Lily's Plight, Harwood House Series #3
It was good to read about the third sister in this series. This series was really good and I learned a lot about indentured servants. I had no idea this took place. From the way the book was written, you could visualize the settings and feel what they were going through. I read this book in two nights because I couldn't wait to see what was next. Thanks for a great read!!
April 1, 2013
Great history, well-paced colonial romance
LilyÃ¢ÂÂs Plight, the third and final installment of The Harwood House trilogy written by Sally Laity and Dianna Crawford and published by Barbour Press, closes the stories of three British sisters who, for their own individual reasons, sold themselves into indenturement in America. Lily Harwood, the youngest of the sisters, served the Waldon family willingly and with joy for the four years of her indenturement. She cared for Susan Waldon, the beloved and terminally ill wife and mother, as well as mothering the four young Waldon children placed in her care. The only dark spots in her life are the constant threat of Indian attacks on the wilderness settlement and her burgeoning love for the Waldon family patriarch, John.
With John often gone from the homestead serving in the colonial militia, the burdens of farming, homemaking, and warrior-life fell to Lily. When her chance comes to leave the homestead, Lily must decide where she truly wants to be Ã¢ÂÂ with John and his children or with her now-wealthy sister, Mariah, enjoying a life of ease more suited to her upbringing.
I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to review LilyÃ¢ÂÂs Plight. I truly enjoyed Laity and CrawfordÃ¢ÂÂs earlier series, FreedomÃ¢ÂÂs Holy Light, and knew that this newest series would carry the rich historical detail, genuine characters, and well-paced plot that I was accustomed to from their earlier work. I did not have a chance to read the first two books in The Harwood House series, RoseÃ¢ÂÂs Pledge and MariahÃ¢ÂÂs Quest, but I didnÃ¢ÂÂt find that this hindered my reading of LilyÃ¢ÂÂs Plight.
The historical detail was a very accurate. In some ways, I wished Laity and Crawford would have softened the emotions of the settlers toward the raiding Indians, just to make it a little easier to read. However, their characterizations of both the Indians and the Colonials as pawns in the war between the French and British was spot-on. I think a little modernism may have been added when treating the possible romantic entanglements for Lily. It seemed to me that the young men were quite forward in both speech and mannerisms, but then again, life on the frontier did not have the ultra-civilized, restrained atmosphere of a colonial city.
The romantic tensions between Lily and John were well-played out through the whole story. Thankfully, as expected, Laity and Crawford did not leave that tension as the only one. Family disputes, Indian attacks, military fiascoes, and spiritual growth all work together to move the story of Lily along at a moderate pace. No break-neck racing toward the finish line of this story, but neither does the book bog down at any point.
I am very interested in picking up a copy of both RoseÃ¢ÂÂs Pledge and MariahÃ¢ÂÂs Quest to find out these sistersÃ¢ÂÂ stories. I give LilyÃ¢ÂÂs Plight 5 stars.
February 15, 2013
The French and Indian War and Romance
Sally Laity & Dianna Crawford in their new book, "Lily's Plight", Book Three in the Daughters Of Harwood House series published by Barbour Publishing, Inc. brings us into the life of Lily Harwood in the turbulent 1757.
From the back cover: Their greatest challenge is yet to come.
Lily Harwood always considered herself a good Christian lass. But after years of serving the Waldon family, and despite the fact that she loves them dearly, her life has grown increasingly difficult and frightening. Daily she watches Susan Waldon's health deteriorate, and with John Waldon away with the militia, protecting them from attack by the French and Indians, Lily is responsible for the entire farmstead.
Ever since John's last child was born over four year's ago, he's had to watch helplessly as his beloved wife suffers with a mysterious and debilitating illness. And because of the drawn-out conflict, he's torn between wanting to be with his family and knowing that thwarting the enemy on the frontier is the best way to protect them.
But when he returns home on a short furlough, both John and Lily face a deeper more profound plight. They find themselves falling in love. Caught between passion and sorrow in harrowing times, their only hope lies in the promises of God...
