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Bride of a Distant Isle

(Daughters of Hampshire #2)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  585 ratings  ·  154 reviews
Miss Annabel Ashton is a teacher at the Rogers School for Young Ladies in Winchester when she takes a brief visit to her family home, Highcliffe Hall at Milford-on-Sea. She believes her stay will be short but soon learns that she will not be returning to the safety of the school. Instead, she remains at Highcliffe, at the mercy of her cousin, Edward Everedge.

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Paperback, 372 pages
Published May 22nd 2016 by Howard Books (first published March 2016)
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T That was never really resolved was it. I thought them to be one person and a type of guardian angel. I especially thought that after she came to peace…moreThat was never really resolved was it. I thought them to be one person and a type of guardian angel. I especially thought that after she came to peace reading the Bible verse etched in the glass window.

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Average rating 3.96  · 
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After reading the first two novels in the Daughter of Hampshires series, I have moved Sandra Byrd onto my list of authors that I will always read. Bride of a Distant Isle is a delicious concoction of history, mystery and romance. I love how each of those pieces interact with one another throughout the story; one is never overshadowed by the other. There is also a good bit of suspense and tension that made this book nearly impossible to put down. Sandra excels in creating an intense atmosphere, d ...more
Jan 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
One of the things I’m really loving about Sandra Byrd’s current series, Daughters of Hampshire series (you know, besides fabulous writing and intriguing stories with mystery), is how she brings different cultures as key parts of the stories (the first, Mist of Midnight, had hints of India. Also it was one of my favorite reads last year, so go read it!). It’s not something I have really seen in books written about 1850s England, but I absolutely love love love it.

Like I mentioned, I loved how By
Jun 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
What a good novel! I thoroughly enjoyed this second book of the Daughters of Hampshire series. I liked it even more than the first, Mist of Midnight.

I enjoyed the history regarding the Catholic religion and asylums in England. The heroine, Anabell, was likable and it was a delight to watch her story and history unfold.

I recommend this novel for readers that enjoy mystery with their historical romance.
Bookish Ally
I love Sandra Byrd! I have, to date, never read anything she has written half heartedly. Instead, I am so thoroughly transported by her historical fiction, that I find her books to be the kind which I hurriedly finish tasks to get back to the tale she spins.

In this story we are not only told a story in which we grow to love the heroine of this story, but we learn about some of the culture and customs of Malta and their people. We are also forced to look at the fates of countless Victorian women
Diane Estrella
Feb 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
This story compelled me along from the first page to the very last. Few books are able to keep me on edge like this.

This story is definitely suspenseful and even can be labeled a "thriller" during some moments. There were definitely some twists and turns that I did not see coming and the author went to some "dark" places that many do not dare to tread. Mental insanity was a focus of the book along with greed and even the cloud surrounding death. This story was well researched for this time and
Jul 04, 2015 rated it liked it
Written in a style of equal gritty Bronte and elegant Austen, this novel played out like an Elizabeth Gaskell BBC drama in my head! Rich. Engaging. Vividly misty and cold. Emotional farewells between reader and characters. Story and setting were brilliant! Intricate and intriguing with plenty of eerie mystery and singular situations. The element of insanity is not one commonly written in historical fiction (that I have known), and I was impressed with the layers it lent to this book. Well writte ...more
Serena Chase
Jan 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Why you should read it: Fans of Victoria Holt and Charlotte Brontë will be enthralled by Byrd’s atmospheric storytelling, while those new to the Gothic style will find themselves transported to Hampshire, navigating a murky landscape of greed, desperation, madness and romance alongside Annabel.

And speaking of romance … what reader is immune to a dashing seafarer? Captain Dell’Acqua is quite the fascinating, romantic sailor, and his descriptions of Malta, his homeland, are touched with sigh-worth
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
"Will you walk into my parlour?", said the Spider to the Fly, . . . . . . . . ."Oh no, no" said the little Fly, "to ask me is in vain, For whoever goes up your winding stair can ne'er come down again." - Mary Howitt

Miss Annabel Ashton is trapped within innuendos, whispers, memories, accusations; all stemming from her questionable past. As the supposed illegitimate daughter of a woman who died in an asylum, she has no inheritance and is at the mercy of those who do. When her cousin begins using A
Margaret Chind

