I only heard of AnneMarie Brear for the first time early this year, when I read and reviewed her wonderful novel The Orphan in the Peacock Shawl, so I was looking forward to reading more of her work.
The Soldier’s Daughter begins in January 1860 in the West Yorkshire village of Lylston. Evie Davenport is 23 and lives in High Lylston House with her father Major Davenport (60) and a small staff comprising of the cook Mrs. Humphry, the housemaid Fanny, the kitchen maid Lizzie, Mr. Bronson to drive the carriage and his son Colin, (18) who did odd jobs.
After being born and brought up in India, this was the second English winter she was dealing with. Near the start of the story, we are introduced to Evie’s best friend Sophie Bellingham who lives in Bellingham Hall. While Evie plans never to get married, Sophie wishes to marry Alexander Lucas. But when Evie meets Alexander, she understands the attraction…
I got into the story straight away, being interested in Evie and her life. She is a great character and one you side with straight away. I loved how she talks about political and topical issues, at a time when many women were not encouraged to express an opinion. She is a bit of a shock to the villagers, even daring to ride astride a horse, not side saddle! I loved the servants and I liked the Bellingham family too and the setting of the village and its inhabitants. Well, most of them. Mrs Myer is a nightmare!
The novel covers many different topics, including wealth, status and all it entails, including the slave trade in America at the time. It also conveys the era in a way which feels very evocative.
It is a beautiful novel, really well-written with charming characters and a story that you will be interested to follow.
The Soldier’s Daughter
‘Mesmerising from beginning to end.’ Lizzie Lane
With the heat of their beloved India far behind them, Evie Davenport and her widowed British Army officer father, are starting a new life in England. But Evie is struggling. With her dearest mother gone, Yorkshire with its cold, damp countryside and strict societal rules makes Evie feel suffocated and alone.
Her friendship with Sophie Bellingham, the gently reared daughter of a wealthy rail baron, is Evie’s only comfort. Until the arrival of local cotton mill owner, Alexander Lucas.
Newly returned from America, it is expected Alexander will marry and finally make England his home. And Sophie with her family connections and polite manners is the obvious choice.
But when Alexander meets Evie, a simmering passion ignites between them. Evie, with her rebellious spirit is like no other woman Alex has ever met, but to reject Sophie for Evie would cause a scandal and devastate everyone Evie loves.
Evie knows she must do her duty. But in doing so faces the unbearable future of being without the man she loves.
Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3n8RzDr
Author Bio –
AnneMarie Brear is the bestselling historical fiction writer of over twenty novels. She lives in the Southern Highlands in NSW, and has spent many years visiting and working in the UK. Her books are mainly set in Yorkshire, from where her family hails, and Australia, between the nineteenth century and WWI. Her first title for Boldwood was published in January 2022.
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