This is the third Theresa Breslin book and I'm glad to say that I enjoyed one of her books yet again because she is so masterful at spinning good stories.
Zarita is the daughter of a wealthy town magistrate but tragedy strikes her family when her mother dies in child birth and the dreaded Inquisition travel to their town a few months after. At fifteen, she is informally betrothed to a handsome nobleman Ramon Salazar who pays lots of attention to her but she is soon plagued by an action that cost a man his life and his son his freedom. This is what connects her and the narrator Saulo together. At the beginning of the book Zarita comes across as quite spoilt and naive because she doesn't know the ways of the world and can be stubborn at times but she has a good heart and shows this by her kindness and willingness to help people.
Saulo's family are poor and must spend all their money on his sick mother so his father is reduced to going out begging. When his life is turned upside down, his heart is filled with feelings of revenge that he cannot contain. I could sympathise with the great pain Saulo experienced near the beginning of the book and understand his anger at the people who made it happen but this didn't wear off over time and he refused to forgive and move on with his life. It was this that kept me from really liking his character and also his streak of arrogance. He wasn't an altogether person because he was very gentlemanly with the women he fell in love with, risked lots for the people he cared about and learned to change but I couldn't help feeling that his lady deserved better than him.
However, I didn't connect with Zarita and Saulo as much as I would have liked to for some reason even though I cared about what happened to each of them and was rooting for events to turn out in their favour. Despite this, both the characters were well developed and went on a journey that changed them over the course of the book. I think the reason I didn't completely connect is because I didn't feel inside their heads or feel as deeply connected to them as characters in other books despite the first person narration. It was because of this that I took away half a star from the rating because characters are a very important part of the book for me.
Rating: a strong 3.5 stars