Wednesday 9 January 2019

Book Review: The Draughtsman Damsel by Emily Klein

Last Updated: 6 September 2021

The Draughtsman Damsel by Emily Klein book cover

AD* | At the age of ten, following her father's political decision, Annabelle is torn from her childhood home at the Duke's court at Calais and from her best friend, the Duke's youngest son, Thomas. She comes to the English court and tries her best to avoid all courtly, ladylike occupations, and to follow scholarly pursuits, usually reserved for boys. 

Her father, Lord Latimer's connection with the Duke diminishes and he decides to match her for marriage elsewhere. After an unsuccessful courtship event, a letter arrives from the Duke asking Latimer, who is an Architect, to return to Calais and aide the Duke in constructing a grand chivalric monument; Annabelle who is by then found out to be competent at planning and sketching joins her father to be further educated there. 

Latimer's Mason falls under the Duke's influence and cannot assist in building the castle. Latimer then recruits Thomas, the Duke's son, as a consultant and his own daughter as his assistant draughtsman. The Two, after many obstacles and tribulations, reluctantly and unwittingly fall in love. Latimer's relationship and connection with the Duke deteriorate further, and it sets a course of events in motions that results in the banishment of Annabelle and her father. Will Annabelle and Thomas' love conquer all obstacles?

I always enjoy a good historical read, and The Draughtsman Damsel seemed very promising when I was approached to review it. Featuring forbidden love, political tension and family ties, there was certainly plenty to keep me interested!

However, I'm sorry to say that this book just didn't do it for me. I am by no means a historical expert, but much of the story and dialogue sounded forced and unrealistic - in parts much too modern for the time the book is set. 

In addition, none of the characters stood out to me as people I could root for or get behind. They were all two-dimensional stereotypes, resulting in me simply not caring what happened to them. Each of Annabelle's three suitors, chosen by her parents, were superficially handsome and charming yet carried a deeper secret that would obviously result in Annabelle's unhappiness and yearning for Thomas. 

I also feel as though the story could have benefited from delving into the political tensions between the King and the Duke in greater detail. That strained relationship seemed far more interesting than much of Annabelle's story, and I would have enjoyed reading about Lord Latimer's role in the courts of both the King and the Duke in more detail. 

The best part of the entire book for me was Annabelle. For the most part, she is a strong-willed and resourceful lady, despite her young age, and her determination to succeed is refreshing in novels of this genre. She wasn't afraid to take matters into her own hands and was constantly pushing for what she wanted, even when she was unsure of the consequences. 

All in all, I'm sorry to say that The Draughtsman Damsel just wasn't a hit with me. 

Rating: 2 stars

The Draughtsman Damsel is available to buy now. 

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* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Have you read the book? Let me know in the comments below.

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