I like this book, I really do. However, there is a scene in it that I can’t make myself read.
It is neither gross nor gory (c’mon, I won the prize for most gore in a story when I was a wee wittle girl), nor against my principles (there’s no evil dogs attempting to take over the world with Tasers. What?).
It’s awful. AWFUL! If a character hits a right note, then I will become very invested in their story. Now remember – I hate embarrassment or awkward situations. I’m the idiot who went all faint-y when my card was denied in America (why, ‘merica! Why? I still have the mental scars!)
And so, I can often suffer from ‘second-hand embarrassment’ when reading a book.
Like this one.
‘Harvest of Rubies’ by Tessa Afshar is set in the Persian empire, during the time in which Nehemiah was a cupbearer. It tells the story of Sarah, who is the Senior Scribe to the Queen. She does the Queen a service and receives a husband in thanks. She marries him. Important stuff happens. The End.
Ahem. Just before her wedding, the Queen sends Sarah some maids to get her ready. You know – get rid of the stained garments she usually wears, apply cosmetics and all that malarkey. Only, Sarah craftily gets out of it. She doesn’t want the wedding. She doesn’t want maids.
And so her wedding day dawns and she gets ready herself. It’s a disaster. She looks like a clown. An awful, awful clown. And then, she goes to her wedding in front of the court and everyone and her groom and …. alksdjflaskjdf!!!11!! … second-hand embarrassment strikes and I’m done. I can’t read it. I can skim, catch a word or two, cringe and rush on but never ever properly read.
The rest of the book is fine, I love it. There is some encouraging dialogue – using the vineyard as an analogy – and faithful hounds and intrigue and danger and romance and weight loss and lions and the Magnificently Magnificent Darius.
But that wedding scene? No. I haven’t been able to read it yet. I will though. One day. In the very, very distant future. Probably.