Monday, April 21, 2014

New Release- A Lady of Honor by Laurie Alice Eakes

A Cliffs of Cornwall Novel- 1
Zondervan, April 22nd 2012, 336 Pages
"Society is concerned about her honor, but Elizabeth must realize her worth doesn't lie in her inheritance. In order to avoid a forced marriage to a dangerous man, Elizabeth Trelawney flees London. An unexpected stranger arrives to help her, and as they elude her pursuers across Cornwall in the night, Elizabeth realizes her rescuer, Rouan Curnow, is familiar.
Their differences in social status kept Rouan from pursuing a courtship with the lady his heart wouldn't let him forget. Now because of dangerous smugglers and local murders, the two are plunged into a reckless alliance that rattles Rouan's fledgling faith in God.
The closer they get to Bastian Point-Elizabeth's true home-the more she realizes it is the only place she longs to be. Even the sight of its solid structure perched on the cliffs makes her feel safe. Elizabeth is the most likely to inherit Bastian Point if Grandfather never learns she spent the night, however innocently, with a near stranger.
As spring warms into summer, Elizabeth finds herself torn between wanting to be the perfect grandchild and her growing love for a man of whom no one will approve as a match for her, a man she knows she shouldn't entirely trust. Unsure whether she is being foolish or following the right path, she sets out with Rouan on a quest to find the true culprit behind the local violence.
Their quest leads them to danger, and she must choose whether to follow the man she loves or cling to the safety of her family home."
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Like Laurie Alice Eakes Midwives Trilogy which I read recently, my opinions of her latest novel were rather mixed. On the one hand it did have a sound Christian and important message about not putting one’s trust in earthy treasures, and some wonderful descriptive passages-especially of the Cornish landscape by an author whom I do not think has ever been there. The story did seem was weak in places but appeared to improve towards the end. 

On the other hand it was blighted by the two things I dislike most in historical fiction. Judging the past by modern standards or imposing them upon it, and anachronistic or otherwise out-of place language. The British characters used a number of Americanisms in their speech on a fairly frequent basis like ‘someplace’ and ‘a body’ instead of ‘a person’ or ‘somebody’. 
In the case of the former the novel seemed to be imbued with a prejudice against the aristocracy, their culture, attitudes, values and way of life. It may be that as a Brit I have a different outlook on these things, and I know the central theme of the story was looking for heavenly treasures instead of earthly- but I don’t believe there is anything intrinsically wrong with being born to wealth and privilege, owning land or having servants in and of itself. Also, the arranged/forced marriage scenario is the one of the oldest cliches in the book- and perhaps was not very plausible considering how forced marriage has technically been illegal in England since the 11th century.

Then there was the heroine Elizabeth or Elys. I never really warmed to her probably because she came across a selfish, shallow, spoiled brat. I think this was how the author intended for her to be portrayed, and she acknowledged this fault in the end- but not for the reasons I found it most annoying.
Basically, she hated the lifestyle her class and upbringing expected her to lead, and shunned social expectations because she couldn’t do what she wanted, like go horse-riding or swimming on her own and was expected to do things she found boring or tedious instead such as sewing or attending parties.
Most women in her position would have been happy with the provision her grandparents were willing to make for her, giving them financial security for life. Yet even this was not good enough for Elizabeth.

Then there was Rowan: godly, heroic, and handsome, yet perhaps something of a cliche- and apparently possessed of the notion that anything which did not line up with his proletarian ideology was unchristian and oppressive. He was probably the source of some of the prejudices about the upper classes- lazy because they did no manual work, uncaring because they only cared appearances and reputation. His apparently regarding people in domestic service as little better than slaves in the Americas was simply absurd- simply because there were so many differences. Household staff were paid, and entered such occupations- which were regarded as quite respectable- willingly.

Altogether, the hint of mystery was interesting and the novel a decent as a one-time read, good to maybe pass onto friends or relatives, but I certainly won't be eagerly anticipating the next book in the series.  Too much kissing, or thinking about kissing for me, and I prefer my historical fiction more accurate and less judgemental for no other reason than that it does not fit in with modern ideals.

I received a free copy of this book free from BookLook bloggers  for review, I was not required to write a positive one and all opinions expressed herein are my own.

2 comments:

  1. So I'm reading your review and agreeing with it, when I notice you've spelled Bastion Point wrong in the book blurb. Then I check ... and the book blurb on Amazon and the other online sites has "Bastian Point" with an "a", while the actual book has "Bastion Point", with an "o".

    Oops.

    I've just finished reading this, and I'm left feeling deceived by the end. The blurb describes Rowan as "not quite a gentleman" because of the difference in social status between him and Elizabeth. Yet that turns out to be a complete lie, and made me feel the conflict was manufactured. I'm still trying to decide between 4 stars or 3.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for commenting Iola.

      Yes, not guilty on the misspelling count, I just copied and pasted the blurb from Booklook.

      One thing that disappointed me about the ending was the decision Elys made about Rowan (I won't give it away as readers can see this but I think you know what I mean), and his own attitude, that he would not have accepted her unless he fulfilled that 'condition' almost. I thought this was meant to be about unconditional love- and personally I might have a problem with accepting someone who made such a demand really loved
      me.

      Such a conclusion does seem very common in Christian fiction, but to me it doesn't see wholly plausible that so many Brits would want to leave move to a place which was allied with their most Prominent enemy, France, and had dealing with Napoleon.

      Another thing I originally mentioned but dropped in the end was Rowan's love for the works of Thomas Paine because they were the basis of the American Revolution'. Seriously, the man was a deist who called the crucifixion and 'invention' and helped Napoleon formulate plans to invade Britain, tantamount to Treason, not to mention that if he did do this and the plan had been carried out it could have resulted in deaths of hundreds if not thousands of British people. Worse than treason.

      I wouldn't have blamed Elys parents for not letting her read his books...

      Delete

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