Disappointing. Once again we have the anachronistic feminist: few women in 1920 would reject a solid marriage to a man they love; in 1171 it was not possible. I do not know the historical accuracy of female doctors in Salerno, but would hope that Franklin did her research and am gonna assume that at least that much is true. However, at the end of the book Adelia is certainly enamored with Cambridge. She has transformed from the singular student in the Ivory Tower of Salerno to a doctor of the masses (albeit one that is held captive by Henry II) yet she still won't marry the guy that she loves? Come on...it doesn't seem believable.
Besides all that, the story itself was sooo repetitive. I think Franklin reminded us at least 10 times in the first 70 pages that Adelia was a very plain woman and a doctor and that it was remarkable that she was a doctor and that the church (and English law) didn't believe in her capabilities to be a doctor and that if anyone found out that she was a doctor she would be in trouble. I mean really, I read sentences with the same 3 ideas in it at least 10 times. I'm not sure if Franklin was writing down to the masses or what, but it was ridiculous. She's the main character..I REMEMBER HER SALIENT CHARACTERISTICS!
Going along with this repetition, unfortunately was not a whole lot of plot development. I like character pieces and I can read dense stuff...this novel was neither. It was supposed to be a thriller, a detective story (which I also like if done correctly), but instead it just dragged on and nothing really happened for the first 140ish pages. Typically I read 100-150 pages a day, I should have finished this book in 36-48 hours but instead it took me 4 DAYS! There was absolutely nothing compelling me to pick it up and once reading it I found myself frequently distracted. Sometimes by nothing more interesting than an ant crawling across the table on my deck.
Overall this book was just blecch. Nothing redeeming and nothing interesting and just overall too full of itself.