Broken hearts and broken bones are just a fact of life in a Gin Palace, but for orphan Dolly, the Crown is her last hope.
After the death of her mother, Dolly ran away from her sleazy step father Arthur, only to find herself living on the streets. When Jack discovers her hiding in the back yard of The Crown, he persuades his mother Nellie Larkin, to take Dolly in.
But Dolly has a secret – a very valuable secret – and Arthur is determined to get his clutches on her at any cost. And when local hard-man Ezra Morton joins in the hunt, the Larkins may have to risk everything to keep Dolly safe…
I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Set in the Victorian era, this historical saga encapsulates the danger, depravity and dire circumstances the majority of the Victorian population endured. Despite this, the sense of community survives, and this is evident in this story.
Nellie runs a Gin Palace, which is well patronised by the local community, her young son Jack, friend Nancy, and Poppy, help her run it. The hours are long, the work is hard, and the atmosphere less than conducive for children, but there is food on the table, somewhere safe and warm to sleep, and love and understanding, which is more than most have. When Jack finds a young girl running away from an abusive step-father, he befriends her and soon she is part of the delightful, dysfunctional family.
The setting is atmospheric and vividly described, and lets you experience the sights smells and uproar of the gin palace. The characters are well crafted, it reminded me of Fagin’s boys and Nancy in Oliver, even though the children here are spared a life of crime. The camaraderie and banter draw you into their lives. The plot is simple but effective. It lets the characters shine, whilst delivering a smartly paced, suspenseful plot, that keeps you turning the pages.
The villains are what you’d expect in the Victorian era, and they threaten Nellie’s family and her livelihood. The story is the perfect length, encompassing, the sense of family, place and time, even though it is shorter than most sagas of this type.
Female characters take the lead in this story, which delivers an engaging family drama, amidst the sights sounds and smells of Victorian England.
Lindsey Hutchinson is a bestselling saga author whose novels include The Workhouse Children. She was born and raised in Wednesbury and was always destined to follow in the footsteps of her mother, the multi-million selling Meg Hutchinson.
Holding the letter in trembling hands, Daisy’s future crumbled before her – the words engraved on her heart forever.
The village of Little Creek, the long winter of 1867
The first flakes of snow are falling when Daisy Marshall, secretly engaged to her master’s son, finds herself jilted at the altar.
Heartbroken, Daisy flees to the small village of Little Creek, nestled on the coast of Essex. There she is warmly welcomed – but the village is poverty-stricken, suffering under a cruel Lord of the manor. And when cholera hits, the villagers are truly in dire straits.
Determined to help, Daisy makes new friends in earnest doctor Nicholas and dashing smuggler Jay – but also dangerous new enemies, who threaten to destroy everything she’s built. Can Daisy save the village and find happiness in time for Christmas?
I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins UK – Harper Fiction via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
A well researched historical saga, of family drama, mystery, poverty and romance. The social divide apparent in Victorian England is explored here.
Daisy, a governess lives in no man’s land, somewhere between upstairs and downstairs. In love with the heir to the household, she hopes her position will be confirmed, but he lets her down, and she returns home, heartbroken and unemployed.Moving to a small Essex village with her family, she feels at home, but the cruelty of the ruling classes blights the villagers’ lives who live in fear, poverty and squalor.
Daisy finds friendship and a warm community, but evil lurks and threatens the life she builds. This is a detailed, passionate tale of Victorian life, which draws you in, as the descriptive writing and authentic characters bring this era of change to life.
A festive start, to what promises to be a riveting series for romantic saga devotees.
1862 Young widow Eugénie is left bereft when her husband dies suddenly and faces an uncertain future in Guernsey. A further tragedy brings her to the attention of Monsieur Victor Hugo, living in exile on the island in his opulent house only yards away from Eugénie’s home. Their meeting changes her life and she becomes his copyist, forming a strong friendship with both Hugo and his mistress, Juliette Drouet.
