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The Gilded Lily by Deborah Swift
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's review
Oct 14, 2012

really liked it
Read in October, 2012

Delicate and finely woven, this golden novel shines brightly as a beautiful historical narrative.

“Beauty is skin-deep. Blood runs deeper” The exquisite, beautiful cover of this novel is striking, standing out on the bookshelf from other novels as it takes you back in time even before you open its pages. I was so excited by the prospect of reading a new fictional work within a genre that I adore, by an author whose work I had not encountered before and yet now whom I hope I will discover more of.
Set in the harsh winter of 1661 this tale follows Sadie Appleby from Westmorland, who with her sister Ella is on the run from undertaking a robbery (her recently deceased employer) heading to London. However the past catches up with them as his relatives begin the chase in the cold winter, scurrying after the girls around the bustling city teeming with all kinds of people. Seduced and mesmerized by all that London has to offer, Ella is captivated by a Jay Whitgift who is not the man that he appears to be and nothing is as it seems. Soon tensions arise between the sisters as hidden secrets are revealed and an ever present threat shows itself, even more deadly than the law. Deborah Swift brings history to life in all its color and glory by sending the reader back into a time that was full of deceit, beauty and desire. Here one discovers the bond between flesh and blood and its strength as to that compared to romantic love and friendship, where the two sisters are connected; being both a burden and a powerful thing. As Ella begins to work in the shop ‘The Gilded Lily’ selling beautifying lotions and potions, she settles down into secure employment whilst trying to put the past behind her. For Sadie life is much harder, namely due to her birthmark scar which causes unwelcome attention to a timid and sensitive young girl.
Deborah Swift’s second novel (The Lady’s Slipper novel one), is an accurate and authentic exposé of the seventeenth-century. It is a time when fortunes can be made and lost, of opportunity and where you find your inmost self. Atmospheric and authentic this is a gripping tale, full of exciting adventure with faced-paced action that leaves you breathless. The emotion and heartbreaking words touch your inmost soul as this captivating story takes your breath away. I lost myself within the characters lives; their trials and tribulations. I was astonished by the author’s skill and accomplished writing that contains a perfect balance of historical detail (from research) and narrative, that brings a bygone era back to life as you immerse yourself within the sights and sounds of a once booming industry. The depth of feeling and expression through the main characters was touching, as I was able to relate and empathize with them as the author added realism into their tale. The use of detailed description really brought the words to life so that once I began to read I was unable to tear my eyes away from this most interesting story that felt like I was watching a classic film. I can’t enthuse enough about this wonderful story that was as delicate as lace and as well-structured as works by Diana Gabaldon, Christine Blevins or Gillian Bagwell.

I would like to thank the author for holding her outstanding book as a giveaway on DizzyC’sLittleBookBlog and for Carol hosting it. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this interesting tale, hence I cannot wait to discover and read more of the author’s works.
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Lucinda Review also on Waterstones (Bookseller) website UK, and on &

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