Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley

Review 
by


Book Description

Whoever dares to seek the firebird may find the journey—and its ending— unexpected.

Nicola Marter was born with a gift. When she touches an object, she sometimes sees images, glimpses of those who have owned it before. It’s never been a gift she wants, and she keeps it a secret from most people, including her practical boss Sebastian, one of London’s premier dealers in Russian art.

But when a woman offers Sebastian a small wooden carving for sale, claiming it belonged to Russia’s Empress Catherine, it’s a problem. There’s no proof. Sebastian believes that the plain carving—known as “The Firebird”—is worthless. But Nicola has held it, and she knows the woman is telling the truth and is in desperate need of the money the sale of the heirloom could bring.

Compelled to help, Nicola turns to a man she once left and still loves: Rob McMorran, whose own psychic gifts are far greater than hers. With Rob to help her “see” the past, she follows a young girl named Anna from Scotland to Belgium and on into Russia. There, in St. Petersburg—the once-glittering capital of Peter the Great’s Russia—Nicola and Rob unearth a tale of love and sacrifice, of courage and redemption . . . an old story that seems personal and small, perhaps, against the greater backdrops of the Jacobite and Russian courts, but one that will forever change their lives.

The Firebird is a novel about Nicola Marter, a young woman with the extraordinary psychic ability to see the history of objects she touches. She works in a museum/art gallery. One day, a woman brings in a small wooden carving of a bird she believes once belonged to Empress Catherine the Great of Russia. Although her boss does not believe in the items providence, Nicola holds it in her hand and knows the woman is right. She then becomes determined to help authenticate the item and help the woman.

Nicola knows her powers aren’t as strong as that of an old friend, Rob McMorran, a former friend with whom she shared strong feelings with. She convinces him to help her and together they embark on a mysterious, but fascinating journey of discovery. They see into the past, to follow a young woman named Anna who traveled from Scotland to Belgium and finally to Russia.

The contemporary love between Nicola and Rob switches back and forth with the intriguing story of young Anna. It is a very compelling read, made even more so with the psychic abilities of the modern day lovers. Slowly, secrets become unraveled, and the novel ends in a most satisfying way. Brilliant storytelling and eloquent prose grace the pages of this unique novel. I loved this book and cannot say enough to recommend it.

Interrupted Dreams by Jen Bielack

Book Blurb

An entirely new look at the Titanic tragedy of 1912. A journey through the days before, during and after Titanic’s maiden voyage, it is a heartfelt window into the lives of those suddenly faced with their own mortality. The story has haunted us for one hundred years, a tragedy from the last century of the previous millennium. This new historical novel transports you back to a bygone era and catapults you into the middle of the lives of a dozen people who lived or died because of a ship called Titanic. Françoise is a spunky young French woman who meets the mysterious Malik in a Paris park. Together, they decide to find jobs on a Southampton steamer, but both are keeping damaging secrets from each other. The fatal accident interrupts their lives and perpetuates an impasse. Each moment from impact until the last lifeboat is launched is recounted, through the thoughts, words, and actions of crew and passengers. You will experience the gamut of emotions they felt, from exhilaration to despair, and learn the lesson they learned: the path to survival is strewn with heartbreaking loss. Only renewed faith, joined by undaunted compassion, can lead you back to your dreams.

Review

The book opens with Malik and Khalinda, who are on their way to their home village but never actually get there as Khalinda dies - the circumstances of her death are a bit foggy, but then twelve years later, in 1912, Malik is with Francoise, a talented cook. Running parallel to their story is a gentle account of Jack Astor and his pregnant teenage bride, Madeleine, on their way home from Europe, and Captain John Smith, who is interviewed by a particularly obnoxious journalist as he about to take command of the Titanic.

At this stage I wasn't sure if this was an historical fiction novel, or a documentary with a fictional slant, and no one story seems to dominate, except maybe that of Malik and Francoise. I gathered the author was trying to illustrate that this tragedy wasn’t simply the story of a doomed ship, but over two thousand stories; of many lives impacted in different ways on that night in April 1912, some of whom are given a spotlight of their own. 


The background has been meticulously researched through documented accounts of the events and lives involved, which were fascinating, especially the Epilogue which recounted what happened to the survivors after they were rescued - an aspect often ignored with the re-telling in other accounts of the loss of the pride of the White Star Line.
 
