My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I would have liked to give this 3 and a half, but there is no allowance for that. I would not go to four for one reason. The first chapter.
This was a very enjoyable story set between 1814 to 1815. The reader sees a backdrop of historical development where Napoleon is banished to Elba and then his return for the 100 Days War. In between, our British cavalryman takes two months leave and then is stationed in Ireland, before returning to mainland Europe to fight the Battle of Waterloo.
My only gripe with the story is the first chapter. It was full of narration and was intense in historical detail concerning cavalry etc. It read like a textbook and what little dialogue there was, seemed short. This made the characters look a little wooden. By the time I finished the first chapter, I was pondering on whether or not to abandon the novel. I stuck with it and I am most pleased I did. For it seemed as though the author wanted to get some of these explanations out of the way. The story started to roll and the dialogue got much better. The character of Matthew Hervey bloomed. I found him easy to identify with as his adventure began.
As the novel progressed and new things had to be explained, it was often done without the long narration and sometimes the characters told the reader through dialogue. This worked much better. I don't understand why the author, who obviously knows his stuff, could not have shown the reader the cavalry things of the first chapter via dialogue with the nun/nurse at the nunnery where the first chapter was set. As I say, this was a smashing story apart from the laborious first chapter. I will read the second book in the series The Nizam's Daughters as I did enjoy the period settings and have warmed to Matthew Hervey.