Hmmm. Rather enjoyed this, although it was quite slow paced for much of the time. Sarah Dunant writes like a poet, and at times I had to resist the urge to pause and roll her phrases around in my mouth, or else I'd never get the book finished before it was due back at the library. I must admit I didn't notice it was written in the present tense until I was 2/3 of the way through, and wonder if this perhaps contributed to my interpretation of the style as poetical. Hmmm.
I enjoyed very much reading a book where virtually all characters were female. There were a few men in the book, but we really only heard about them second-hand, rather than have them appearing actively on the page. A refreshing change from my recent fare, which has had blokes running around putting swords (and teeth, and various other things) into people.