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Harstairs House Paperback – 4 Dec 2007
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About the Author
Amanda Grange grew up reading Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer novels, which perhaps is the best preparation for a career as a romance writer. She is the author of more than 20 novels, including Mr. Knightley’s Diary and Mr. Darcy’s Diary, and lives in Cheshire, England.
Top customer reviews
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I can understand why some believe this is not as strong as her others, and although it was not my favourite, I still really enjoyed.
A very intriguing story throughout and putting the clues together to discover just why Oliver was hanging around was fun.
A great hero and heroine as always with a lovely romance at the heart of the story.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
*** The author set this romance in 1793 England on the Cornwall coast smack dab in the middle of the French Revolution and smuggling of brandy, ammunition and such on the English Channel. Building her plot around this historic time helped to make the story fast-paced and exciting, especially with this author's very well written prose and well done historical research.
One thing I was just a tad somewhat let down with was the cover description mentioning the house as being haunted - okay "purported" to be haunted - and was disappointed that this seemed a bit misleading.
Several things I enjoyed in this romance were the fact that our heroine was not a ravishing beauty, and the hero was not cast as a man who was out to ravish her. In fact if Oliver hadn't overheard Susannah commenting to her teasing companion, that she wouldn't "...marry Oliver if her life depended on it...", he very possibly wouldn't have bothered with her in the least. However, the romance was sweet and the author took pains to explain the reason's behind Oliver's broodiness.
Oliver's real reason for wanting to stay at the house was kept secret for the better part of the story and this led to the very well done intrigue aspect, even though one knows, in reading romance it's a foregone conclusion that the hero is not going to end up being the villain. That would be a twist I've never seen done, but don't worry, you will find a few surprises the author slips in.
The supporting secondary cast was adequate in shoring up both the romance and mystery, but I felt the ending to be a bit rushed. Bottom line is if you're an Austen fan, and NOT looking for steamy sex scenes in your historical romances, this is the perfect book for you.
Marilyn Rondeau, [...]
I really loved this book. I enjoyed reading about Susannah’s adventures and problems she faces once she arrives at Harstairs House. She is a brave character and never backs down when there are obstacles. Whether she is guided by love or not is not clear, because she seemed to me quite determined since the beginning, but I think love makes us stronger so when she falls in love she becomes more confident and resolute. I liked very much the relationship Susannah has with her fake companion, Constance. She is a precious ally for Susannah and surely a person she can rely on.
Talking about the hero... I am always pleased to read about men like Oliver Bristow. I have a huge soft spot for this kind of hero. He is strong and determined but also tender and vulnerable. He reminded me of another amazing character I loved very much: Henry Weston from “The Tutor’s daughter” by Julie Klassen. I daresay they have many things in common, above all their willpower and their big heart.
The only thing I liked less was the rushed ending. I was like: “What?! This is the end??” Just for a moment I thought my copy missed some pages, or at least the final sentences. But then I realized there was nothing wrong with my book. I would have preferred something more. Despite everything was explained I wanted to see more, maybe the reactions and feelings of the other characters. It would have been fun.
All in all I cannot give less than five stars because the story is perfect. Many themes are developed. There is mystery, love, friendship, betrayal and hope and when you have all these things together you cannot but love the novel. That is why I gladly recommend!
Of course she accepts and travels there with Constance Morton, who was employed as Mrs. Russell's companion.
Upon arrival she discovers Oliver Bristow, who says he is the tenant and most certainly is not about to move out.
Thus the stage is set for rollicking adventure, as these two circle each other in mutual suspicion, attraction and plotting.
This is a good read, carrying one along at a fast pace. Both Susannah and Oliver are believable and likable characters. Oliver, of course has many secrets that are slowly revealed.
The only trouble was some of the over-the-top plot points. The introduction of the pursuing Captain of Militia and his murky motives was, frankly, unbelievable and the premise had more holes than a Swiss cheese.
Enjoyable nonetheless. Just don't think too much about the holes.