However I found that one thread jumped to the next with confusing frequency; often after only a few pages and with no transition, so I didn’t get to know the characters well enough before I was thrust into a new scenario, or the continuation of a previous one.

French phrases, and in places whole sentences, were repeated in English in brackets, which I found distracting - and pointless. There is a lot of passive voice, head-hopping and telling as opposed to showing, and in places the author put a secondary PoV into brackets - she’s very fond of brackets - which was not only odd, but made the narrative choppy and difficult to follow. I felt the novel could have benefited from a professional edit as these problems would have been weeded out. 

The reviews of this novel on Amazon are consistently good, and did not mention the difficulties I experienced, so maybe I missed something and allowed the confusing format to overwhelm the deeper meaning. For those readers interested in delving further into the characters involved in the tragedy of The Titanic disaster, this is worth a read.

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Chalice by Nancy Bilyeau - A Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour

Review
by

In the midst of England’s Reformation, a young novice will risk everything to defy the most powerful men of her era.

In 1538, England’s bloody power struggle between crown and cross threatens to tear the country apart. Novice Joanna Stafford has tasted the wrath of the royal court, discovered what lies within the king’s torture rooms, and escaped death at the hands of those desperate to possess the power of an ancient relic.

Even with all she has experienced, the quiet life is not for Joanna. Despite the possibilities of arrest and imprisonment, she becomes caught up in a shadowy international plot targeting Henry VIII himself. As the power plays turn vicious, Joanna realizes her role is more critical than she’d ever imagined. She must choose between those she loves most and assuming her part in a prophecy foretold by three seers. Repelled by violence, Joanna seizes a future with a man who loves her. But no matter how hard she tries, she cannot escape the spreading darkness of her destiny.

To learn the final, sinister piece of the prophecy, she flees across Europe with a corrupt spy sent by Spain. As she completes the puzzle in the dungeon of a twelfth-century Belgian fortress, Joanna realizes the life of Henry VIII as well as the future of Christendom are in her hands—hands that must someday hold the chalice that lies at the center of these deadly prophecies…



Twitter Hashtag: #TheChaliceVirtualTour 

Publication Date:  March 5, 2013
Touchstone Publishing
Hardcover; 512p
ISBN-10: 1476708657

In the next novel from Nancy Bilyeau after her acclaimed debut The Crown, novice Joanna Stafford plunges into an even more dangerous conspiracy as she comes up against some of the most powerful men of her era. 

In 1538, England is in the midst of bloody power struggles between crown and cross that threaten to tear the country apart. Joanna Stafford has seen what lies inside the king’s torture rooms and risks imprisonment again, when she is caught up in a shadowy international plot targeting the King. As the power plays turn vicious, Joanna understands she may have to assume her role in a prophecy foretold by three different seers, each more omniscient than the last.

Joanna realizes the life of Henry VIII as well as the future of Christendom are in her hands—hands that must someday hold the chalice that lays at the center of these deadly prophecies…


Praise for The Chalice

"Rarely have the terrors of Henry VIII's reformation been so exciting. Court intrigue, bloody executions, and haunting emotional entanglements create a heady brew of mystery and adventure that sweeps us from the devastation of the ransacked cloisters to the dangerous spy centers of London and the Low Countries, as ex-novice Joanna Stafford fights to save her way of life and fulfill an ancient prophecy, before everything she loves is destroyed." - C.W. Gortner, author of The Queen's Vow

The Chalice offers a fresh, dynamic look into Tudor England's most powerful, volatile personalities: Henry VIII, the Duke of Norfolk, Stephen Gardiner and Bloody Mary Tudor. Heroine and former nun Joanna Stafford is beautiful, bold and in lethal danger. Bilyeau writes compellingly of people and places that demand your attention and don't let you go even after the last exciting page. - Karen Harper, author of Mistress of Mourning

"An exciting and satisfying novel of historical suspense that cements Nancy Bilyeau as one of the genre's rising stars. The indominable Joanna Stafford is back with a cast of powerful and fascinating characters and a memorable story that is gripping while you are reading and haunting after you are done. Bravo! The Chalice is a fabulous read." - M.J. Rose, author of The Reincarnationist

About the Author

Nancy Bilyeau, author of The Crown, is a writer and magazine editor who has worked on the staffs of InStyle, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and Good Housekeeping. Her latest position is features editor of Du Jour magazine. A native of the Midwest, she graduated from the University of Michigan. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children.
For more information, please visit Nancy Bilyeau's website.  You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.  



