I received a free copy of The Valley from TLC Book Tours for my honest review.
About the Book:
- Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (July 19, 2016)
- Publication Date: July 19, 2016
Left suddenly penniless, the Honorable Sophia Grafton, a viscount’s orphaned daughter, sails to the New World to claim the only property left to her name: a tobacco plantation in the remote wilds of colonial Virginia. Enlisting the reluctant assistance of a handsome young French spy—at gunpoint— she gathers an unlikely group of escaped slaves and indentured servants, each seeking their own safe haven in the untamed New World.
What follows will test her courage and that of her companions as they struggle to survive a journey deep into a hostile wilderness and eventually forge a community of homesteads and deep bonds that will unite them for generations.
The first installment in an epic historical trilogy by Helen Bryan, the bestselling author of War Brides and The Sisterhood, The Valley is a sweeping, unforgettable tale of hardship, tenacity, love, and heartache.
About the Author:
Helen Bryan is a Virginia native who grew up in Tennessee. After graduating from Barnard College, she moved to England, where she studied law and was a barrister for ten years before devoting herself to writing full-time.
A member of the Inner Temple, Bryan is the author of four previous books: the World War II novel War Brides; the historical novel The Sisterhood; the biography Martha Washington: First Lady of Liberty, which won an Award of Merit from the Colonial Dames of America; and the legal handbook Planning Applications and Appeals. The Valley is the first in a planned trilogy based on her childhood stories of ancestors who settled in Virginia and Maryland before Tennessee became a state.
Bryan resides in London with her family.
You can follow The Valley Tour Schedule
I do love a big, doorstopper of a book! They are few and far between these days – I don’t know why I don’t see many books of 500+ pages any longer but I miss them. Granted this book could have used a healthy edit that would have probably brought it under 500 pages but there is a solid story in it if you have the patience to wade through the fluff.
I’ve long noted my lack of reading and knowledge of the history of my own country so when presented with this book that offered me a glimpse into the beginnings of the settlement of Virginia I thought it would be a deep read about that topic. Turns out that a solid third of the book takes place in England setting up way more back story for the heroine than is really necessary. The author does have an eye for detail – painstaking detail of the kind that really isn’t necessary to the ultimate story but somewhere in all of that detail one finds bits and pieces that drive the tale forward.
The story is ostensibly about the settlement of a valley in Virginia. It ends up being the only unencumbered property that our heroine, Lady Sophia Grafton has after her father dies. So of course she up and leaves all she knows and high tails it to the colonies to find this tobacco farm and run it. I’ll just leave that there – a sheltered English girl heading to the colonies to run a tobacco farm. Oh, without using slaves because she doesn’t believe in them. In fact she ends up running off with some and they become the best of friends. Equals in fact. In 18th century Virginia.
All of the anachronisms aside it gets even more interesting in the last chapters when time advances, new characters appear as if from the sky and the reader is left with what is the set up for the second book in the trilogy. I honestly don’t know where to go with this review because parts of the book I really enjoyed. Other parts were absolutely confusing and the ending was so unbelievably rushed after the attention to detail in the first 3/4s of the book I almost got whiplash. Was I happy I read it – yes. Was I disappointed in the ending – also yes. Will I read the next installment – I don’t know, maybe.
One lucky reader (US/Can) will win a copy of The Valley. Just enter as many ways as you would like on the Gleam widget below. Full rules are on the widget. Good luck everyone.