A milkmaid from Leicestershire, Lucy Wentnor is sent to her uncle and aunt in London after being attacked by Civil War soldiers and rejected by her beA milkmaid from Leicestershire, Lucy Wentnor is sent to her uncle and aunt in London after being attacked by Civil War soldiers and rejected by her betrothed. Wishing to contribute her share to her uncle's household, she takes a dangerous position at a radical printing press and is soon caught up in political and personal turmoil.
Bradshaw is out of her usual period here, and it shows. She's obviously done her usual meticulous research, but the way she weaves in the historical details is oddly clunky, drawing attention away from the story rather than adding depth to it. The characterization is also rather thin, and although I liked hotheaded Lucy, I was never really convinced of her too-quick radicalization. I liked the romance, but I wanted more time for it to develop. I think it's time for me to lower my expectations of Bradshaw; I still find her books reasonably good, but she hasn't written one in years that I think is even close to the Byzantine trilogy or The Sand-Reckoner. ...more
Wintercombe and its sequel Herald of Joy are historical romances, set in 17th century England during the Civil War. Silence St. Barbe is a good PuritaWintercombe and its sequel Herald of Joy are historical romances, set in 17th century England during the Civil War. Silence St. Barbe is a good Puritan wife, whose husband Sir George is away with his eldest son fighting for the Roundheads against the king, leaving Silence in charge of his family home, Wintercombe, and the five remaining children. When a company of Cavaliers arrives and installs themselves in the house, Silence must fight to keep Wintercombe and her family safe, with the unexpected assistance of one of the Cavalier captains, Nick Hellier.
Belle's knowledge of the period is clearly excellent, and she shows it not by inserting large indigestible chunks of history which would distract from the narrative, but by infusing every page with details which make the surroundings and events seem real, from the political and military struggle between the Royalists and the Puritans to the everyday minutiae of running a household. The expected romance between Silence and Nick could easily be clichéd and predictable, but the characters (particularly Silence herself and her two stepchildren, Rachael and Nat) are distinctive and convincing and show genuine growth throughout the two books, elevating a standard romance plot into a captivating tale of love and divided loyalties. ...more