My Review:

The Chalice is the sequel to The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau and continues the story of Joanna Stafford, a young woman with noble blood who enjoys her life in a priory. Now that nuns and monks have been cast from religious houses, Joanna finds herself struggling to build a new life. Her family guide her back to the dazzling world of the English aristocracy. Thus she is drawn into a dangerous world of prophecy, necromancy, and dark secrets. To be caught means certain death.

Regardless of whether you read The Crown or not, The Chalice stands on its own. The story has true life characters from the Tudor court of King Henry VIII that mix with fictional ones, which makes for a fascinating blend. The author’s prose is lovely and seamlessly read. She has a strong grasp of historical fact that she weaves effortlessly into an intricate plot. If you like historical suspense stories with plenty of danger, and enduring heroine, and a touch of the occult, then this novel is sure to please.  

  

Friday, April 19, 2013

Artemis Rising by Cheri Lasota


Review by Mirella Patzer

What if your name was your destiny? And what if that name foretold a tragic end?

It is 1898 in the Azores, nine forgotten islands of magic, mystery and mythology. Since birth, Azorean Eva Maré has been fated to take on the name and tragic life of Arethusa, a Greek nymph who is turned to water after the river god Alpheus falls in love with her.

But when she accepts her new name she learns at once that the river god she is to give herself to is none other than Diogo, the son of a rich ship owner, and his obsession for Eva is frightening.

When Eva is rescued by Tristan, an Azorean orphan, she finds herself drawn to him despite the overwhelming obstacles between them. But Tristan has a destiny of his own, one that leads him toward another girl, another life, and another tragic end.

Will Eva reach Tristan before he loses his life to a cruel twist of fate? Will Tristan save Eva from a fate worse than death at the hand of Diogo? Destined to be with Diogo yet hoping against hope that she will win Tristan's love, Eva must somehow choose between them, or fate will choose for her.

Artemis Rising was a 10-year labor of love inspired by a magical stay on Terceira Island in the Portuguese Azores Islands. My unfailing love for these islands and the Azorean people was the catalyst that brought this complex story of fate and belief to life.

An 
E-book Category Finalist in the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, this YA Historical Fantasy novel is for readers who loved Chelsea Fine's Archers of Avalon series, Megg Jensen's Anathema, and Addison Moore's Celestra series.

Aretemis Rising is a magical young adult novel about destiny and love. Set in the Azores in the late 19th century, young Eva Mare’s mother performs a pagan ritual to look into her daughter’s future. During her trance, she sees a man named Diogo and convinces Eva he is to be her destiny. But Eva encounters a young man of her own named Tristan who also faces a complex destiny. It is Tristan she falls in love with and it is Diogo who she disdains for his evilness.

And thus begins a masterfully woven plot filled with conflict and danger and intrigue. Cheri Lasota has written a spell-binding historical fantasy about young, passionate love, skillfully tying it in with historical myths such as Tristan and Isolde and Arethusa and Alpheus. Although the novel is written for young adults, the story has a great deal of depth and is more than adequate for adults. It is a coming of age novel about self-discovery, about one’s true faith, and of triumph. A compelling read and highly recommended.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sinners and the Sea by Rebecca Kanner

Review 
by

The young heroine in Sinners and the Sea is destined for greatness. Known only as “wife” in the Bible and cursed with a birthmark that many think is the brand of a demon, this unnamed woman—fated to become the mother of all generations after the great flood—lives anew through Rebecca Kanner. The author gives this virtuous woman the perfect voice to make one of the Old Testament’s stories come alive like never before.

Desperate to keep her safe, the woman’s father gives her to the righteous Noah, who weds her and takes her to the town of Sorum, a haven for outcasts. Alone in her new life, Noah’s wife gives him three sons. But living in this wicked and perverse town with an aloof husband who speaks more to God than to her takes its toll. Noah’s wife struggles to know her own identity and value. She tries to make friends with the violent and dissolute people of Sorum while raising a brood that, despite its pious upbringing, develops some sinful tendencies of its own. While Noah carries out the Lord’s commands, she tries to hide her mark and her shame as she weathers the scorn and taunts of the townspeople.

But these trials are nothing compared to what awaits her after God tells her husband that a flood is coming—and that Noah and his family must build an ark so that they alone can repopulate the world. As the floodwaters draw near, she grows in courage and honor, and when the water finally recedes, she emerges whole, displaying once and for all the indomitable strength of women. Drawing on the biblical narrative and Jewish mythology, Sinners and the Sea is a beautifully written account of the antediluvian world told in cinematic detail.

