I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.
I put off reading this second book for years, because I didn't care for the allusions made in the first book that Sybella, the MC of this story, had a dark past involving parental sexual abuse. But I really wanted to read the third book, and I can't stand reading out of order, so I sucked it up.
The allusions were not misdirection; Sybella's background is full of abuse and cruelty, and the author walks a fine line in terms of incest, stopping short by the strictest definition, if not the spirit of it. Either way, it's distasteful and unpleasant; I'd have enjoyed the story more had it not spent so much time on the setup and background.
Once Sybella commits to her mission to rescue the Beast of Waroch from her family's dungeons, the story improves, as does the pacing. There's a Deus-ette ex machina in Sybella's unexpected connection to The Beast that I'm not sure was really necessary, though it didn't really affect the plotting one way or the other.
Generally, not as good as the first book, but an engrossing read nevertheless. I appreciated the author's note at the end outlining that while the story itself was whole cloth fiction, the events and many of the characters were historically accurate, though she owns to compressing the timeline for dramatic purposes. If I can read and be entertained, and learn a bit about the Duchess Anne of Brittany at the same time, all the better.
I read this for a Halloween Square - Paint it Black.