Leonora: Tulips in Winter
In 1788, a feisty English damsel named Leonora encounters two Russian noblemen in France, and then in the Duchy of Nassau. One of the dashing Russians, Alexej, attracts her, but he has won her family home from her father in a game of chance. To sort out this conflict, the characters travel to England. They later move on to Russia, where they become entangled in the intrigues of Empress Catherine’s court.
It might sound riveting, but it is not. The romance between Leonora and Alexej waffles irritatingly. They argue for no apparent reason. All the characters come across as present-day people, which is exacerbated by the fact that the historical events that were shaking Europe at this time are barely mentioned. They also act like robots. For example, when Leonora witnesses a man having his head smashed in, all she can say is, “Good Lord.” At least one particular aspect of the story remains unresolved. And the writing is clumsy, strewn with adjectives. Unfortunately, I can find nothing good to say about this novel.