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A Divided Inheritance [Kindle Edition]

Deborah Swift
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £7.99
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Book Description

a classy, compelling adventure story and a true journey of discovery. Lancashire Evening Post

 ~ LONDON 1609 ~ 

Elspet Leviston's greatest ambition is to continue the success of her father Nathaniel's lace business. 

But her dreams are thrown into turmoil with the arrival of her mysterious cousin Zachary Deane - who has his own designs on Leviston's Lace. 

Zachary is a dedicated swordsman with a secret past that seems to invite trouble. 
So Nathaniel sends him on a Grand Tour, away from the distractions of Jacobean London.

Elspet believes herself to be free of her hot-headed relative but when Nathaniel dies her fortunes change dramatically. She is forced to leave her beloved home and go in search of Zachary - determined to claim back from him the inheritance that is rightfully hers. 

Under the searing Spanish sun, Elspet and Zachary become locked in a battle of wills. But these are dangerous times and they are soon embroiled in the roar and sweep of something far more threatening, sending them both on an unexpected journey of discovery which finally unlocks the true meaning of family . . .

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Product Description


'Women's Fiction at its best' History and Women

‘Beautifully written’ Freda Lightfoot

‘Swift, who understands the power of details, shows a side of London that is rarely seen in historical fiction . . . a compelling and often heartbreaking story’ Ann Weisgarber, Orange Shortlisted author of The Personal History of Rachel DuPree

'Riveting narrative' For the Love of Books

'Utterly captivating' Karen Maitland, author of The Owl Killers

A true gem. It has a pacy storyline, the characters are complex, intriguing and often unexpected - and it is packed with fascinating historical fact (Gabrielle Kimm, author of His Last Duchess Gabrielle Kimm, author of His Last Duchess)

'The past comes alive through impeccable research, layers of intriguing plotline, an understanding of the complexities of 17th century politics and the sheer power of descriptive prose.

Add to all this Swift's rich characterisation and subtle evocation of a period of religious upheaval and you have a classy, compelling adventure story and a true journey of discovery'

(Lancashire Evening Post)

Book Description

A family divided by fortune. A country divided by faith.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1741 KB
  • Print Length: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; Main Market Ed. edition (24 Oct. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00CYM19CA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #234,082 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

I live in North Lancashire on the edge of the Lake District, an area made famous by the Romantic Poets such as Wordsworth and Coleridge. I'm a bookaholic and I read widely - contemporary and classic fiction as well as historical novels.

In the past I used to work as a set and costume designer for theatre and TV, so I enjoy the research aspect of creating historical fiction, something I loved doing as a scenographer. Each book takes about six months of research before I am ready to begin writing. More details of my research and writing process can be found on my website.

I took an MA in Creative Writing in 2007 and now teach classes and courses in writing, and offer editorial advice from my home.
My books are:
The Lady's Slipper (shortlisted for the Impress Prize)
The Gilded Lily
A Divided Inheritance
Shadow on the Highway (part I of the Highway Trilogy for teens)

The photograph is by Jonathan Bean Photography.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant Historical Novel 25 Oct. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
The novel is set in London in 1609 for the first part of the book; it opens with introducing us to Magdalena and her sons; she is dying and is concerned for her sons future in particular her son Zachary. The older two brothers are spiteful to Zachary and Magdalena is worried that when she dies he will not be able to care for himself like the others or worse end up in trouble. When Magdalena dies she instructs Zachary to seek out his real father to take care of him.

We then switch to the Leviston family who own a Lace business run by Nathaniel Leviston and assisted by his daughter Elspet. Nathaniel's wife is dead and Elspet is his only child who runs the home and helps with the business much like a son might have done had he had one.

The business occupies much of Elspet's time but she loves being involved and being close to her father. Quite out of the blue Zachary arrives who Nathaniel says is his sisters child, she has died and he is going to take him in. Elspet is suspicious of Zachary from the start and is concerned that her father has never mentioned him before, however she has no control over the situation and has to accept his presence. It's not long before Nathaniel is involving him more and more in the business but Elspet knows he has no real interest in it, he is always getting into fights and causing concern. Because of this she suggests he is educated more into the business and Nathaniel hits on the idea of sending him on a grand tour overseas away from the distractions of London.

Deborah Swift has great descriptive abilities, she is wonderful at creating the scene and the feel for Jacobean London and that of her characters. She expertly weaves the plot together introducing characters as she goes along that fall seamlessly into the story.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that deserves to be far better known 27 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Why am I not seeing this book piled high in bookshops? It's easily the equal of historical novels that are flying off the shelves at the moment and garnering all sorts of praise. Maybe it's the cover - it's certainly unrepresentative of what's inside. Where do we get the impression of how swashbuckling this novel is, how it's going to sweep you to the heat and sun-bleached colours of seventeenth century Spain, how it's going to take you into the equally intriguing world of the elite swordsmen of Seville and its Morisco - its converted Muslim - population?

