It's always wonderful when you start reading a novel with the hope of being entertained and distracted from your busy life, only to be blown away by the discovery of a new favourite author. Laurie Alice Eakes's novel had that exact affect on me, and I can't verbalise how pleasing it is to uncover a gem of a story like this one. I came to this book with no idea what to expect, knowing very little about midwifes or the post-revolutionary war years in the United States. It was fascinating to learn about this period in American history, and although I never felt overwhelmed by the neatly intertwined historical detail, I do feel as if I've been enlightened somehow and will definitely be looking out for more books set in this time period.
It was particularly amusing to read a novel in which the Brits are the "bad guys", being British myself. Yet despite the reservations that Tabitha and her friends had about the British, she had excellent chemistry with Dominick Cherrett, the typically ridiculously handsome and wittily charming British hero, whom even I fell in love with despite my reservations on minor royals thanks to studying at the University of St. Andrews. Their relationship is initially based on mutual distrust and suspicion, as the two of them try to deny their feelings for each other due to their very different backgrounds. The indentured noble who falls for the spinster midwife was a refreshing and original twist on the traditional plot of the prince falling for the servant girl.
The spiritual lives of the characters play a fairly large part in the book, as Dominick comes to terms with the corruption he found in the traditional English Church, and Tabitha learns to trust God despite the many grievances she and her family have suffered over the years. While I was particularly interested in Dominick's struggles - which instead of being with God, were with the Church - I will admit that I felt that the focus on their spiritual struggles sometimes took away from the main plot. I occasionally found myself skim-reading the sections where Tabitha and Dominick talked about their thoughts on God, particularly towards the end of the story when it could have come close to detracting from the climax of the action. This may be a matter of personal preference, but I felt that the spiritual aspect needed to be more integrated so that it didn't feel as if it was interrupting the plot. However, this is a minor issue that didn't impinge on my enjoyment of the novel.
Laurie Alice Eakes is definitely an author to keep your eye on in the genre of historical fiction, and I'm looking forward to reading more from the Midwives series. She truly knows how to set the atmosphere of the period and create an excellent chemistry between her characters. Dominick and Tabitha are by far one of the most unique couples I've encountered in my reading of historical romances, and they were surrounded by a wonderful cast of minor characters, particularly the servants with whom Dominick worked. I hope that Laurie chooses to revisit these characters at some point, but if not, I'm sure that her next group of characters will be just as engaging. 9/10
This book reminds me much of Julie Klassen's style of writing. It is close to 400 pages with intrigue and mystery. Miss Eckles is a midwife who encounters Dominick Cherrett an British nobleman with his own secrets.
I hadn't read anything by this author and was thankful to receive a review copy of Lady in the Mist. I'm not a history buff so reading about midwives in 1809 was very interesting. Laurie depicts Tabitha as a strong women determined to do her job well in Seaborne, Virginia. I couldn't believe all that was expected of a midwife when a regular doctor was not in town.
I loved the way Laurie brought history to life. She shows a scary time in American history when the British boats were stealing American men off the shoreline at night and forcing onto their ships. Duty called all hours of the day and night and Tabitha found her unescorted on the same shores men were stolen from. For that reason she kept her eyes and ears alert as she made the walk on the beach to her home. Then one night she bumps into an unexpected visitor. Dominick Cherrett, a British aristocrat, on American soil working as an indentured servant. Tabitha's world is never the same. Dominick is just as shocked as she is and fears she'll turn him in to the Mayor (his employer) because he's out at night. She says he's British, and not to be trusted and after all the British were the ones stealing American men. She was in a quandary about what to do.
Dominick is charming, a man on a mission with a mysterious past. Could she trust him? He was a bit of a flirt it wouldn't hurt to be his friend and see what he was up to. Both Dominick and Tabitha have something in common, each are trying to do their best in working for their redemption with God, to be good enough for him to love them. They found it hard to accept the free gift God gives.
I hadn't expected a murder mystery and all the suspense and drama inside Lady in the Mist. I loved how this author wove this mystifying web and had the reader guessing who done it all the way till the end. I did find myself anxious for Tabitha as I really did want her to find true love, trust God like she once did and accept the love God offered her as a free gift. I love books that help me learn about history, what life was like back then and the part midwives played. This was one fascinating, suspenseful, charming, and fun read I most definitely recommend. I'll certainly be looking for the next book in this midwife series.
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