Originally posted on Creative Madness Mama. Creative Madness Mama reviews the first in a new series from @SandraByrd Mist of Midnight, a gothic Victorian romance with a bit of mystery from @HowardBooks

Last year, I found myself captivated by the writing in 's first book in the new Daughter of Hampshire series. I knew from reading that one as well as others in the past of Sandra's historicals that I needed to plan some time. When I read Sandra's books I'm not satisfied with a few minutes and done. I want to sit and pour in the details and get enveloped within the story. I have found that to be completely true once again with this latest book, Bride
Colleen Turner
May 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Find my full review at

I have long been a fan of Sandra Byrd's writing and have read and enjoyed all three books in her Ladies in Waiting series (To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn, The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr, and Roses Have Thorns) as well as the first book in this Daughters of Hampshire series (Mist of Midnight). I always know that when I see a new historical fiction book by Sandra is coming out I'm going to want to read it and I'm going to
3.25 stars. (Sorry to downgrade my rating from 3.5 stars to 3.25 stars. I just didn't enjoy this one as much as the first book.)

It's strange how I'm still surprised by how much I enjoyed this author's writing. Given that she seems to exclusively tell her stories from the first person perspective, it never ceases to amaze me that I can't put her books down. The Gothic spookiness, the possibility of becoming insane or merely being declared insane, and the overall mystery of this book was enjoyable
Lynn Spencer
Oct 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars Another good, moody gothic from Sandra Byrd. The plot relies a bit heavily on coincidence, but I found this a mesmerizing read nevertheless.

Annabel Ashton has come to her family home for what she believes will be a visit. However, she soon learns that she is basically a prisoner of her cousin, who is determined to marry her off to an unsavory acquaintance in order to shore up his own precarious financial situation. I liked Annabel as a narrator, but I often felt frustrated for her situ
Maureen Timerman
Mar 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
Once I became totally involved in this book, there seems to be non-stop moments of terror or intrigue, what is going on? Annabel Ashton has grown up an orphan, but with family, that is, her mother’s sister and her family. A constant companion at their estate was her cousin Edward, and now seems to be at his mercy.
Annabel is Catholic and at this time period the papists have to more or less hid underground, England is Anglican. Her cousin is interested in money and his right to own the family home
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This was a highly intriguing and entertaining historical novel with many Gothic overtones; however, unlike most Gothic romances typical in the 19th century, this novel had a great deal more mystery because several of its characters are full rather than flat, so it made it harder to tell who some of the villains were in the story, which in turn made the story more interesting and suspenseful. In any case, it was a well written novel that I thoroughly enjoyed, and it has earned a place on my favor ...more
Karen R
Sep 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An intriguing tale of mystery, danger, and romance set in Victorian England.
Recalled to her ancestral home Highcliffe Hall, Annabel Ashton leaves her teaching position thinking she will return soon, but her cousin Edward and his wife have other plans for her, which seem to be more sinister than she'd ever imagined. While forced to remain there, she hopes to find the truth of what really happened to her mother before it's too late. The second book in the Daughters of Hampshire series definitely
Mar 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I'm basking in the warm glow of Gothic Romance Reader Bliss right now. I've mentioned before how much I adore this genre, right? Ever since junior high when I discovered Victoria Holt. And good Gothics are few and far between in the Christian market. So you can just imagine the sweet ecstasy I've been in since I first opened this book.

Each page is steeped in mystery. Deliciously thrilling plot twists, sinister foreshadowing, and a bevy of intriguing characters who run the gamut from bad to good
May 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Bride of a Distant Isle by Sandra Byrd is a second novel that actually surpasses the first in a series. Exceptionally dark and conniving characters as well as the eerie settings of a Victorian asylum and misty estate lend an air of authenticity that make this novel seem as if it were written by a Bronte contemporary. Annabel Ashton is certainly as memorable a character as Jane Eyre and the rakish Captain Dell'Acqua is as mysterious and unpredictable as a storm-tossed sea.

