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A Divided Inheritance Paperback – 24 Oct 2013

5.0 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Product details

  • 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)
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Product description

Review

'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.

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By Terry Tyler TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 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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Format: Kindle Edition
Ms Swift's third book is by far the best, which is certainly saying something as the first two were crackers. A combination of a fast paced plot and engaging characters makes Divided Inheritance un-putdownable. The historical detail is slipped into each scene naturally so as not to intrude on the action and as always, you experienced Jacobean London rather than read about it. Fantastic and I look forward to Ms Swifts the next book with eagerness.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The bare textbook statement that "The Moriscos were expelled from Spain in 1609" has now been brought to life for me. Paradoxically, the tragedy does not destroy the magic of Spain or the aura of the Golden Age; it enhances its brilliance with sinister contrast.
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.

Robert Gibson
Author of "The Slant", "The Drop" and "Valeddom - Mercury Awaits"
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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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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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