Her husband is dead. But far from grieving, young widow Lady Meriwether Sturgess feels nothing but relief and release. After enduring years of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her cruel husband, Meri is drawn to the comfort of the one place sure to offer healing both for her and her children: Rosewell Manor. The home of her beloved Aunt Annibel is the site of her happiest childhood memories, and it promises the new beginning for which she longs.
Just as she settles into life at the manor, Meri is granted a delightful surprise. Elliott Rosewell has come to stay, as he often has since childhood. Meri and Elliott had once been close friends, and each concealed long-harbored feelings for one another. Their warm relationship is quickly rekindled, and despite the sorrows and secrets they each conceal, they discover that their friendship has blossomed into love. But a relationship that seems to promise happily ever after quickly begins to unravel as devastating truths from both Meri's and Elliott's past surface, and their chance at happiness together may be lost forever ...
|Size||6 x 9|
|Published||Covenant Communications 2018|
If I ever was grateful I didn’t buy a book based on its cover, this was it. Probably one of the most stunning covers I’ve seen on a book from Covenant. The minute I saw this I knew I had to read it. Almost bought it. After all, we judge books by their cover.
I’ve not read anything by this author before surprisingly. She came recommended by a work colleague years ago in the bookstore and I’d always thought I’d give one a try. My TBR pile always so large that it took this stunning cover to break the cycle.
What can I say? I’ll start with the good. Often, the books written for this era are so cheery and light, despite the conflicts that are thrown in to stir up the trouble. That’s ok. I’m pretty cool with that. However, the main challenge throughout this book for Meri Sturgess, is domestic abuse. I actually believe the scenario to be very realistic. I’m glad when we get taken there as a reader and we explore the consequences of women’s rights in that era.
That’s where it ends. Here we go with everything I found issue with. The style of writing jumps so often to a small portion of dialogue, with the majority of the text being the author telling you what’s happening. There is zero room in this scenario to make any kind of emotional connection to the characters. That’s huge. If you remain aloof as a reader, the book is tedious. Second, the romance is settled at barely 20% of the way into the book. Third, Meri tells us how amazing it will be to go home to this place of safety, security - emotional as well as physical and yet it turns out to be anything but. As all these issues arise with the cousins, and everyone gets an one... as if we must cover all the bases. None of it gets tackled directly because there’s too much of it. Meri & Elliot discuss them all as ‘drama’ and I never truly understood the point of it.
Lastly there was very little attention to detail to historical facts.
Overall, there are so so many other authors that do this better. If you kind of liked the overall theme of the story and location, pick up Roseanna White’s - ‘The Lost Heiress’. Fantastic.
Thank you to Covenant & Netgalley for the complimentary eARC. This is my honest review.
I found the dialogue in this book very hard to listen to. I couldn’t ever get into the story.
This book is so well written. The author developed each of the characters so well you felt emotionally invested in all of the characters lives, even the background characters. I haven’t had a book I’ve read in a long time that had me laughing in one paragraph and crying in the next.
No matter how many books by Anita Stansfield I read, I'm always impressed with her ability to write compelling stories full of emotion. She also often writes about serious issues. In this book, the issue of abuse and the innumerable consequences associated with it plays a huge role in the relationships depicted in the story. The main character, Meri Sturgess, is finally free after seven long years of constant abuse from her husband, Lord Sturgess. Unwilling to spend another minute in the home she hated, Meri packs up her children and returns to the home she grew up in after her parents died. But leaving behind the memories and trauma of her abuse isn't as easy as she'd hoped. And the secrets her aunt and cousins hold create additional problems for her. But Elliott Rosewell's presence as her former best friend goes a long way in helping her find healing for herself and her children. But one big last secret might undo all she's come to treasure. Once again, Stansfield has written a compelling story with sympathetic characters with strengths and weaknesses who struggle with real-life issues.
I really enjoyed reading this one! It's not really your typical sappy romance. I liked that there was an element of romance, but the way Meri had been treated in her first marriage made things just a bit different for her as she was falling in love with the man she'd been in love with most of her life. I don't know how to explain it...it just seemed different that way.
I really loved Meri's character. I loved the way she did so many hard things for her kids. I loved the way she held everything together for them, even when she wanted to fall apart. I was pretty surprised by the revelations that she divulges as the book moved on. The reader knows that her life has been hard, but she leaves the reader in the dark just as much as she leaves Elliott in the dark about certain things and that makes the ending work so well!
I liked Elliott too. I liked the way the book switches back and forth between the two perspectives. It just gives the story a more rich feel than it otherwise would have. Elliott is such a gentleman and he really steps up to help when he is needed by Meri, her children or any of the cousins. Yet he has his own secrets that come out as the story goes along as well.
This whole book is full of secrets from almost all of the characters. I didn't realize that until just now as I'm thinking back over the plot. I loved the way the secrets are divulged and keep the plot moving along.
This book is one of my favorites by this author! I loved it!
I came across this gem on DeseretBooks. First it was an audiobook and I was staunchly opposed to an audiobook because:
I like to turn pages.
I dog ear pages as bookmarks.
I like the routine of opening a book before bed.
However, this kept popping up and again, I was NOT going to get it! But I had a conversation with myself about including more appropriate and wholesome audio in my life and listening to conference talks and religious stuff was great but I grew bored of them on my commute. And having decided that many of the books that Deseret made into audiobooks were better suited to the page and not the ear, I was determined to just stick to the fantasy of wanting to read a book sporadically when I had the time.
This cover however called me and before losing all hope with finding an audiobook that would be engaging, easy to digest, and would ignite some spark in me.
This did all of that. This is written beautifully, with imagery that you can actually envision! This was an absolute gem! The story is one we have all heard on some way and that’s the drawback of romance, there is no real original plot to be found for romance novels set in this era, but this author did not just do the Victorian unhappy marriage second chance at love new found freedom, she created a world in which you related with the characters, you felt their stories, and you were actually inspired!
It’s tough to rework something that has been done so much and make it loveable but that’s exactly what she has done. This felt familiar but at the same time, it was refreshing and new.