- Paperback: 544 pages
- Publisher: Pan; Main Market Ed. edition (24 Oct. 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 033054344X
- ISBN-13: 978-0330543446
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.3 x 19.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 376,838 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
A Divided Inheritance Paperback – 24 Oct 2013
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'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'
A family divided by fortune. A country divided by faith.See all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
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.
Other plusses for Deborah Swift's book:
The characters, especially the two main ones, are unpredictable, real people, who grow during the story; the ending is not obviously forseeable; the insights into the art of swordsmanship are fascinating.
Author of "The Slant", "The Drop" and "Valeddom - Mercury Awaits"
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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 morePublished 20 months ago by Lynne Spreen
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 morePublished on 25 Feb. 2015 by Mrs Lois Best
Deborah Swift's latest novel is a tight, complex and wide ranging story of intrigue and family love. Read morePublished on 26 Feb. 2014 by Peter Fisher
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 morePublished on 16 Jan. 2014 by CAROL MCGRATH
This 3rd novel by Deborah Swift is the best yet. The pace moves you on and the characters draw you into the story. Read morePublished on 3 Dec. 2013 by JR
A Divided Inheritance is set initially in Jacobean England when distrust of family, neighbour and friend had reached its zenith. Read more
Early-1600 London and Seville come alive as Deborah Swift skillfully weaves fiction and fact into a story about identity. Read morePublished on 30 Oct. 2013 by Ann Weisgarber