Britain, 605 AD.
When his homeland is defeated by a predatory neighbouring kingdom, Eadwine finds himself on the run for his life.
Homeless, penniless and friendless, literally with a price on his head, he must evade his enemies, avenge his brother’s murder and rescue his betrothed. Along the way, he will lose his heart to another woman and discover a shattering secret that challenges all the ideals he holds dear.
That’s the blurb from Carla’s website on her newest novel. A while back I read Ingeld’s Daughter, and really enjoyed it, so I was looking forward to reading this one.
I would definitely recommend Paths of Exile to readers of historical fiction. Carla does a superb job as usual of bring the reader into the past. The premise of the story is quite interesting, there were some parts that had me chuckling, and there were a couple of plot twists that took me by surprise.
However, I personally didn’t enjoy it as much as Ingeld’s Daughter, mainly because I’m a romantic/escapist when it comes to my historical fiction. In fact, I’ve come to the conclusion I don’t like straight-up historical fiction. I like historical romance. I don’t like stories that don’t end happily ever after, which, when you’re sticking to actual historical facts, usually doesn’t happen. (I’ll be reviewing another historical novel next month, to which I’ll have the same complaint).
Another thing that bothered me was the use of modern jargon/slang. I believe Carla was writing the modern equivalents of how certain characters would have spoken in the past, but it more often than not jarred me out of the story. The use of words like “cherry”(for female anatomy), “nobs”, “Pa”, “wink, nudge.” felt out of place (out of time?). And the phonetically written accents were extremely hard to follow (I don’t do phonics well at all).
Finally, I was rather ticked about how my favorite character ended up. I suppose it was the likely outcome of the time period, but still… It’s that whole HEA mentality I have. If the historical characters can’t have a happily ever after, at least let the fictional characters live out their lives in peace.