Our very first interviewee is Daphne Dalle!
Daphne Dalle on Jill Barnett's Wicked
a) What's the book about?
It's a medieval romance between two very striking characters; Lady Sofia Howard and Sir Tobin de Clare. It's a story about young love, about being prideful, vulnerable, and out of your depth. We first meet Sofia when she is a fifteen-year-old ward of King Edward I, and terribly, achingly lonely despite her confident exterior. She sees Tobin across a crowded field and her pride takes a crashing fall when she's unable to stay away from him - in fact, she finds herself searching for him. Despite their youth, chemistry is instant, undeniable.
When Tobin cruelly breaks her heart that very same night, the lonely girl peeking out from Sofia's shell retreats, and she becomes flippant and cocky once more. Fast-forward two years, and Sofia is told that the King has arranged for her to marry Sir Tobin. For a girl that's independent to her very core, she feels cornered and helpless, yet unable to forget all the beautiful things Tobin made her feel. This is the start of a rocky relationship, and both Sofia and Tobin travel many miles and many years to reach their happy ending, but every step is beautiful in its own way, and the couple truly grow with each turn of the page.
b) What do you love most about this story?
I enjoy the fact that it employs several features I usually dislike - long separations, extreme pride, miscommunication - and I couldn't care less. In fact, these things contribute to such a beautiful story about human emotion and why we do the things we do that I wouldn't have it any other way. You see the characters make the worst possible decisions, but you immediately put yourself in that position and find yourself making the same choices. They didn't frustrate me, as headstrong characters tend to do, but they made me care and root for them. Which is all too rare, I think. And I absolutely adored seeing glimpses of Sofia's past, and just how much Tobin has been a part of her life. I don't much believe in destiny, but this couple might sway me, I think.
c) How many times have you read this book?
I first read "Wicked" when I found a copy in my college library - I think I was supposed to be researching themes of love and sex in the Old Testament, but I completely forgot about it as soon as I started reading. Right there in the library, I finished the book in one go. (For those of you who are curious, the assignment never got off the ground...) I ordered my own copy and have read it two more times since. I don't want to overdo it, because the book makes me so emotional that its quite draining. I think I'll read it once a year to get all my emotions out of the way (yes, I admit it, I'd be Psy if I had the choice! Don't judge me. *g*)
d) Who would you recommend it to?
Anyone that loves well-told stories with depth, and characters you can truly believe in. The prose is beautiful and the romance is memorable, with excellent supporting characters. (Nuns are cool. I said it.)
e) Anything else you want to add?
I don't say this lightly, but I reckon this book is about as close to perfect as you can get. And if I'm honest, I'm a little jealous that I didn't write it. :D