The Dictionary defines "Plight" as, "a solemnly given", or, "an unfortunate, difficult, or precarious situation". Lily Harwood lives up to both definitions. She gave her solemnity or promise to serve in the Waldon household and her situation is proving difficult as she is now in love with a married man. Can you imagine selling yourself into servant-hood to pay off your father's debt? Lily's sister Rose thought so and the three sisters came from England to America to do so. Rose and Mariah's stories were told in the previous two books, now it is Lily's turn. I like history and "Lily's Plight" is loaded with it. It is set against the background of the French And Indian War and Lily is an indentured servant trying to hold together a family that is seemingly falling apart. Lily has come to love this family however she has come to love John more and this is dangerous because he is married to Susan. Can she remain pure while the war happens around her and her own emotions threaten to overwhelm her? I won't give it all away except to say that the thrill ride that this story turns out to be has some real surprises before we find out that answer. "Lily's Plight" is a great read, filled with drama, romance, history and suspense. I recommend this book highly. I am sorry to see this series end but I am looking forward to more from these very talented authors.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Barbour Publishing, Inc. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
February 2, 2013
About average fare
This novel is a last in a trilogy, though the first I have read by these authors, so I was not familiar with the background of the story or the characters or with their writing style. Reading it also represented something of a new experience for me, as I generally opt for books of this genre set in Europe or in the medieval period. I am British, and a medievalist in training, so I prefer these and I am not really familiar with American history, the period when this story is set in general
This said, I have to say I was not greatly impressed by this story. I have read quite a few Historical romances in my time, and this one seemed about the average, run of the mill type of story in this genre. It was enjoyable enough, but I would say nothing special. Even the hint of Ã¢ÂÂforbidden loveÃ¢ÂÂ in the sense of Lily falling for her master in spite of herself when she knows she shouldnÃ¢ÂÂt and him doing the same has been Ã¢ÂÂdone beforeÃ¢ÂÂ, and felt perhaps felt a little clichÃÂ©d.
So Lily and JohnÃ¢ÂÂs love story is sweet, but rather predictable. In spite of both parties trying to suppress and quash their feelings for one another, in spite of them being separated by war and hardship, in spite of everything was almost inevitable that they would eventually get their happy ending.
The religious content seemed to be woven into the story well, and there was nothing that seemed objectionable or questionable in a theological sense. Without intending to be irreverent or disrespectful, I would say the theme and subject matter was about standard fare for inspirational historical novels of this kind. Not that I suggest or expect that Christian authors should change the Christian content or write anything Ã¢ÂÂnewÃ¢ÂÂ to pander to readers, the point as that this, like the novel is just about the same as a lot of others of this type.
The one aspect that did stand out for me was the question of why God does not always seem to answer prayer and sometimes seems to let bad things happen. If felt this was addressed sensitively, decisively and rather well.
Another aspect which seemed to be a reflection of the time period was the depiction of the Native Americans as barbarian savages. People now might find this objectionable, but I did not personally as it seemed a plausible enough presentation of the way that people living in the environment and circumstances of the characters might have viewed them. If the only contact they had with Native Americans was when they saw or heard of them raiding and burning settlements, killing people, or kidnapping their children, it did not seem surprising that they would view them in such a way.
Then there was the setting itself. It seemed to me a very idealised and romanticised version of good old fashioned rural American life, with characters who could have stepped off the set of Little House on the Prairie. The honest, decent, robust, hard workinÃ¢ÂÂ folk of Beaver Cove might have been pleasant enough, but they seemed to lack depth and be a little too perfect and sweet to be real.
Yes they faced hardships but they all muscled in together to help each other out, and everythinÃ¢ÂÂ came alright in the end. Not like wealthy them city who are almost all presented as living in luxury and as being too concerned with trivial things like clothes and balls and their social status or elegant wives to worry about much else that is important.
The British almost universally seemed to be depicted as cowards, weaklings or bungling fools whose Commanders could or would not defend the their territory or help each other, and seemed to do little except sit in their fortresses and surrender at the first hint of an attack, and who literally had to be forced to take any kind of decisive action in the war. It was of course the tough rugged Ã¢ÂÂcolonialsÃ¢ÂÂ in other words the Americans who did most of the real fighting and the ones who seemed to make the real difference.
The stereotyping went further when the Brits (like the city folk) were almost all depicted as genteel types from rich or affluent backgrounds who never did much tough physical labour like the Waldons of Beaver cove. Lily is presented as having been thus before she came to America and adopted the good life. Eye - roll inducing stereotyping once again where I had hoped the depiction of non-American people might be more informed or objective.
Then there were the accents. As stated before, I am not American, I am British, so I am not familiar with the nuances of regional American accents. Yet I could not help questioning whether there really would have been such a pronounced difference between the accents of Americans and British people at this time as there was in the story. Somehow, the accents of the American characters seemed a little too modern, and their use of some anachronistic terms and phrases which did not exist in the mid-1700s seemed to confirm this. The only two major non-American characters, as stated before were Lily, and Scotsman, who served as the preacher or pastor in Beaver Cove, he spoke with what seemed to be a ridiculously exaggerated accent, and LilyÃ¢ÂÂs was little better.
Overall, this novel was enjoyable enough, but it was really not my proverbial Ã¢ÂÂcup of teaÃ¢ÂÂ. There did not seem to be anything much to set it apart from other novels in this genre, but it is passable enough a light, clean and moderately enjoyable read. I am interested in perhaps reading the preceding two novels, though I donÃ¢ÂÂt think I would buy them. If you like these authors, and novels set in this period, it might be for you.
Thanks to Netgalley and Barbour for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book to read and review. I was not required to write a positive one, and all opinions expressed here are my own.
January 16, 2013