2012 Doctor Tess Le Prevost, Guernsey-born though now living in Exeter, is shocked to inherit her Great-Aunt’s house on the island. As a child, she was entranced by Doris’s tales of their ancestor, Eugénie, whose house this once was, and who, according to family myth, was particularly close to Hugo. Was he the real father of her child? Tess is keen to find out and returning to the island presents her with the ideal opportunity.
Will she discover the truth about Eugénie and Hugo? A surprise find may hold the answer as Tess embraces new challenges which test her strength – and her heart.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
A delightful mix of contemporary and Victorian life on Guernsey, with colourfully described historical details, and an engaging contemporary story full of romance, friendship and family drama.
Tess unexpectedly inherits an old house on Guernsey where she spent her childhood, Visiting her inheritance, she is drawn to the rundown house and being at a crossroads in her life decides to renovate and make Guernsey her home again.
Characters from previous stories make cameo appearances, but the story is standalone. The story slips between 2012 and Victorian times, told from Tess and Eugenie’s points of view. Both stories are complex and interesting, and there is a historical mystery for Tess to solve.
The story features a real historical figure, although the story is fictional, his presence as a character adds authenticity and depth.
Domestic abuse is a primary theme in this book, and it serves to highlight, its prevalence, and the differences and similarities between contemporary and Victorian women, in abusive relationships.
The storytelling is enthralling, the setting vividly described and the connections between the past and present meaningful. A lovely mix of believable characters and a realistic but hopeful ending make reading ‘The Inheritance’, a lovely way to spend an afternoon.
Guest Post – Anne Allen – The Inheritance
I would like to start by thanking Jane for
allowing me space on her lovely blog, to talk about my latest offering in The
Guernsey Novels series.
This book marks a slight change of direction for
me in that instead of referencing the German Occupation in Guernsey as in my
previous books, I go further back in time to the late 19th C and we
meet the famous writer, Victor Hugo. It may not be widely known, but he spent
fifteen years in Guernsey while in exile from France, having fallen out with
Emperor Napoleon III. He arrived, complete with his wife, children, mistress
and various other exiles, in October 1855. Hugo had already been kicked out of
Jersey, his port of call, for rude comments about Queen Victoria. The Guernsey
view was that if Jersey didn’t want him, he must be worth having!
The inspiration behind my book was Hugo’s house,
Hauteville House, in St Peter Port. It’s one of a kind – opulent, over the top,
full of quirky features like oak panels carved by Hugo himself, and with a
rooftop eerie made from steel and glass where he wrote his novels and poems. I
have visited it a couple of times, both when I lived there and two years ago
when the idea for this book first surfaced. It is exactly how it was in Hugo’s
day and his descendants gifted it to France some years ago and a French flag
flies outside to proclaim it as French territory. My last visit was just in
time as the house has been closed for nearly two years for extensive
renovation, re-opening on 7th April just before my book is
Hugo finished writing his most famous work here, Les Misérables, as well as several more novels and collections of poetry. In my book, my character, Eugénie, a young French woman living yards away from Hugo, has a life-changing encounter with him and becomes his copyist. No computers or typewriters around then! His mistress, Juliette Drouet, also helped with the copying and the two women became close. Eugénie, recently widowed, has inherited her husband’s family home but has no income and working for Hugo is her salvation. My story is dual-time and the in the modern part, my character, Tess, is a Guernsey-born doctor now living in Devon and she unexpectedly inherits what was Eugénie’s house from her great-aunt in 2012. There has long been a family myth that Hugo and Eugénie were particularly close and that he may have been the father of her child when she remarried. I had to be very careful about this aspect of the story as Hugo’s descendants still have an apartment in Hauteville House and do visit Guernsey regularly. How to avoid upsetting people! Although he was a known womanizer, as far as is known Hugo had no illegitimate children.
