IndieJane's Reviews > The Companion of Lady Holmeshire

The Companion of Lady Holmeshire by Debra  Brown
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Apr 01, 2012

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Read in January, 2012

The Companion of Lady Holmeshire by Debra Brown is a Victorian romance with a hint of intrigue–or is it a mystery with a hint of romance? The line between the two often blurred in a delightful way.

Emma Carrington, the title character, was a foundling child who became a servant at the local manor house when she grew up. The novel begins when she is just returning to Holmeshire Hall after having spent an indeterminate amount of time in London. The Countess of Holmeshire sent her there to be finished, so Emma could become her companion.

And that is the first hint we have that Emma is more than what she seems. Nice though they may have been, Victorian countesses were not generally in the habit educating their servants above their station.

Those hints continue to build, and the intrigue surrounds more than just Emma. Lord Holmeshire–the countess’ son, not husband–is betrothed to a young lady who is being followed by strange men. Who are they, and why would they follow Genny? (Also, how on earth is he going to get out of marrying this woman so he can marry Emma? Inquiring minds!)

I spent most of the book casting guesses at who Emma might really be. In the end, several of my guesses were partly right, but none of them contained the whole truth of the story–and that’s as it should be. The moment of revelation was absolutely the best scene of the book, largely because I felt that quick intake of breath when I realized what was going on.

Brown certainly knows her history, and this book is rich with historical anecdotes. Even if you prefer the Regency to the Victorian era, there is enough to please you on this point. In fact, most of the history related is Regency, dealing with those secrets that shroud Emma’s true identity from her, and from the reader.

However, I felt at times that there was too much history, and not enough story. The amount of historical backstory given in the first half of the book threw the pacing of the novel off. I would rather have learned a little bit more about Emma and the mystery surrounding her earlier in the book, and had the historical bits spread more evenly throughout.

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