Lois McMaster Bujold is one of my favourite authors (authoresses sounds rather dodgy, no?) of all time. While she is better known for her Vorkosigan saga, a very popular sci-fi, space opera-ish series, I was completely enchanted by her foray into fantasy, which yielded the excellent Chalion series. While she apparently still plans to continue the Chalion series, she has, in the meantime, also started a new duology (set in a new world) named The Sharing Knife.
The first book of The Sharing Knife is titled Beguilement, and it so happens that I finished reading it only a few hours back. The story is set in a period highly reminiscent of early America, except that Indians/spiritually connected folk are Lakewalkers while the rest are simply dubbed farmers. The basic premise of the story would not be out of place in a Mills & Boon paperback, and essentially involves a romance between an old and eternally bereaving one handed lakewalker (Dag) and a young farmer girl (Fawn) who steals his heart and he hers. While there is an underlying storyline involving the battle between lakewalkers (and their ancient magic) and an enduring evil from the past known as the Malice or Blight Boggles, the story quickly dwindles into a generally insipid tale of two hearts ... blah blah blah. While the writing is, as always, very good, there is a general lack of depth, complexity and even .. wonder which left me rather disappointed. In other words, there really is nothing terribly fantastic about this fantasy.
It is to be noted that Beguilement is more or less the first half of the story. So, it is possible that Bujold will build upon it in book 2. However, the likelihood of that happening is rather slim IMHO. It would not be too presumptuous to arrive at the conclusion that while book 1 primarily dealt with the "farmer" world and Fawn's family, book 2 would deal with the lakewalker world and Dag's family. I however, hope to be wrong as I have vowed to read anything that this woman writes.