Rebecca Kanner’s new debut novel, Sinners and the Sea, is a dark tale about the world as Noah and his family prepares to sail away on the arc. The author uses her vivid imagination to create and enhance this tragic story. Told through the eyes of Noah’s wife, a nameless, birth-marked young woman, she gives us a glimpse of a world rife with sin, crime, treachery, and lust. The protagonist spends the entire book wishing for a name, waiting for Noah to choose one for her.

Like the bible, God has spoken to Noah and directed him to build an arc and to collect breeding animals to sail away with and start a new life when the floods come to drown the sinful world and its sinners. But even amongst his own family, there is evil afoot – Japheth being a violent son and Ham being the good son. The third son is very young in the story. The novel follows the trials and tribulations faced in the building of the arc with villagers stealing the building materials while Noah’s wife must keep everyone from discovering her birthmark for fear they will kill her.

The author delves into the primitive brutality of the era and their desperation to cling to life when the floods begin to arrive. It places Noah and his family in constant peril when they cannot help. I enjoyed reading about castaways floating on debris or small boats during the deluge who will soon be drowned.

As in the bible, Noah is described as being hundreds of years old, but his role in the book is not a likable one. He is a harsh, demanding character, demonstrating little emotion. I found this added conflict and made the story more interesting.

Not your normal run-of-the mill novel, this book is well written, and takes a very unconventional approach to a well-known story. The story is compelling because it has an edge to it that leaves the reader disconcerted and therefore interested in reading onwards. The best word to describe it is haunting. A fascinating look into an feral civilization of turmoil and hardship.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Perdita by Hilary Scharper - Book Tour and Author Interview

Today, I'm thrilled to participate in the blog tour for Hilary Scharper's new novel, Perdita. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book! Read on for my review on the book and a special interview with Hilary Scharper.

Review by Mirella Patzer

Synopsis:

After a love affair that ends in tragedy, Garth Hellyer throws himself into his work for the Longevity Project, interviewing the oldest living people on the planet. But nothing has prepared him for Marged Brice, who claims to be a stunningly youthful 134. Marged says she wants to die, but can’t, held back by the presence of someone she calls Perdita.

Garth, despite his skepticism, is intrigued by Marged’s story, and agrees to read “her” journals of life in the late 1890s. Soon he’s enthralled by Marged’s story of love, loss, and myth in the tempestuous wilderness of the Bruce Peninsula. He enlists the help of his childhood friend Clare to help him make sense of the mystery.

As Garth and Clare unravel the truth of Marged and Perdita, they discover together just what love can mean when it never dies.

Review:


PERDITA by Hilary Scharper is a character-driven novel with an intriguing storyline – the secret history of a woman who claims to be 134 years old. When Garth Hellyer, a writer with a tormented past, seeks to interview Marged Brice for a longevity project he is working on, he is stunned by her claim to such an advanced age. Unable to believe her, even though she produces her birth certificate, Marged provides him with her private diaries. The secrets inside will reveal her truth. It is through her diaries that Garth learns of Perdita.

What I enjoyed most about this novel was its unusual setting. 19th century Tobermory, Ontario is far off the beaten past. Relatively unknown by the world, the location lends the book a strong gothic feel. The story unfolds through Garth’s narrative as well as Marged’s diaries. Powerful stories emerge from each of their stories, linking them together into the future. The characters are richly complex and unpredictable. Themes about aging, wisdom, respect, and an appreciation for nature are prevalent throughout. The story culminates in a stunning ending.

If you are a reader who enjoys deep, thought-provoking novels that dig beneath the surface of everyday life, this novel is sure to please.

Interview with Hilary Scharper:

Welcome to the Historical Novel Review Blog, Hilary. I'm excited about learning more about you and your recent success with Perdita. 

1. Can you tell us a little about your novel?

An elderly woman is dropped off by limousine at a remote nursing home in northern Ontario. Marged Brice claims she is 134 and cannot die owing to the presence of someone named “Perdita.” Garth Hellyer, a WWII historian who is battle-scarred from a previous love relationship, is asked to investigate. To help explain the mystery, Marged shares “her” journals with him, dating from the late 1890s. The diaries take Garth to the wilds of Georgian Bay and the world of the Cape Prius lighthouse. In the meantime, Clare—the winsome and still-single sister of Garth’s boyhood best friend—arrives unexpectedly at the cottage next door to help him pursue the mystery of who Marged Brice really is.

