Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This was such a lovely and enjoyable continuation to Persephone’s story! I didn’t think it would be possible to enjoy the sequel as much as I did Following Ophelia, but here we are! There’s passion and scandal and, of course, art. What’s not to like?
It’s split into three distinct parts and I definitely loved the first where she went to Venice the best, because the description was so vivid. Sophia Bennett’s got such a great eye for detail and bringing costumes, paintings and settings to life. This is also where the biggest plot thread occurs, where Perspehone’s best friend’s fiance admits that he loves her rather than Kitty. It’s a powerful and compelling resistance that reminded me of the rakish figures I’ve encountered reading women’s writing from the eighteenth century.
I loved getting to meet the characters from the first book again and see how they were doing. Of course, I wanted happy endings for them all, particularly Persephone’s cousin, who’s just the sweetest. Rather than just being a muse, Persephone becomes a hero, rescuing her friends from unjust situation. This girls-helping-girls theme that followed the final section of the book was a pure delight. It was reminiscent of the final book in the ‘Hetty Feather’ series by Jacqueline Wilson and I was here for it.
The ending was really sweet and filled me with all of these warm feelings. Just like the first book, this ended with such potential for a sequel, and I hope I get to read more about Persephone’s life in the future! I need more about her romance, as she has two different love interests in both books, so I’m fascinated to see who she chooses and whether she’ll be able to get a certain painter out of her mind…
If you like historical fiction that gives you a deep sense of place and livelihood, I couldn’t recommend this more. Rather than just adding token street lights and horse-drawn carriages, Sophia Bennett’s 18th century feels rich, just like her characters. I’m giving this sequel 4 stars and I’ve got my fingers crossed that her story continues!