Review: Now Face to Face by Karleen Koen

Book Synopsis:

A bride at fifteen, widowed at the tender age of twenty, Barbara, Countess Devane, embarks for colonial Virginia financially ruined by the death of her husband in scandalous circumstances. Dressed in mourning as is proper for a woman, she is patronizingly described as a “fragile black butterfly,” but the fragility is deceiving. She makes a place for herself in the new world, takes lovers and friends across political divides, and questions the established traditions of slavery. Facing enemies she never suspected, she must return to England and deal face to face with the problems created by her husband, who haunts her even in death. Back in London, she quickly finds herself pulled into Jacobite plotting, and the treachery of powerful men suddenly threatens her family, her friends—and a new love.

Now Face to Face sweeps readers from eighteenth-century America to London and brings both worlds to vivid life. It is a magnificent evocation of an era, from the plantations of Virginia to Hanoverian England.

For me, with movies, the sequels are never better than the original. In my opinion, the same can be said for Now Face to Face, which is the sequel for Through a Glass Darkly. Not to say that I did not enjoy it and am not happy that I read it, but it wasn’t quite up there with the TAGD.
After the death of her husband, Barbara is beside herself with grief. Her grandmother, the Duchess of Tamworth, offers her the chance to go to Colonial Virginia to check out her newly acquired tobacco plantation. We follow Barbara to the new world where she learns all she can about the tobacco farming and we get to meet some new and interesting characters, my favorite being Colonel Perry. Barbara eventually returns to England after receiving some letters from back home that there are new adventures afoot. She returns to England and finds herself in the midst of Jacobite investigations.
I think I would have liked this book more had it not been for the ending. The end scene was about one of supporting characters, not Barbara. In turn, I did not have that sense of “closure” so to say. I always like how a book wraps up everything nice and neat for you at the end. And after finishing the book, you walk away content, knowing your new friend will be well. I didn’t have that with this and it was a little disappointing.

Another thing that bothered me was that there were a lot of things not followed up on or worked out…a lot of open issues…which leads me to believe that that there may be another sequel?!
Overall: 4/5
Song: Alive by Pearl Jam
More wisdom from the Duchess of Tamworth: “Keep one’s eyes upon the goal desired, not upon the delays and impediments”


  1. Hmm, interesting review. You make it sound somewhat appealing! Mostly I stayed away after recommendations to do so, having read and reasonably enjoyed Through A Glass Darkly. I'll have to think about it and maybe pick it up used somewhere.

    - medieval bookworm

  2. Yea...great idea...if this was a movie it would be a "renter"! I'm still hoping that there is another book, but I won't hold my breath. I really wish it would have been better because I really enjoyed Barbara and all the other characters from TAGD. I miss them now!

  3. Hi, thanks for your comments! It looks like we have the same views on this novel. We have very similar tastes in books! I've added you to my links as well.

  4. I really am looking forward to reading these two books. Thanks for you glimpse into them both! Your page says you're currently reading the Plaidy about Louis. I haven't read that one, I'm dying to hear what you think of it!

  5. I am almost finished with Louis, but I think I may do the review of all 3 books together. So far, so good...but not a page turner yet!

  6. I'm glad to know that and I also like the "renter" idea. Great reveiw! Now I must ask about the song. Is that what you've been listening to while reading the book, or do you think the song goes with the book? I'm really intrigued!

  7. The songs? I love music almost as much as I love reading so I thought it would be cool to combine the two. The songs that I have chosen for my reviews so far have been songs that I felt would be perfect on the "soundtrack" if there was one. For instance, Through A Glass Darkly, I picked a song called "Torch" off of Alanis Morisettes' new album Flavors of Entanglement (which is awesome by the way) because the song deals with trying to get over someone and it fit in perfectly with one part in the book. Alive by Pearl Jam was chosen for the sequel to TAGD, Now Face to Face, because the main character has come through a hardship and has found life and love again. Thanks for the question!


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