Going through all the books I have read over the last 6 months and I realise that a significant proportion of them have been written by Fiona McIntosh. OK, I am a fan of her writing, always get a huge amount of enjoyment reading her stories. I am a little bit astonished at just how many of her books I have read recently…so what have I read…
The Lavender Keeper
The first book that I will give a very short review of is The Lavender Keeper. Her second fiction, non-fantasy, non-crime book after Fields of Gold.
This tale centers around a young man and a young woman’s very different lives and how they intersect with each other during the Second World War in France. It is a rollicking tale and as usual Fiona McIntosh is not sentimental about her characters, which I think always gives her stories a bit of a gritty edge that sets them apart.
I felt that I learnt a little about lavender farming and about the French Resistance and what a difficult task they had in maintaining their covert operations. I also liked the way in which Fiona stripped back the boundaries of country and race – many of the characters had overlapping allegiances to different countries by birth or heritage.
If you enjoy a good historical non-fiction, action, thriller, romance then I would recommend this book. I could not put it down.
This is the last of Fiona’s trilogies that I had to read. I had purchased it and was holding off reading it as I knew once it was read, I would have a long wait for another McIntosh fantasy to read. But, I could hold out no longer and needed to immerse myself in a world of magic and suspended belief.
I was not disappointed with the Valisar Trilogy the story is quite different to Percheron or Quickening Trilogies – I think it was more sentimental in some ways. There was more redemption in the characters than what I had seen in her other books. Again the characters developed were rich and each with their own complex background story; you can feel very engaged with a character through Fiona McIntosh’s writing.
The standout for me was how the real hero of this story is elusive until the final book when much is revealed. I know Fiona says that she has no firm plot that she writes to, that she follows the character and how it evolves. This must be key to how her stories twist and turn in the most unlikely and interesting ways. She herself isn’t completely sure what a character might do, say or become. Although I suspect she has a formidable subconscious and organised mind.
I read this trilogy before Valisar and enjoyed it very much. I’ve read a few reviews on Goodreads that detested the book for style of writing and plot, but I’ve got to say that none of that occurred to me when reading it. I find that when I start a Fiona McIntosh trilogy, I cannot put it down. Many of Fiona’s stories have similar plot foundations of random people coming together for a pre-destined purpose. I get that and I am perfectly happy to enjoy this type of standardisation. Particularly when you consider that Fiona McIntosh was a relatively new writer and with each series I think improving on her work.
I did enjoy the way in which again key characters were happily dispensed with, but I did get a bit frustrated with the evil characters seemed to have unlimited capacity for survival.
Trinity is the first fantasy trilogy that Fiona McIntosh wrote and I think that she had exponentially improved on her craft by the time she wrote Odalisque of the Percheron Trilogy, my favourite to date, closely followed by the Quickening Series. Whilst not her absolute best it is still Fiona McIntosh through and through and provides many hours of entertainment.