Details unique to the p
Kristine Morgan
Nov 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Mystery and suspense mixed with romance on the Coast of England. Illegitimate and dependent on her cousin's good graces, Annabel Ashton awaits her fate in her cousin's house. She is further ostracized by her mixed heritage. She only has a home as long as she is useful to Edward, her cousin.
I really enjoyed Bride of a Distant Isle, the plot was very engaging and the characters were quite realistic. I enjoyed the historical aspects of the book and Sandra's love of historical Eland was quite eviden
Paula Shreckhise
Mar 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
Wonderful, delightful, superb. Sandra has done it again. So different from her contemporary light novels but great writing. Such interesting details of the era woven seamlessly into the narrative. Marco is ever the gentleman but very romantic. Bella is trapped by circumstances but shows herself to be very strong and resilient and resourceful. I Highly recommend this book and the others in the series!
Jun 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Another good book by Sandra Byrd. She just knows how to write a good romance. As in the first book of the series, I love that it’s written in first person. This series contains a nice dose of mystery as well. I docked one star because I found the first half or so of the book a bit slow, but it did not stop me from enjoying the story. I’ve already bought the final book of the series and am looking forward to reading it.
"All will be well in the end; if it's not well, then it's not the end."

Wonderful and suspenseful Gothic romance!

Narrator was excellent! Elizabeth Jasicki
Bluerose's  Heart
I always enjoy books by Sandra Byrd, but her "Daughters of Hampshire" series has taken my love of them to a whole new level. The first book in this series, Mist of Midnight, was one of my favorite reads of 2015(though I forgot to put it on the official list...that's what I get for not keeping up with my reading like I should). It's on my reread list, and I'm greatly looking forward to the revisit for many reasons. I have no doubt that Bride of a Distant Ilse will also be on my favorites list thi ...more
Mar 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
After reading 'Mist of Midnight' I was excited to see what Sandra had next, & 'Bride of a Distant Isle' did not disappoint. Thoroughly researched and written bringing a variety of historical true events into her fiction, not only do you feel like you're getting a glimpse into Victorian society, but also the harsh realities of the era. I loved the characters visits to the Great Exhibition, the discussions on trade & smuggling. How the desperate need to ensure the security of children, and future ...more
Hallie Szott
Jun 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This review is also posted on Book by Book.

Sandra Byrd’s Bride of a Distant Isle is quite the intriguing read, as it incorporates great romance and mystery into a well-described Victorian England setting. The novel centers on Annabel Ashton, who returns from her teaching position to her family home, where family obligations and well-kept secrets disrupt her plans and set her on a course toward an unwanted arranged marriage, an insane asylum, and most importantly, the charming Maltese captain, Ma
Jun 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
5++* read!

Superb storytelling so filled with suspense I repeatedly had to put down the book to make another cup of tea or hot chocolate or... anything to break the tension!

What the dear Annabel endured at the hands of family , atmospheric and emotive writing par excellence. Then an ending that blazes fireside warmth to dispel all the mists and fog of despair for our heroine's past and future. Exceptional.

Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A different type of story that held my interest even through the painful trials the protagonist faced. A British young woman, Annabel Ashton discovers her past may not be what she always believed and her future appears uncertain. Will she be forced to marry an unsavory associate of her cousin Edward, who holds control of the family assets? Can she escape their plot, and could the Maltese captain she met assist, or is he just using her to help him prosper in business? Since her father was Maltese ...more
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
2.5. I feel like I missed the first third of the book, but I read it from start to finish. Lots of background info missing. Not that impressed by the heroine- she seemed like a bit of an idiot at times- and not a fan of first-person POV. I did read through, though, and wanted to see what happened.
Apr 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Nice, sweet clean romance with a bit of mystery.
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
3.7 ; the plot had me reading through the night, however, the slight cheesiness of the miraculous nurse as well as some loose ends brings the rating to what it is. Byrd writes well, and conveys interesting gothic stories; if anything, the stories have too much of a religious message, honeyed by a few super sweet scenes than I care for.
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Sep 30, 2015 11:58AM  

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Bestselling author Sandra Byrd has published fifty books over her editing and writing career. Her traditionally published books include titles by Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster, Tyndale House Publishers, WaterBrook Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House, and Bethany House Publishers.

Sandra’s series of historically sound Gothic romances launched with the best-selling Mist of Mid

Other books in the series

Daughters of Hampshire (3 books)
  • Mist of Midnight (Daughters of Hampshire, #1)
  • A Lady in Disguise (Daughters of Hampshire, #3)

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