Lynn Morris in her new book, The Barons Honourable Daughter published by FaithWords brings us into the life of Valeria Segrave.
From the back cover: Bestselling author Lynn Morris weaves an inspirational Regency era romance rich in period detail.
When her stepfather suddenly dies, Valeria Segrave finds she must take charge of her grieving mother and the vast estate which now belongs to her six-year-old half-brother, the new Earl of Maledon. Though capable, Valeria is frustrated to find each day brings a new struggle as she tries to establish her authority with servants, stewards, and solicitors-all men. As a young woman with no blood relation to the earl, they are all too ready to dismiss her.
Much to her chagrin, she must rely on the assistance of her stepfathers distant kinsman, Alastair, Lord Hylton. He is handsome and noble, and Valeria senses under the veneer of his gentlemanly behavior that she never measures up to his expectations of a refined lady. In light of that, accepting his help and feeling under a burden of gratitude to him is almost unbearable. Even when Valeria leaves the country estate for the glittering London Season, where she gets into a series of escapades, Lord Hylton is always there to witness, criticize, and correct her behavior. But if Alastair insists on engaging in a battle of wits and wills with the lively Valeria, shell stop at nothing to prove that hes met his match.
Its not easy to run an estate, male or female, no matter the time period. Yet in 1800 England a woman running an estate things are not going to go well. Add in that Valeria is only the step-daughter of the late Earl and not even the heir, her young step-brother is, and the scene is set for tension and friction. Valeria is an extremely complex young woman who has to grow up in a hurry and learn many things that most women in her time didnt have to deal with, that was for the men to handle. Alastair is a lot of fun. Of course he already knows how to run an estate and helps Valeria, not only in the running of her estate, but also in the social graces. This book is about bitterness, unforgiveness and how, if not dealt with, these emotions can lead to devastating results. These are wonderful characters that live and breathe on the pages and you care deeply for them. This book does not disappoint at all.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from FaithWords. 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 Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
I have been a fan of Lynn Morris' writing for many years. This book did not disappoint. Set in England, it reminded me very much of Jane Austen's writing style.
The main Character is Valeria Segrave, and the story is told from her point of view. After Valeria's father died, her mother married the Earl of Maledon. He is not the best of men. When he suddenly dies, Valeria attempts to run the family estate, but does not have an easy time of it. Women are simply not accepted in leadership roles during that time. She realizes she needs help. Enter Lord Alastair Hylton. A relative of Valeria's step-father, Alastair is quite proper and adheres to all of the rules and expectations of society. Valeria does not, so this difference in personalities immediately sets up a battle of wills. It is interesting to watch their relationship change and grow warmer as the story progresses. Additionally, the maturation of Valeria's character throughout the book makes for and intriguing read.
One of the things about the novel which I especially enjoyed was the attention to detail. The author really did her research, and I came away from the book with a deeper understanding of life in England during the Regency period. The settings are described quite beautifully. Other characters including the servants, are brought into the story in entertaining ways and add much interest to the plot.
Overall, the book is well written and enjoyable. If you are a fan of the Regency period, you will find this novel to be a satisfying read!
I received a copy of this book from the publisher, through Library Thing's Early Reviewers program, in exchange for my honest review.
"The Barons Honorable Daughter" is what I would call a coming of age novel. Divided into three parts it portrays the late teen years of Miss Valeria Segraves life with the blessings and burdens that come with belonging to the nobility of England.
In the first part of "The Barons Honorable Daughter" we are getting to know Valeria, her family, friends, servants, home life and estate. The reader is being immersed in that culture. I loved all the little details describing the clothes, food, servants, housemaids, footmen, rooms in the houses and much more. The novel became alive! I could see the staff working in the house and feel the crush and bustle of London vividly. My only quibble is with the authors choice of explaining every rule of polite society and the reasons for them. I excused it just because I was very Happy Ms. Morris did her research. As a frequent reader of novels set in England involving the landed gentry, as well as, noble and titled persons, I already knew most of these explanations. I do understand that there are some who do not know this information and that this was included for those readers. It probably would have been better placed as end notes in a glossary with numbers for the reader to follow.
Lynn Morris scenes set on a beautiful, English, country estate, were written in the spirit of Jane Austens Emma and Elizabeth Gaskells Wives and Daughters (films and novels), and others of this type. The latter half of "The Barons Honorable Daughter" finds us in London for the Season. I definitely picked up a strong Georgette Heyer influence here in the speech, descriptions, and activities of the characters. By the end, though, we were back to Austen and Gaskell patterns.
Valeria is a young woman who is learning to be a real lady. She is often outspoken, careless, stubborn, quick-tempered, and at times rude to the despair of her friends and gracious, elegant mother. Valeria is a heroine in the making! Miss Segrave is beautiful, tall and elegant physically, but has plenty of maturing to do emotionally and spiritually. I almost didnt like her because that kind of personality doesnt appeal to me. Her character was redeemed though, through some circumstances and lessons that make her humble and repentant toward God and her fellow-man. She also has some good, old-fashioned growing up to do!
Our hero, Alastair, Lord Hylton, is tall, handsome, and muscular with a self-contained, sharp and serious nature. He is rather mysterious and a true gentleman. I liked him, but never got to know him well. Alastair doesnt even make an appearance until chapter eight and gets sporadic page time throughout the novel. I wish we could have seen him more since I did enjoy the page time he did get.
Most of the novel is from Valerias viewpoint with an occasional look inside Alastairs head. Any other scenes from supporting characters viewpoints are kept extremely brief and are rare. I liked that very much. There wasnt a lot of head-hopping.
There isnt a lot of romance in this novel. I wish there would have been more, but the whole storyline reads more like a documentary of how life was like back then. Its more historical fiction than romance. When I think of books by Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer I remember that they dont contain much romance either. The hero and heroine in this book spend most of their conversations arguing for no good reasons that I can see. The author calls it sparring and a match of wits, but it came across as just yelling to me. Most of the time I sided with the hero and wanted Valeria to calm down and accept her situation. She did have a few humerus lines.
Surrounding the hero and heroine is a pretty decent supporting cast of supporting characters. We have plenty of scenes including both families of Valeria and Alastair, their intimate friends, and the servants. It was refreshing to see more people than just the hero and heroine, yet not have all of their viewpoints. I was also very happy to see no villains, chases, blackmail, kidnapping or fights. Bravo!
"The Barons Honorable Daughter" has characters who are wealthy and privileged, but comfortable and content (for the most part) in their way of life. They enjoy it and are not ashamed of their lineage. They try to live honorably and worthy of their stations. One might classify this as a drawing-room novel with light romance, manners, and heavy on the social scene. This novel was a page-turner for me even though is had some scenes set a leisurely pace and others sped by quick. I enjoyed this journey into the polite society of Regency England and look forward to Lynn Morris next book.