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The Prophetess Paperback – April 22, 2014
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Long version: This story could have been interesting if the characters had been fleshed out -- there was so much potential but it was all neglected. What a waste! Here are some of the questions I found myself asking as I read:
What was Drusilla's relationship with her family like? Was she close to her mother? Did she hate or despise her father for placing her in this predicament, or did she know enough of his business to realize that it hadn't been his fault? Her brother had read to her -- was she capable of reading herself? What was her level of education? Did she maybe wish she'd been born a boy so she could have directed her own future more? What sort of future had she dreamed of before this happened? How had she spent her days? Who were her friends? Had maybe some of them been forced into slavery or prostitution? Did they gossip about those girls after they left? How much did she know about the world's ways and how? What was the purpose of her being Greek and not Roman? Why was she chosen instead of one of her older or younger sisters? Did she resent her older sister for getting married and having the life she had been denied?
If the author were trying to "show, don't tell" and was using Drusilla's obvious concern for Beatrice to show her humanity, at least that was an attempt. But there was no explanation given as to how or why Drusilla would care about her at all -- not even much dialogue to clue the readers in as to their relationship. The older servant woman was described in slightly more detail, but it was hard to tell what Drusilla felt for her (or any of the other servants) despite the ENTIRE STORY being told from Drusilla's perspective. It was as though she were a robot -- a pawn -- used to tell the story, much like she was used by her master to tell fortunes and make his. There was no internal monologue about her beliefs on the gods and demons, either, until the very end; this should have been developed throughout the entire story so that the reader could have followed her on her spiritual journey, yet this also was sadly lacking and uninspiring. I nearly gave up reading when she and the other servant girl had extensive lines of dialogue when supposedly they "could not talk for the dust filling their noses and mouths," but I was so close to the end that I gritted it out to its insipid denouement.
As happens too often, this book left me wondering -- as C.S. Lewis did -- why "good works" is so rarely "good work." Will not be tempted to read any more by this author.