2.  What inspired you to write a novel about a woman in this period of history?

The world of the lighthouse and lighthouse keepers has often been described as a “man’s world,” but of course many keepers brought their families along to live with them during their eight months of duty. I’ve always been very intrigued by how women fit into this world—not simply as “silent partners” but as vibrant persons who were active in shaping the landscapes in which they found themselves.

I recently wrote about aspects of lighthouse life in The National Post:
3.  What hardships did women face in this particular century and what lessons can today's woman learn from it?

From the historical documents I’ve read about 19th century lighthouses on the Great Lakes, isolation and physical hardship—particularly running out of food and surviving some extremely fierce storms—were probably the most severe challenges.  Many women also participated in the day-to-day work of the lighthouse, so that in addition to their domestic chores, they would clean and polish the lens, monitor the clockwork, and generally assist in making sure that the light, as well as the foghorn, were functioning properly. Women also frequently assisted in rescue efforts and many risked their lives trying to aid shipwreck survivors. So the accounts of bravery and physical endurance as well as the agility of  “lighthouse women” were particularly inspiring to me, but women’s stories remain—for the most part—marginal to the cultural history of light-keeping. 

4.  What inspired you about your heroine?  Why did you choose her?  


I’m not sure if I chose Marged Brice or she chose me. (!) I spent much of my childhood wandering along the shores of Georgian Bay during the summer months, and Marged Brice’s deep love of the area is  “kindred” to my own. In making Marged 134 years old, I wanted to explore the notion of a lighthouse itself as an entity that uniquely connects the past with the present.

5.  Can you tell us briefly about your other novels and any new novels in the works?

My first work of fiction is a collection of short stories titled Dream Dresses. The collection explores how the “fabric” of women's aspirations becomes so entangled with attire that the dress and the dream sometime become one and the same.

My second novel, The Eidos Project, which I’m in the process of refining, involves a young woman who experiences a mental crisis following the sudden death of her famous literary father. There’s a mysterious and unusual linden tree involved, and in this novel I explore an “urban eco-gothic.”

I am also currently working on second and third volumes of a Perdita trilogyboth of which continue with the story of Marge Brice’s life.

Thank you, Hilary for stopping by!

For more information on Perdita visit the Perdita Book Page at Simon and Schuster Canada.

If you happen to live in the Toronto area, you can attend the official Perdita Book Launch

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Dagger of Isis by Lester Picker


Dangers lurk for the first woman Pharaoh. The Dagger of Isis traces the life of Meryt-Neith, the first female ruler of a united Egypt. From her marriage to King Wadjet to her eventual coronation after his death, this tale of intrigue and betrayal follows her ascension, the wars she fought, and the loves that gave meaning to her life. This saga takes us on a journey throughout ancient Egypt and into nearby lands, as Meryt-Neith struggles to bring honor to her family's dynasty.

The Dagger of Isis is the second book in Lester Picker’s First Dynasty series about the early pharaohs of ancient Egypt. The novel is set in the 30th century B.C. and it is about Maryt-Neith, the daughter of Djer, and the wife of Djet.  She rose to the lofty height of pharaoh upon her husband’s death.

Tales about women who rise to power in male dominated worlds is always of fascination, for it is clear that in order to do so, they must possess extraordinary strength and qualities. Of course, there will always be enemies who do not want to be ruled by a woman, those with their own ambitions, and this makes for plenty of good conflict.

Lester Picker has penned a novel that depicts the brutality and mysticism of this old world with all its decadence and romance, dangers and drama. It is evident the author has spent a great deal of time immersing himself in research to demonstrate the smallest details of what everyday life in this ancient civilization was like.

Nice, readable prose, and a compelling story make this a very enjoyable book. Evil, betrayal, intrigue, and a good romance kept me tuned into the story. This book can stand alone, but I urge you to read The First Pharaoh so you have the complete tale. It is historical fiction at its finest.

