16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 21 June 2009
Total rubbish. I admit to a DNF and let me give you just a few examples from the opening chapters to explain why:
1 - The author(s) haven't any feel for the geographical setting of this book which revolves around slavery. For a start, although slaves could be brought into Britain in 1772, they could not be bought or sold; they could be brought into the country only as personal servants - indeed, admittedly there was a fashion to have young black pages but many of them were not slaves but were servants and freemen. Also, in 1772 (the year in which the book opens) the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Mansfield, made a ruling under common law that "the condition of slavery did not exist under English law in England". Therefore, much of the premise of the book is quite inaccurate and to me, therefore, unacceptable. I could see that in Jamaica the heroine's late husband could be a nasty man but I can't believe he could have got away with holding slaves and mistreating them in England itself.
2 - Titles. A personal hobby horse but please note that a wife of "Squire Jones" is not Lady Jones; squire itself is not a "title" of any sort - it merely refers to an owner of a substantial property for farming purposes in the countryside. The hero's mother, a dowager countess, is introduced in the first chapter as "Lady Archibald Pennington, Countess of Aytoun. Her given name is Beatrice". I haven't the first clue what the authors were doing here but it is completely wrong. As I and others have noted in reviews, why get things 100% wrong when 5 minutes looking at the internet would put your right? Do authors actually prefer making a mess of this sort of thing? Why write about titled people in a country you apparently know little about and thus make a complete bodge of it? I just don't get it.
3 - Attempts at dialect/accent. Having all characters not of the gentry/aristocracy continually use "ye" in conversation is silly beyond words since the authors have both Scots and English servants do it when their accents and dialects would have huge differences.
4 - The solicitors (not lawyers in England) are "Sirs". Baronets or knights? Really? In the 18th century solicitors or barristers were generally middle class (sometimes younger sons of the lesser aristocracy) and untitled (so not baronets) and certainly not knighted for their profession. It does not take much research to establish that.
5 - Field hands. Maybe on slave plantations in America but in England those who work in the fields are called farm workers, estate workers, cowmen, ploughmen, shepherds, or labourers but not field hands. Also, trying to make an English country estate akin to a plantation in Georgia is so irritating that I could not take it any longer and so began to contemplate a DNF.
6 - The drugged hero. He has family who love him but they seemed to have no compunction in drugging him into a continual stupor. I am afraid I just did not care enough by the 5th chapter to pursue this any further.
Finally, OK - I admit I could not persist in this. The writing style is grating (perhaps because there is more than one hand in it) and the attention to period and historical detail was not at all high quality. As much as I dislike giving a bad review, I hope I've given enough detail above to show why I could not get interested enough to read this.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 March 2013
I enjoyed this book despite some historical facts being a bit askew. I tend to read a novel giving the writer some poetic licence in the historical facts side of things.
The heroine makes decisions I felt were do-able and probably were decisions that many of us would make.
1. She was a widow wanting to put right the things her cruel husband had done to others in the best way she could.
2. Being up to her neck in the debts of her late husband she was in no position to refuse the offer from the Dowager Countess, plus it would have been stupid to refuse. Pride goeth before a fall.
3. She coped in the best way she could with her new husbands foul moods, as any of us would have done.
I liked the way it was written and the storyline kept me turning the page.
When people read a good historical fiction romance, please give some poetic licence to the writers. It allows for a good story to be woven without the writer having to stick rigidly to the facts.