Amazon says: “From a wartime brothel to the intricate high society of 1870s Brussels, Under the Poppy is a breakout novel of childhood friends, a love triangle, puppetmasters, and reluctant spies.
Under the Poppy is a brothel owned by Decca and Rupert. Decca is in love with Rupert, but he in turn is in love with her brother, Istvan. When Istvan comes to town, louche puppet troupe in tow, the lines of their age-old desires intersect against a backdrop of approaching war. Hearts are broken when old betrayals and new alliances—not just their own—take shape, as the townsmen seek refuge from the onslaught of history by watching the girls of the Poppy cavort onstage with Istvan’s naughty puppets . . .
Under the Poppy is a vivid, sexy, historical novel that zips along like the best guilty pleasure.”
I got this book from my old (in blogging terms) friend Adam, the Roofbeam Reader. This is one of his favorite books, and I was so pleased to receive a copy – I think I won it in a giveaway on Adam’s blog. It took me a while to start reading it. Recently, I found out that it’s part of a series, and if it was really that good, I’d be in for a nice time, right?
Unfortunately, I didn’t share Adam’s enthusiasm for the novel. In fact, I didn’t get beyond page 100 or so. I tried, but could not get into the story. To me, the characters weren’t likeable, there was a lot of changing of perspective from one character to the next (annoying and confusing), and the story didn’t grab me either.
Now, that’s odd. I went into this book fully expecting to love it, so the fact that I didn’t love it, couldn’t have been because of me. It had to be the book. But it should be good – it just had to be. I struggled and felt sorry for Adam, for having sent this book to an ungrateful reader who tosses his precious book away like an old rag doll. Not so, but if a book grows on me – in a negative way, where I find out (without trying) more and more I don’t like about the book – it’s time to throw the towel in the ring and hope for better times. The book won’t change, but maybe I will. And then, I’ll try again.