by Jessica Dall
Series: The Broken Line #2
Published on July 1, 2014 by 5 Prince Publishing
Genres: Adult, Historical Romance
With less than a decade of stable rule behind them, Lord Protector Richard Seymour has passed away leaving the country once again in turmoil. With her connection to the old regimes, seemingly on all sides thanks to her mother, Adela, Mary might find herself pulled into the heat of battle whether she wants it or not.
After reading The Copper Witch (book 1 of the Broken Line series), I was curious where Adela would go next. Instead, I found that The Porcelain Child (book 2) is the story of Adela’s daughter, Mary. While a tad disappointed with the change, I decided to go in with an open mind, expecting similar aspects from book one in the sequel. The Porcelain Childis Mary’s story of her entrance into a world of politics and schemes between the royalists and current parliament, with her acting as the figurehead queen of a rebellion. Manipulated on all sides, Mary doesn’t know what to do and is forced to go along with what the people want instead of what she wants. As the daughter of the (infamous) Adela Tilden, she’s accepted her role as a pawn, but don’t think that stops her from keeping a head on her shoulders.
Now I mainly read romances, and I’m not ashamed to admit that, but I wouldn’t classifyThe Porcelain Child as a romance by any means. There’s a little wooing by a certain Mr. Rich Webb, and the sweet affection from Lord Kedington (William), but mostly politics. Lots of politics. I can’t fault Dall’s writing as her scenes flowed seamlessly, as did the story, but I just couldn’t get into it. I finished Porcelain quickly (in a few hours, roughly) but I’m not excited to read the next book, nor do I care much for the characters or what happens to them next. I never became invested in them, which may be due to the fact that the point of view constantly shifted from one character to the next. While the story focused on a smaller group within the novel cast, there was so much going on that I never grew to love any of the characters. I felt dislike for Rich, liked Will, and could deal with Mary, but I took nothing away from the story upon finishing. No memories from getting caught up in the world. Nothing. Which is a shame, really.
Part of my neutral position on this book may also stem from the issues I had with the formatting. The version I received was hard to read and the sentences broken up at odd places, and almost every line at that. While it may only be my version, it made reading difficult and a challenge.
While the characters didn’t hit par with me, the plot was fast-paced and rich with intrigue. Mary never had a moment of piece. Thanks to her mother, who was off working on her own agenda across the sea, Mary ended up being the target of the parliament. The poor girl wanted nothing more than peace and quiet — as if that was possible for Adela’s daughter. If there’s one thing I did feel for the Porcelain protagonist, it was pity. Her mother essentially abandoned her to cause trouble elsewhere. That’s sad on its own. Then she’s taken this place and that because the country is splitting itself in two over how the government should be organized, and she’s right in the middle of it all. It’s a tough life. It’s one of the few things that kept me reading, to see if life got better for Lady Mary.
So don’t get me wrong, Porcelain was a decent read, but I didn’t feel the same reader “spark” as I did with The Copper Witch. I was interested to read, however, that Dall has written a novella to fall between these books telling the tale of Adela and Antony as they’re off in the world. As far as sequels go, I don’t think The Porcelain Child really carried the same energy from book one but it certainly did not fail the series. If you enjoyed The Copper Witch, check this book out and maybe it’ll surprise you.