Monday, April 8, 2013

The First Pharaoh by Lester Picker


Throughout antiquity Egypt was a land of hundreds of tiny villages, with constantly warring tribes, loosely divided between Upper and Lower Egypt. Then, in the space of a few extraordinary decades, the impossible happened. An incredible man, King Narmer (also known as Menes), united Upper and Lower Egypt. The First Pharaoh is the story of Narmer and his epic journey, seen through his eyes and those of his Chief Scribe, the shaman Anhotek. We experience the culture Narmer lived in and shaped, the battles he fought to unite his people, the woman he loved and nearly lost, the enemies even in his own court who plotted against him, and his many successes and painful failures. Above all, we see how Narmer?s loving relationship with Anhotek defined his personal vision for his country and its people. Written on a huge tapestry, The First Pharaoh allows us to share Narmer's far-reaching visions for Egypt's future that were so compelling and that ultimately proved so enduring. The First Pharaoh tells the inspiring story of the mythic journey of the visionary hero, through obstacles and triumphs, wars and peace, love and hate, to launch the greatest civilization ever to appear on earth.

The First Pharaoh is a novel about a man named Menes who became Narmer, King of Egypt. Narmer had no easy time growing up under the disapprovingly harsh scrutiny of his father, King Scorpion. Through the gentle guidance and love of Anhotek, his father’s chief scribe and shaman, Narmer prepared to ascend the throne when he reached manhood. Narmer dreamt of his future – a powerful vision that foretold he would unite lower and upper Kem into one kingdom. And it is this dream that guided him in everything he did or said.

Author Lester Picker weaves a tale full of wonder, intrigue, treachery, and betrayal – a limitless power-struggle by a lesser known king of Ancient Egypt. This indie-published novel is a pleasant surprise. I scored it high points for its level of authenticity and amount of research that went into the story to make it not only believable, but one that truly comes alive. It is well written and edited. Easy prose, lush descriptions, and well developed characters truly make the story compelling. 

The First Pharaoh is followed by a sequel entitled the Dagger of Isis, which I will review shortly. I highly recommend both books, especially for readers who love tales of Ancient Egypt.     

Friday, April 5, 2013

Georgiana Darcy's Diary by Anna Elliott



Book Blurb
Mr. Darcy's younger sister searches for her own happily-ever-after...

The year is 1814, and it's springtime at Pemberley. Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy have married. But now a new romance is in the air, along with high fashion, elegant manners, scandal, deception, and the wonderful hope of a true and lasting love.

Shy Georgiana Darcy has been content to remain unmarried, living with her brother and his new bride. But Elizabeth and Darcy's fairy-tale love reminds Georgiana daily that she has found no true love of her own. And perhaps never will, for she is convinced the one man she secretly cares for will never love her in return. Georgiana's domineering aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, has determined that Georgiana shall marry, and has a list of eligible bachelors in mind. But which of the suitors are sincere, and which are merely interested in Georgiana's fortune? Georgiana must learn to trust her heart--and rely on her courage, for she also faces the return of the man who could ruin her reputation and spoil a happy ending, just when it finally lies within her grasp.


Review


I don’t much care for fan fiction, having always felt that Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’ needs no improvement and fictional stories using her characters never quite worked. However, I found myself drawn into Georgiana Darcy’s Diary, perhaps because she is a little known-character in the original and this book brings out the wit that lies beneath the shy girl who is Fitzwilliam Darcy’s sister.

Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Georgiana’s aunt, having failed miserably to affiance her downtrodden daughter, Anne to Fitzwilliam, turns her attentions to foisting an equally vacuous, but suitably wealthy and connected husband for Georgiana.

Backed by her spirited sister-in-law, Elizabeth, Georgiana is having none of it, though she would dearly love to find a man who wants her for herself and not her ‘thirty thousand pounds’. But the only man she really wants is Cousin Edward Fitzwilliam.  

In Georgiana’s words, the reader is shown how she feels about her late parents, her childhood, and her family, including her sympathies for the colourless Anne de Bourgh, and Caroline Bingley, when neither of these ladies truly deserves it. Georgiana's shyness hides a quick and intelligent wit, and she wants good things for everyone and hates disappointing people. In fact she’s quite perfect, but I didn’t dislike her for it and wanted her to have everything she wished for. Her love for the war-wounded hero Edward was touching, as was his almost-there declarations of love for his ward which he sees are inappropriate but also undeniable.

A very satisfying love story and I shall definitely be buying Volume 2, and maybe even Volume 3 which tells the story of Kitty Bennett.

Anita Davison is a Historical Fiction Author whose latest release, ‘Royalist Rebel’ a biographical novel set in 17th Century England, is being released by Claymore Press in early 2013 under the name Anita Seymour

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