The synopsis on the back of the book:
Love is no game for women; the price is far too high.
Bess Stoughton, waiting woman to the well-connected Lady Allingbourne, has discovered that her father is arranging for her to marry an elderly neighbour. Normally obedient Bess rebels and wrests from her father a year’s grace to find a husband more to her liking.
Edmund Wyard, a taciturn and scarred veteran of England’s campaign in Ireland, is attempting to ignore the pressure from his family to find a suitable wife as he prepares to join the Earl of Leicester’s army in the Netherlands.
Although Bess and Edmund are drawn to each other, they are aware that they can have nothing more than friendship. Bess knows that Edmund’s wealth and family connections place him beyond her reach. And Edmund, with his well-honed sense of duty, has never considered that he could follow his own wishes. Until now.
With England on the brink of war and fear of Catholic plots extending even into Lady Allingbourne’s household, time is running out for both of them.
You can read the first chapter here.
The beautiful cover for the novel was designed by Jennifer Quinlan of Historical Fiction Book Covers.
- Publication Date: April 1, 2018
- Courante Publishing
- eBook & Print; 291 Pages
- Genre: Historical Fiction
Why I Chose This Book
I am part of the Historical Fiction Book Tour program. When I was sent an email about this book, I knew I had to read it. I always love a good story set during Tudor times.
First Initial Thoughts
First off, how gorgeous is this cover?! I really liked the fact that the main lady on the cover (which I am assuming is Bess) is dressed in the traditional wear of that time. It gave me confidence that this was going to be a well researched and historical book.
Bess is a young woman who is a waiting woman for Lady Allingbourne. When returns home for a visit she is surprised to learn that her father has arranged a marriage between her and her elderly neighbor, Master Litchfield. Yep- an elderly man - old enough to be her grandfather. The part in the story when they first talk alone with each other, and the description Bess gives Master Litchfield, and his reaction towards her, let's just say....
Girl, I don't blame you for running away back to Lady Allingbourne. I grew attached to Bess right away. She was a dutiful daughter but she also wanted a life of her own. She didn't want to marry a man she did not love. She was spunky and intelligent. She was not a typical woman of that time who just desired to marry and have children. She wanted more.
Edmund is a young man who is pressured to marry from her mother. However, he wants none of it. He would rather fulfill a military life. He also didn't find any attraction towards the women his mother picked. He didn't find them wanting to be spontaneous or engage in an intellectual conversation.
What I love about this book is the historical accuracy. Catherine really did her research about the particular time period. You get a good visual sense of what it was really like during that time, and I appreciated that!
This story emphasizes the hardships woman had to go through during this time. They often had to marry for financial or political reasons. They also got married very young, around age 14-15. I couldn't imagine living that kind of life.
I really liked Bess and Edmund's love story. I found that it wasn't steamy or the typical romance, but one of trust, admiration, and warming. Bess was just the woman Edmund wanted. Their first meeting was kind of hilarious and I cherished those pages!
Even though this story was a fictional one, the historical occurrences were true. During this time England was on the brink of war and the terror of the Papist. It was a time when both Catholics and Protestants were tortured and punished. It was a fearful time and tumultuous time.
I appreciated that it wasn't strictly a romance story. There was political intrigue with daily Tudor life in the court and countryside. I always enjoy a rich engaging story, and this was it!
Would I Recommend?
Yes definitely! Although this isn't a Christian historical fiction, it is still a clean read. I would rate it a PG-13. I absolutely enjoyed this story and think that anybody interested in this time period would love this story as swell.
About The Author
Catherine Meyrick is a writer of historical fiction with a particular love of Elizabethan England. Her stories weave fictional characters into the gaps within the historical record – tales of ordinary people who are very much men and women of their time, yet in so many ways not unlike ourselves.
Although she grew up in regional Victoria, Australia, she has lived all her adult life in Melbourne. She has worked as a nurse, a tax assessor and finally a librarian. She has a Master of Arts in history and is also a family history obsessive.
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