I do not read a lot of historical fiction, but when I do, and it is a very good one like The Evening and the Morning, I always ask myself why I do not read more in this genre.
Probably because Ken Follett is such a master and I think it would be hard to find a series, or even a book, that matches Follett's books in every aspect.
Strangely enough, I wanted to re-read one of Follett's other titles, The Third Twin, and I was very disappointed. It was not at all what I remembered, mainly because it felt horribly out of date, even though it was published in 1997.
I was so happy to delve into The Evening and the Morning! You could say it hasn't got serious depth, and that the plot becomes quite obvious, and you can see the ending coming miles away, but it is the kind of book that you just cannot put down. Unfortunately my life is quite hectic with work and other things, so it took me way too long to finish it. And now I'm sad because it is finished and I feel I had to say goodbye to old friends.
A book like this invites to visit Wikipedia often - well, at least I do, because I want to know more about the historical setting. And although king Aethelred (Aethelred the unready) playes a certain role in this story, not all that happens in the book happened exactly so. This is of course a writer's prerogative and it has no great influence on the story. Sometimes events made me think of the excellent series The Last Kingdom, although that series is all about events a hundred years earlier.
I really liked main character Ragna, because she is a strong woman, who fights but also knows when she's beaten and how to deal with that. Follett is a master in describing people, from their clothes to their habits to their characters, be it a good person or a bad person.
I've enjoyed myself tremendously with this book and I'm thankful to Netgalley for this review copy.