The Bowes Inheritance Paperback – 10 Jul 2015
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As the plot unfolded, I began to understand Nicholas Maxwell’s attitude towards Louisa Campbell, the young Irishwoman who has inherited the Bowes farm, once part of his own estate. When she first arrives, he knows only that she is the niece of former owner Jack Campbell, a man Maxwell had good reason to hate – and suspect.
The Irish connection, with Fenian bombings and gun-running involved, racked up tension and kept the pages turning. This thread highlighted the early days of the Irish fight for independence and the levels of hatred on both sides. But after all that tension and heightened emotion - and some surprising reveals about the Campbell family - I was longing for a little more passion as The Bowes Inheritance reached its conclusion. But that is a small criticism. This is a well-researched and beautifully written novel, and I shall be looking out for more by Pam Lecky.
The author creates a cast of convincing Irish and English characters, and conflicts between them. Her use of humour in their encounters adds to the reader’s enjoyment of the story. Particularly memorable is the strong main character, Louisa, who I found myself cheering on through her trials. Her sister Eleanor’s struggle with ill health adds a poignant sub-plot to the novel. Also noteworthy is Nicholas Maxwell who at first seems cold and heartless but the author deftly reveals his thoughts and motivations to create a character that the reader can understand and empathise with.
The settings are rendered as expertly as the characters, and the author vividly and convincingly depicts both the harsh reality of Dublin city life and the wonders and challenges of Cumberland farm life.
I can wholeheartedly recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys a good historical novel. It’s a thrilling and entertaining story.
This book was a little too romantic for me in its 'will they, won't they' theme but it's an interesting insight into how some Irish reacted to being accused of being Fenian as well as the working conditions for the Irish abroad. More insight into the thoughts of the working Irish as well as the 'Fenians' would been interesting too. Overall, an enjoyable read.
June Finnigan - Writer