This is one of those books that I should probably think is terrible, but I.Just.Could.Not.Stop.Reading. Supposedly, this novel is based upon an 18th century Polish noblewoman's diary which was suppressed by her descendants for its scandalous content. The heroine, Anna Maria, certainly goes through all manner of trials and tribulations - everything from rape to being caught in her selfish cousin's scheming. Even though the characterizations are a bit thin and the events more than a bit melodramatic, I got completely sucked into Anna's story as she finds her life upended by a combination of the uncertain political climate and her cousin Zofia's manipulations. As I read, the analytical side of my brain kept telling me that I should think this overwrought story is atrocious, but somehow the author hit just the right balance to make it engrossing reading nevertheless. If you can't handle cartoon villains and lots and lots of melodrama, this might not be the book for you, but otherwise, you just might enjoy this glimpse into a time not often covered in novels.