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When we read good reviews, we definitely like to share them. It gives the author a few (permanent) moments of fame and allows us to let the community know about a great book. Here’s this week’s book review:
IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards – Silver Medal in Romance Fiction
The Marriage of True Minds: Experience the World of 18th Century England during the Reign of George III
by L.L. Field
Journey through 18th-century Georgian England with the Earl of Stoneleigh as he struggles to secure the future of Harcroft Hall by producing an heir with his beautiful wife, Anne of Sudley Manor. Discover his father’s secret past and meet his mother, the indomitable Dowager Countess of Stoneleigh who will have suitors of her own as one of the liveliest characters in the book. L. L. Field captures all the details of the period with characters and settings so well-drawn you will not want to put the book down.
* courtesy of Amazon.com
Field’s debut historical novel takes a look at upper-class life in 18th-century England.
Viewers of the hit television show Downton Abbey and fans of modern-day British royalty are certainly familiar with the pressure on aristocrats to produce an heir. Geoffrey and his wife, Anne, Lord and Lady Stoneleigh, adore their five daughters yet worry over the future of their estate, due to their failure to produce a male child as an heir to the family fortune. The story of Geoffrey and Anne’s marriage and daily life introduces readers to their social circle of wealthy men and women, all living on prosperous estates in the English countryside. As Geoffrey and Anne struggle over questions of the future, Geoffrey’s widowed mother delves into her dead husband’s past to find answers regarding the existence of his former lover. The dowager must also decide how she feels about the present-day attentions of her old friend and neighbor, Lord Wortham. Meanwhile, Wortham’s son, Lord Lynnhurst, attempts to win back the affections of his childhood love, Miss Compton, despite her lower social status. These personal conflicts whirl amid a plethora of fancy dinners and extravagant balls, and Field does a marvelous job of sketching out her characters and settings. She beautifully captures the intimacy and mutual respect of Geoffrey and Anne’s relationship and realistically presents the complicated dowager’s many facets and motivations. There are vivid descriptions of sumptuous feasts (“silver trays laden with venison, sirloin of beef…and bowls of steaming buttered potatoes”), and the author revels in bringing ladies’ fashion to life, detailing frocks of “iridescent silk” or a “taffeta brocaded gown interwoven with lace.” In addition, she touches on broader politics and societal trends—such as the controversial Enclosure Acts, which wrested land rights from poor farmers—and the vicious gossip and whims of London society. The work even crosses genres: Field’s detailed research offers a fine contribution to historical fiction, and her passionate love scenes will satisfy those seeking a titillating romance.
A feast for readers looking to taste the luxurious lifestyle of the English upper crust.
– reviewed on Kirkus
What a wonderful read! Like another reader, I read it on a friend’s recommendation, and was completely captivated. Field masterfully has created a great story line and an extraordinarily well-crafted view of all aspects of upper class England in the mid-to-late 18th century. The pacing is perfect, the characters are developed thoroughly, with humor and wit, and it leaves me hungry for the sequel, which is in the works. It’s particularly skillful at conveying how women found their place, and power, in such a society. I heartily recommend it!
– reviewed on Amazon by Sharon Hope
This novel is what I’d call a genre-buster. Looking for a bodice-ripper? You’ll be more than satisfied, as Field’s sure hand delivers one of the best you’ll ever read. But if you crave something beyond the thousand you’ve read, here’s your unexpected treat. “True Minds” is true literature; not the stiff stuff you were made to read in school, but rather what you love to read, elevated to a sophistication and a level of intelligence lesser writers deny their readers. Field confidently ascribes to her audience the capability to understand and appreciate her keen sense of history, place, custom, and — most of all — human relationships, complete with their squalor and splendor, their tragedy and fulfillment, their public and private, the frailties and the sinew we all share. The reader is transported convincingly to another time, but vividly recognizes on every page her own regrets, elations, dreams both dreadful and uplifting, and finally, the triumph of the human will and of the human spirit. Celebrate and enjoy this blessedly non-mass-produced work. And Encore!
– reviewed on Amazon by David C. Bender