As I’ve said before, I am into historical fiction. I have read all of Julie Klassen’s novels, have the DVDs of Downton Abbey, and am dutifully in love with Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy and Lieutenant William Bush (Horatio Hornblower, for those of you who don’t know).
The story I was pulled into in Lawana Blackwell’s A Haven On Orchard Lane brought me right back into the Victorian Era, and I happily let it.
The publisher’s blurb:
From the Back CoverAn urgent escape . . . a wounded heart . . .
Will Charlotte find the solace she longs for at the cottage on Orchard Lane?
Famed actress Charlotte Ward stepped away from the Victorian London stage five years ago. Now in desperate circumstances, she tries to restart her career–only to experience a complete collapse. Against her better judgment, Charlotte’s estranged daughter, Rosalind, comes to her mother’s rescue and moves her to a quiet English coastal village where her mother can evade the gossip columnists, at least for a time.Charlotte is grateful to re-establish even tenuous family ties with Rosalind. As one with regrets over her own romantic past, she’s happy to see love blossom for her daughter. For Rosalind, however, it’s time away from teaching, and now she must care for the mother who wasn’t there for her. And what could possibly be more complicated than romance?
But there can be no permanent escape from the threats of recent months. As the privacy they seek is threatened, mother and daughter must make some difficult decisions–ones that jeopardize those they care about most.
What did I think of the book?
Actually, I picked this book up because I was dying to know what Charlotte’s desperate circumstances were, and what made her have to run away and hide, and why would the gossips be after her? It’s funny, but if this was set in the current era, I wouldn’t have bothered. But in Victorian England? Yes, it totally piqued my interest!
I felt for Charlotte. From having entrusted her heart to a man who it now turns out only wanted her for the riches the gossip columnists claimed she had, to the rejection of her only daughter, to the terror of being discovered where she has hidden away. Her strengths shine through, though – Charlotte is no fool, and refuses to wallow in self-pity.
Rosalind I was prepared to dislike, but I couldn’t after getting to know her a little. The author shows us why Rosalind feels the way she does towards her mother, and as her feelings change there is a logical and believable reason for the change. Rosalind falling in love was a treat, especially for anyone who has felt their years of finding love behind them.
The book doesn’t only follow the lives of mother and daughter, but of those they come in contact with, including a book seller, the household servants, and two little boys Rosalind meets by asking directions of them. A lively cacophony of village life in Victorian times.
As for me, I enjoyed reading this. The stories are a bit unpredictable, which is nice, and the characters are genuine and relatable. Another author whose work I will happily pick up in the future if this is any indication.
**I was sent this copy from Bethany House in exchange for my fair and honest opinion.**