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Watermark: A Novel of the Middle Ages

Watermark: A Novel of the Middle Ages - Vanitha Sankaran I really enjoy medieval historical fiction, but this book was a big disappointment to me. First, for the positive: I enjoyed the setting and time period details. The author obviously did her research. As most medieval books seem to be placed in England, I enjoyed the French setting. I think the idea behind the story was a great one and who knew that the story behind paper was so interesting?

Now for the negatives. First, I found the story to be just plain dull. It took me a week to read which is never a good sign. The story just didn’t flow. I felt no connection to the main character, Auda. Even though the entire story is told from Auda’s perspective and we get very detailed accounts of her thoughts and feelings, some of her actions were just baffling to me and felt totally out of character. Also, there was the dreaded historical fiction cliché of the modern free-thinking feminist with none of the commonly held prejudices of the time period, although to be fair some of this was explained by the plot device of Auda being an albino/mute/poet/scribe/radical. It must be very difficult to write a believable heroine who is likable and relatable to modern audiences while remaining a true representation of her time, so I won't fault the author too much for that. The love interest read like a cardboard cutout from a romance novel, and that entire plot line seemed rushed and a bit unbelievable to me. The ending felt very rushed as well.

Overall, not one I will re-read or recommend.