Some of the reviews I read on Good Reads said that WWE was the same as the prequel The Pillars of the Earth.  At first, I agreed.  There appeared to be striking similarities between the female leads and the male leads, and to some extent, even in the ways in which they interacted and the formation of their relationships.  However, after the first few chapters, you can’t continue to draw similarities. While billed as a sequel to Pillars, it very well could have stood on its own.  It certainly was not a sequel that did not make sense if you did not read the first novel. Overall, I liked this book. I did not love it as much as I loved the first, but it was still a worthy read.


          I loved that both books kept realism, but managed to end happily.  There were fewer characters in the end, some we missed and some we did not, but overall, it ended remarkably well, though no unbelieveably well.  Nothing turned out the way I thought, but things did turn out rather well.

          I love the theme of triumph over adversity, questioning ancient authority and knowledge, and quiet rebellion.  Those three things will usually keep the pages turning in my hands, and when the 3 come together, it’s usually a recipe for success.  I wish some characters had done things differently, but they were consistent, which is good and adds to the realism.  The bad characters didn’t have sudden changes of hearts – even the wicked earl who reclaims his son does it primarily to hurt the boy’s mother and the man who believes he is the boy’s father.  It wasn’t a change of heart, but a swelling of pride at seeing "his son" turn out so much like himself. 

          One of the things that I loved about both WWE and Pillars is that while both are historical fictions, you don’t have to be a history buff to enjoy either.  I don’t know how accurate the time line is, or whether or not the things being done in the book lined up with the thinking of the exact time, and I don’t care because I was entertained!  Even if things were a little bit off, they weren’t completely imagined or exxaggerated, which I can’t stand when it comes to historical fiction. 

          While a formidable novel in size, it was not at all a taxing read.  Conversational, though not simple in tone, it was very easy to read 60+ pages in a 45 to 60 minute sitting.  It still made me think about what could and would happen, wonder about what was going on with other characters, and how things would turn out without me getting confused or forgetting about other people and places. 

       4 out of 5 stars!