate the ever-increasing frequency of strange and bizarre events that seem to be driving them inexorably towards self-destruction. Here, amid the extravagant Neo-Gothic culture of Victorian England, the iconic poem ‘The Lady of Shalott’ blends with mysterious and ghostly glimpses of Tudor history. Romantic, atmospheric and deeply dark.

My Thoughts:

The Arrow Chest is the story of Anne Boleyn, Thomas Wyatt, and Henry VIII moved forward in time to occur during the Victorian era.  Gothic, dark, and romantic, it is the perfect setting for this tragic tale.
Daphne (Anne) is the distressed heroine who is swept off her feet by a wealthy and charismatic Oliver (Henry VIII).  Roselli (Wyatt) is the artist and childhood friend of Daphne, who realizes too late that he is in love with his former playmate and muse Daphne.

This trio is doomed to repeat the events that occurred over 300 years ago.  Daphne has trouble bearing an heir to Oliver.  Daphne and Roselli are a little too familiar for Oliver's comfort.  Daphne is not permitted much freedom, and Oliver becomes increasingly paranoid and mean towards her.  Throughout this story a supernatural being who bears an uncanny resemblance to Anne, only enhances the story line of the past being repeated in these characters. 

Parry's writing is very descriptive with both his characters and the setting.  I felt the gloom and damp of the Tower.  The hairs on my neck would rise occasionally.  I despised Oliver, that large odious man.  However, as much as these descriptions built the story, after a while, they become a bit too much for me.  There were also parts of the story that slowed a bit, particularly in the middle.  It could however, be that I am so familiar with Anne's story, that I know what is going to happen before it does.  Either way, I like the way he took Anne's story and put it into a Victorian context.  I don't want to give anything away, but between the supernatural elements and the way Anne fell from grace was marvelous.  This was the perfect setting for this story and Parry did a wonderful job with it.

For more information about Robert Parry, please visit his website.

Here is a trailer for the book:

Thanks to Teddy from Premiere Virtual Author Tours for including me on this tour.

2011 Challenges Met: HF