Betrayal by Michele Kallio

Amazon Synopsis: Lydia Hamilton was a modern woman, happily in love and living in Canada … until the nightmares. Following the death of her father, Lydia begins dreaming of places and people she doesn’t know. When she closes her eyes, she sees a bloodied, severed head. The images are confusing and unclear, but she knows one thing for sure: something bad happened a long time ago. And why only now have the dreams begun?
Events propel Lydia to Devon, England, to the home of the mother she never knew, where the lies of her family’s past begin to reveal themselves dating back to the sixteenth century and a woman called Elisabeth Beeton, a servant at the Court of King Henry VIII. Caught amid forces she can neither control nor understand Elisabeth’s life was in danger.

How is Lydia’s modern life related to the life of this tragic woman from the past? Without the guidance of her father, it’s hard to say, but Lydia is dedicated to solving the mystery in an effort to put an end to her night terrors and save her relationship with the man she loves. But will the truth set her free, or will the realization of her family’s past actions haunt her like the ghost of a woman betrayed?

** Disclaimer: The author sent me a request to review this book but that does not have any influence on my opinions shared and rating given**

So I am awful. The request to read this came through months ago but I never got round to it until now. Let's blame school and my kindle.  I am so sorry to the author (apologies Michele) for taking so long to finish it. Once I started to read it properly though I could rarely put it down without getting through a solid chunk. This book when it was sent to me seemed to be perfect for me. I love historical fiction, Anne Boleyn and alternating narratives. This had all three.

Betrayal first attracted me because it sounded similar to Time's Echo by Pamela Hartshorne (check it out, it rules). It follows a woman, Lydia, who is haunted by dreams of someone from 500 years in the past with no way of knowing why. The way this was put together was fascinating. It is rare to see a book fuse history, psychology and humanity so well. The character Lydia goes through some turmoils and thinks she is going crazy and as a reader you follow this, even questioning her sanity sometimes yourself. That is what I loved about this book. It made you feel frustrated, happy, sad or downright confused alongside Lydia and the other characters.

The book is obviously well researched. Kallio knows her stuff when it comes to this periods. She uses the tiniest bits of evidence and gets the creative juices flowing until she has created a world around them. Unfortunately though I had just submitted two dissertations on this period (witches and Anne Boleyn simultaniously) so I read this with my school head still attached and an unwanted fine tooth comb over my head, nitpicking details. Kallio's writing style meant I was quick to get over the majority of my historian moments though and her story telling skills meant I soon became more involved with the character's than my studies.

Language was something I found really interesting in this book. During the narrative in the 1500's there are no signs of a Shakespeare wannabe but still not modern enough to make it unbelievable, I loved the way it was written in the past. What bugged me was not the olden settings but the modern day ones. It seemed really mechanical in the way they interacted with each other despite the characters being friends/family and at times it was kind of like the characters had swallowed a dictionary. I hope in the sequel it lightens up a bit.

There were also problems with the slang words as well. As a native of England with family in the USA I find nothing more annoying than the "oh you mean..." Since the main character hailed from Canada there was a bit too much of it. It is set in the south though so I am not totally educated there since I live in the North and England has a stupid amount of accents.

I do wish I had read this before I did all my coursework research but that didn't stop me from enjoying this book. It had a really interesting narrative and perspective as an outside view of Anne Boleyn's life. It is unlike any other historical novel I have read and I am thoroughly excited for the sequel to come out. I will devour it for sure!


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