There is so much to like about this book, especially once Elspet manages to escape from the stultifying confines of a woman's life in seventeenth century London for the wonders of Spain. Expectations are subverted very neatly and, without breaking faith with the reader, Deborah Swift takes her narrative in directions we might not have predicted.

To really succeed a historical novel needs two things, for me: a narrative voice that manages to suggest the period without descending into pastiche and characters who are of their time. Deborah Swift excels in both these areas. Add to that historical details which don't overwhelm the reader but support the understanding of the world being created and this is a book to be relished.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deborah Swift's Best Novel Yet 30 Oct. 2013
Early-1600 London and Seville come alive as Deborah Swift skillfully weaves fiction and fact into a story about identity. Centering the novel around lacemaking and swordplay, Swift brilliantly captures an era when ancestry determines one's place in society. A daughter is denied ownership of the family business, an imposter takes what is not his, and the faithful must hide their religious beliefs.

With precise pacing and an eye to detail, Swift transports us from the personal to the larger world of prejudice against Moriscos in Spain. There is much to admire in this novel - the crisp writing, the fully-realized characters -- but it's Swift sensitive and vivid portrayal of Moriscos that especially sets this novel apart.

A Divided Inheritance achieves what all stellar historical fiction must: through the voices of imagined characters, the reader learns important history lessons that linger and haunt long after the book is finished.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Historical Novel You'll Read This Year 8 Oct. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Readers of Deborah Swift's first two novels The Lady's Slipper and The Gilded Lily will have high expectations of her latest book - and they will not be disappointed. A Divided Inheritance is simply outstanding - the richness of the characterisation, the detailed and richly evocative picture of early 17th century London and Spain, make this a novel to be treasured. The plot strand about the expulsion of the Moriscos from Spain is one rarely covered in historical fiction, and is shown here with heartbreaking intensity, and the scenes in the Spanish fencing school are a delight.

Reviewers have compared Deborah Swift's work to Philippa Gregory, and it would be well deserved if she were to enjoy similar success.

For many years my favourite historical novel has been Sharon Penman's The Sunne in Splendour; A Divided Inheritance deserves to be mentioned in the same breath.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular 6 April 2015
Format:Kindle Edition
What a story! A masterpiece indeed.

A Divided Inheritance starts off in London, where Elspet Leviston finds herself usurped in her father's eyes by the appearance, out of nowhere, of her cousin, Zachary Deane. The story travels to Spain in the time when Muslims were being persecuted and driven out of their country, not a period of history I knew anything about, though this didn't matter as I soon picked up exactly what was going on; however, there's a brief history at the back of the book that you might like to read first.

There were so many elements about this story that I loved, not least of all Deborah Swift's clearly intricate research and wonderful storytelling capability. It's got the lot: the bleakness of life for a young woman in the slightly impoverished middle classes, the marriage forced on her for business expansion, followed by Elspet's personal growth when she is thrown outside her secure, limited existence, tested in ways that make her alter her entire outlook on life. The story takes the reader from the dark alleys of London to the bright colour of 17th century Seville, and I loved the multi-faceted Zachary, in many ways the villain of the tale but so beautifully painted that I rooted for him throughout.

With lost love, double dealing, desperate flight in terrible circumstances and the horror of religious persecution, this is terrific, unusual novel that I think puts Deborah Swift right up there with the best and well known historical fiction writers. Highly, highly recommended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Story
What an epic! I enjoyed this from the very beginning. Particularly liked the aspect of a smart young woman trying to respect the repressive culture in which she is maturing, yet... Read more
Published 11 days ago by Lynne Spreen
5.0 out of 5 stars Finished reading at 3am!
This is the third of Deborah Swift's books I have read. Deborah has a canny knack of painting pictures with words and, reading A Divided Inheritance, I found myself completely... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Mrs Lois Best
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant historical novel
Deborah Swift's latest novel is a tight, complex and wide ranging story of intrigue and family love. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Peter Fisher
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Novel
Divided Inheritance is a fabulous read. Deborah Swift's other two novels set in the seventeenth century, The Lady's Slipper and The Gilded Lily, are thoroughly enjoyable books,... Read more
Published 19 months ago by CAROL MCGRATH
5.0 out of 5 stars Bringing to life Spain's Golden Age
The bare textbook statement that "The Moriscos were expelled from Spain in 1609" has now been brought to life for me. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Robert Gibson
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read
Ms Swift's third book is by far the best, which is certainly saying something as the first two were crackers. Read more
Published 21 months ago by Jean Fullerton
5.0 out of 5 stars Involving, difficult to put down
This 3rd novel by Deborah Swift is the best yet. The pace moves you on and the characters draw you into the story. Read more
Published 21 months ago by JR
5.0 out of 5 stars Good historical fiction...
London 1609...

A Divided Inheritance is set initially in Jacobean England when distrust of family, neighbour and friend had reached its zenith. Read more
Published 21 months ago by jaffareadstoo
5.0 out of 5 stars A Divided Inheritance
This is one of those novels which, as well as having a pacey storyline and complex and intriguing characters, is packed with fascinating historical fact. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Bookworm
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