What a conundrum.
It was page 167. I didn't know if I even cared to finish. It was slow. I was bored. I was depressed.
I finally laughed on page 267. I've seen were people describe Madeline Hunter's sense of humor subtle...I would describe it as so subtle that it is nearly imaginary.
The desperation on behalf of both characters was simultaneously realistic and tangible. I was depressed for both hero and heroine. There was a moment when I flat did not want to continue with the story. They made me too sad. Couple that with the slow pacing and the fact that so much of the story is hidden from the reader until the end, and you get a difficult read for me.
However - when it did turn around, when they started talking to each other and making up for their mistakes and misgivings, and when they both started to try, it got good. Real good.
There is no denying that Madeline Hunter can write and write well. She certainly evokes feelings and moves you - there were just aspects of her storytelling that were not my personal cup of tea. I prefer the "like-lust-love" journey rather than the "lust-like-love" of this book.
So, as to my rating. This was precariously close to my DNF shelf, but I nearly cried at the end. Usually when that happens the book is catapulted to "favorites" status. This is a far cry from that, but perhaps deserves a solid 3 stars.