Two Minute Review: A Drop of Ink by Megan Chance

Thursday, December 15, 2016
Title: A Drop of Ink
Author: Megan Chance
Genre: historical fiction
Series: N/A
Pages: 420
Published: expected January 3 2017
Source: publishers via NetGalley
Rating: 1.5/5

Penniless and disgraced, Adelaide Wentworth is feeling rather desperate. With nothing left to lose, she and her sister, Louisa, flee to Lake Geneva with Adelaide’s lover, the infamous poet Julian Estes. There, Louisa hopes to persuade Bayard Sonnier—celebrated writer and her former lover—to advance Julian’s career. He is their last hope for salvation.

At the Villa Diodati—the place that inspired the writing of Frankenstein sixty years earlier—Louisa plots to rekindle her affair with Bayard, while Adelaide hopes to restore her fading love for Julian by being the muse he needs.

But soon, secrets are revealed, passions ignited, and hidden talents discovered. Adelaide begins to imagine a different life. Confused, she turns to Giovanni Calina—Bayard’s assistant and a man with his own secrets and deep resentments—and the two form a dangerous alliance. No one leaves unscathed in this richly imagined, emotionally nuanced tale of passion, ambition, inspiration, and redemption.

I've read Megan Chance's writing before, so I was unprepared for how little I would care for her latest historical fiction offering, the forthcoming A Drop of Ink. Whereas I found the novel Inamorata to be a finely-tuned. deftly characterized, and well-wrought bit of fiction when I read and reviewed it back in 2014, this slow foray into the literary and love lives of these characters was a dull and plodding affair (in all sense of the word.)

The plot here is centered on a very blah group of individuals, who also share and rotate the narration of the story. A Drop of Ink has a few good ideas in its premise but the execution of those ideas feels rote, overextended and underdeveloped. The framing of the narrative is nothing new, and it isn't helped by the fact that the characters are remote, distant, and hard to care about. From Giovanni to Loulou to Adelaide, they are all indistinct and not particularly memorable.

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