Friday, March 8, 2013

The Day Embroidered by Anne Brear


The Scottish Highlands, 1899. A life altering event led Catrina Davies to hide from her family and society. Alone in The Highlands she exists in a lonely world cared for only by her saviour, a kind old gentleman. When she receives a surprise visitor, Travis Millard, the man she used to love, her head and heart are thrown into turmoil. Travis is determined to save her from this poor life and return her to her family where she belongs. No one is more surprised than he when she agrees to marry him. When Catrina arrives back at her family estate, Davmoor Court in Yorkshire, she is stunned to see the changes. While her father clings to life, Davmoor is nearly ruined by her brother's gambling obsession, and there is something strange about his new wife. As Catrina adjusts to her regained position in society and being with Travis, her marriage comes under attack from Travis's grandmother, who has her own secrets and reason for loathing the Davies family. When one of her brother's adversaries comes to stake his claim on the estate, the resulting chaos threatens not only Catrina's home, but the very lives of those she loves the most. Can she find the strength to fight once more for the right to be happy?

Author Anne Brear has long been a favourite of mine and this new release is in keeping with success of her previous novels. If you’ve never read a novel by Anne Brear, then you are in for an exceptional treat if this is your first, and rest assured, it won’t be your last. To read a novel by this author evokes memories of reading books by Catherine Cookson or Jane Plaidy. Most of her novels are set in Victorian era England, a time of tumult and great change. And they are always compelling and richly told.

Like all her novels, at the heart of The Day Embroidered, is an exceptionally courageous woman and a family with dark secrets. Catrina comes from a well-to-do family who has fled the security of her family home because of an inaccurate, unjust scandal. Befriended by her benefactor, an elderly, wealthy, childless gentleman, who is like a father to her, she lives in a secluded cottage in The Highlands. When her ex-beau, Travis arrives to see for himself what has become of Catrina and if the rumors are true that she has taken up with a man old enough to be her father, he learns the truth and urges her to return home. With the blessing of her adopted father, she returns home with Travis, only to find her family’s estate is in dire peril due to her brother’s gambling debts and mismanagement.

Anne Brear has once again weaved a story where her heroine must face insurmountable problems and unfathomable dilemmas. As in real life, her characters are imperfect, each with his or her own past issues to resolve, making her tale seem very real and probable. Years of research has enabled the author to write with reality and historical accuracy. The author’s love of England and York come through with every word. Exceptional writing, compelling characters, and a rich tale with plenty of plot twists, kept me reading. I finished this book in two sittings because I simply struggled to put it down.