Anne Allen lives in Devon, by her beloved sea. She has three children, and her daughter and two grandchildren live nearby. Her restless spirit has meant a number of moves which included Spain for a couple of years. The longest stay was in Guernsey for nearly fourteen years after falling in love with the island and the people. She contrived to leave one son behind to ensure a valid reason for frequent returns.
By profession, Anne was a psychotherapist, but long had the itch to write. Now a full-time writer, she has written The Guernsey Novels, seven having been published. The books form a series, but each one is a standalone story with links to other books and characters. Although not originally planned, Anne is, in effect, writing a saga of Guernsey; featuring numerous characters and stories covering the German Occupation, Victorian Guernsey and the present day. A mix of family drama, mystery and love, the books have a wide appeal to readers of all ages.
The start of The Lochmore Legacy – A Scottish castle through the ages! Earl’s daughter Flora McCrieff brought shame on her family once, now she discovers she must wed impossibly rich but low born Lachlan McNeill. He’s undeniably handsome, but a man of few words. Despite the attraction that burns between them, can she reach beyond his impeccable clothing to find the emotions he’s locked away for so long…?
I received a copy of this book from Mills and Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Set mainly in the Scottish Highlands and West coast, this story is full of rich imagery that makes it easy to visualise both the setting and the time period this story is set in.
The slums of Glasgow and Edinburgh form part of the story, and the poverty and deprivation found there in Victorian times, set against the riches of the lairds and the aristocracy is one of the elements covered in this interesting story.
This is the first story in the Lochmore Legacy, which written by four different historical romance authors travels back through time, exploring the secrets of the legacy. This story touches on the secrets, with a discovery made by the heroine Flora, and the feud that exists between two clans.
The romance element predominates as expected, and is based on a marriage of convenience trope. Flora’s youth and beauty are her family’s way out of financial ruin. Her father is dictatorial, and she has little choice in the man she marries. Her previous actions embroiled the family in a scandal, and so she is given no choice in marrying the second suitor her father presents her with.
There is a physical attraction between Flora and Lachlan but he is mostly withdrawn and refuses to engage with her emotionally. The reasons for this, Flora gradually discovers, as she loses her heart to her husband. Flora’s strength of character and her emancipation, set against the social strictures of the time lead to inevitable conflict. Lachlan is a philanthropist motivated by his roots and his secrets, he is more enlightened than the majority of men in Victorian society.
This is a romantic story set against a background of social deprivation and social divide. The characters are believable, and the hero and heroine are easy to empathise. This is a complex story, showcasing an interesting time in history.
The added dimension of the secrets of the Lochmore Legacy makes this an enjoyable, historically based romance.
An Allied at the Altar story: after an abusive marriage, Sofia is struggling to find acceptance in Society. So when dashing Viscount Taunton needs her investment for his business, she’s surprised by his strong, supportive nature.
In Conall’s arms, she discovers true pleasure. Yet to fully leave her past behind, Sofia must consider Conall’s offer of his full protection – in the form of wedding vows!
Set in Victorian England, this is an ‘allied at the altar’, historical romance trope, with emotional depth, passion and a heroine and hero who epitomise the enterprise of this era.
Conall, the new Viscount Taunton, has to repair the family estate, which is almost bankrupt after his father’s death. He devises an entrepreneurial scheme to rejuvenate the family coffers and keep the estate workers employed but an outside investor is vital to its success.
Sofia is divorced and ostracised by society, except for her acquaintance with a Duke’s daughter. She meets Conall through this mutual connection and the chance of a business alliance brings the couple together. Sofia’s past threatens to destabilise her new life and only Conall can help her, but can she trust him?
A well layered, suspenseful plot, and complex easy to empathise characters make this very readable. The historical details add authenticity and the story’s passion and romance are emotionally grounded and believable.
A lovely alternative to the glamour of Regency romance.
I received a copy of this book via Mills and Boon via NetGalley in return for an honest review.