Lady Hotspur - Tessa Gratton

Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley.

I wanted to love this book; truly I did. Gender swapped Henry IV and such, with lesbians? What’s not to love?

Well, quite a bit it turns out.

The main problem in this book isn’t the gender swapping or the world building. These are very well done, and it is clear that Gratton has done research and read the plays. The problem is simply the total lack of characterization and a large amount of detail that is totally unneeded.

The book would have been better served by actually showing the friendship that existed between the women prior to the rebellion. The reader is told constantly about the friendship and love but there is very little showing. And when Hotspur and Hal become lovers, it just feels so empty. The parting scene between the two was incredibly boring when it should have been emotional. This is due to the total lack of chemistry between the two characters. The lack is because the reader is left wondering why Hal is so darn attractive. In the play, it can work if the actor is talented, but as presented here in this book, it falls totally flat.

And you are told everything, never shown.