Lady Victoria Aston, Vicky to her friends, lives a good life, she helps maintain her family estate and is free to read her Jane Austen novels in peace. That is until someone tries to attack her on the outskirts of her land and her sister arrives home in the middle of the night with a grim story to tell. Suddenly Vicky's life is turned upside down and she must find a husband fast otherwise her family could lose it all, what is our independent heroine to do? Take things into her own hands of course.
My experience with historical fiction has been negative in the past, I've never connected to the characters since they're living on an widely different path and uphold very different ideals. This book was part of the December 'Fireside Favourites' Book Box Club subscription, and from the off I would like to say this is a beautiful book. The colouring on the dust jacket is a muted pink that is aesthetically pleasing and perfectly contrasts the white cover. Another beautiful thing? The writing. Cohen's way of creating a world with her words was seen in the changing imagery and instantly likeable characters, I felt compelled to read further to learn more about them and see more of their world.
The characters make this story for me. Each one makes a significant contribution to the story so there are no 'spare parts', to say each one stayed with me would be true. Vicky was what I expected, a robust and independent girl who knows what she wants but will fiercely protect her loved ones, but she surprised me as well. Being able to stand up for herself like Elizabeth Bennett was a wonderfully developed character arc. Another key player was Tom Sherborne, Vicky's childhood friend who has only just returned from abroad, he keeps running into bad luck but you cannot help but cheer for him. His progression was stunted through most of the book as he couldn't admit certain things to himself, and even in the last pages he still struggled to meet that expectation for me. Lord Dain, he is notably absent from most of the novel due to the mystery that surrounds him but Cohen manages to still make his presence and danger known throughout. A constant shadow covering the Aston's movements.
Ending a story seems to be a strong suit for Cohen. At no point did it feel rushed or forced, it naturally unfolded and left me feeling fulfilled that the characters were where they needed to be. As I mentioned previously, historical fiction didn't sit well with me for a long time due to automatically feeling disconnected but that may have changed, Cohen wrote such a wonderful story with characters I could relate to and connect with despite the 200 year time difference.
This book has opened my eyes to more historical fiction and romances. Thank you.