Monday, December 21, 2009

Roeing Oaks by Kristina Emmons



With an intriguing premise, gripping characters, and varied settings, author Kristina Emmons demonstrates her wonderful skill at storytelling with her debut novel, Roeing Oaks.

In Victorian England, Kate has only known a life of labor for sixteen years, toiling on a farm beside her mother, Victoria. When a letter arrives for Victoria, its startling contents alter Kate’s world, as she learns about her mother’s hidden past. The pair journeys to the majestic estate where Victoria once lived, until she married the charismatic Lord Alistair Percy, who was not what he seemed. To secure his future happiness, he callously condemned Victoria to a life of servitude, just after she discovered she was pregnant with Kate.

After Kate and her mother return to the farm, they discover Mr. Roeing, who has undertaken managing the farm for its absentee owner. He is enigmatic, but kind to both women. Kate’s innocent charm endears her to him, but surprisingly, it has also thawed the icy reserves of her matronly grandmother, who invites Kate to return to Victoria’s ancestral home. Under a pretext, Kate experiences the life she might have had as Lord Percy’s acknowledged child. However, her reappearance threatens the reputations of two powerful families, who are intent on keeping the past where it belongs, at all costs. Kate also has a surprising reunion with Mr. Roeing, which will have consequences for her future.

What is it about the power of words to transform and transport? In Roeing Oaks, the words in a letter forever alter the heroine’s perceptions about her place in society. It is also Ms. Emmons’ skill with words that have the ability to sweep a reader to another place and time. When I started reading, I quickly became absorbed in this suspenseful, well-paced story, with its vivid characters. Although I did have some inkling as to the heroine’s fate, her meanderings on the journey to the past kept it all from being obvious. Roeing Oaks is a wonderful debut, and I look forward to reading more of Ms. Emmons’ work in the future.

Please leave a comment to win a free copy of Roeing Oaks, and join us later today for our interview with author Kristina Emmons.