My reading has been all over the board lately and for some reason this year I’m way ahead in my reading. Usually I’m finishing the book I’m reviewing a day or two before the review is due. This year I’m a month ahead! Where this strange ramble is leading is that Forsaking All Other by Catherine Meyrick fell in between some non traditional reads for me. I was glad to find myself back in familiar territory with a historical fiction book. I thank Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for sending me a free copy for my honest review.
About Forsaking All Other:
Publication Date: April 1, 2018
eBook & Print; 291 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
Love is no game for women; the price is far too high.
Bess Stoughton, waiting woman to the well-connected Lady Allingbourne, has discovered that her father is arranging for her to marry an elderly neighbour. Normally obedient Bess rebels and wrests from her father a year’s grace to find a husband more to her liking.
Edmund Wyard, a taciturn and scarred veteran of England’s campaign in Ireland, is attempting to ignore the pressure from his family to find a suitable wife as he prepares to join the Earl of Leicester’s army in the Netherlands.
Although Bess and Edmund are drawn to each other, they are aware that they can have nothing more than friendship. Bess knows that Edmund’s wealth and family connections place him beyond her reach. And Edmund, with his well-honed sense of duty, has never considered that he could follow his own wishes. Until now.
With England on the brink of war and fear of Catholic plots extending even into Lady Allingbourne’s household, time is running out for both of them.
You can read the first chapter here.
The beautiful cover for the novel was designed by Jennifer Quinlan of Historical Fiction Book Covers.
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About the Author:
Catherine Meyrick is a writer of historical fiction with a particular love of Elizabethan England. Her stories weave fictional characters into the gaps within the historical record – tales of ordinary people who are very much men and women of their time, yet in so many ways not unlike ourselves.
Although she grew up in regional Victoria, Australia, she has lived all her adult life in Melbourne. She has worked as a nurse, a tax assessor and finally a librarian. She has a Master of Arts in history and is also a family history obsessive.
Elizabethan England was not the best of times to be a woman. At least not a woman of the middling upper class. Bess is a young widow who is serving a well born woman and is happy in that role. She is suddenly called home after her stepmother has a hard birthing. She and her stepmother did not get along as Bess was at a difficult age to lose her mother and saw this new woman as an interloper. While home her father informs her that she is to marry the old and decrepit neighbor as he lusts after a piece of land that this man owns. Bess objects but her father basically tells her tough nuts.
Given that in this day a woman without means either belonged to her father or her husband Bess has little choice in the matter but she finds a surprise ally and makes her escape. She does tell her father that if she cannot find a match within a year she will come home and marry the lecher next door.
Bess goes back to the household and tries to be calm and set about finding a husband but she soon learns that a woman without a dowry is pretty much screwed. Ultimately she does meet a man and as with all storybook romances they don’t like each other at first but do intrigue each other to distraction. Edward is a noble who also feels constrained by his role with a mother who wants to run his life.
So what we have is your basic romance novel wrapped up in Elizabethan ribbons. But those ribbons make the book a far better read than the typical tale. The history is well researched and added in to the mix is the mess that was the Catholic/Protestant fears of the time. It all makes for a book well grounded in its time and place with strong characters and an entertaining tale. There is nothing groundbreaking in the plot and there are a few small holes but nothing that kept me from thoroughly enjoying the book.
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