I've recently read two books in Portuguese which were offered to my on my birthday. I had never herd about either but they ended up being interesting and compelling to read, despite their obvious issues (to me) regarding plot and execution.
1) Cristina Norton's book can be loosely translated into " The Book Guardian" (there is no english
translation, though) and is the tale of how, during the Napoleonic invasions in Portugal in the beginning of the 1800s, the Royal Court went to Brazil - at the time one of our colonies - to escape the french generals and with them, they took many servants, officials and also the books of the royal library. At the time, the responsible for them was a man called Luis Marrocos, and this book follows his adaptation and adventures in living in a completely different society which was the Brazil of the 19th century.
I liked the fluidity of this book, meaning it was very easy to keep turning the pages. It was also very interesting to read about a part of my country's history, especially since the author used real life characters and historical situations/customs and that made it even more special.
However, the blurb promises secrets, hidden love relationships, the protection of books... things that are obviously used to persuade readers but I've come to realize, these things are used/mentioned rather superficially. The story is a fictional tale that uses real life events and it's mostly historical fiction, not as much historical romance. I felt the blurb mislead me...but the book is easy to read, even if not what I assumed I'd get.
2) Sam Christer is a pseudonym of Michael Morley, a British author. He wrote a mystery/thriller about Stonehenge, a place that obviously still makes people wonder about it and why it exists, what
was it for originally and that makes it a good starting point for a mystery romance.
In this tale we have a fictional story about a group of people who are a sort of organization that consider themselves the rightful descendants of the Stonehenge legacy, which in this story is basically a set of magical stones that correctly used/worshiped, confer special powers, namely of healing, to those who believe. The mystery and problem is that to gain that they must offer human sacrifices...
Again, a book with a lot of potential, strong elements to start with and short chapters which give the impression of things moving a long very quickly. I liked the overall effect of the story, especially the police investigations to discover the truth behind disappearances and deaths, which is more or less what one would expect from thus type of book.
My biggest issue is that the plot isn't very consistent, the characters are clever but their motivations aren't well explained besides the obvious and there are too many secrets which makes things very unlikely to be believable. I don't think the author really thought about the way the plot is executed and he included to many clichés and "traps", so the story feels chopped and superficial. Besides, the end is so ruched, it almost offers no closure but since it's a story one can easily read and turn the pages, I had the same feeling about it as I did with the one I talk about above.