Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Folly at Falconbridge Hall by Maggi Andersen


Vanessa Ashley felt herself qualified for a position as governess, until offered the position at Falconbridge Hall. Left penniless after the deaths of her artist father and suffragette mother, Vanessa Ashley draws on her knowledge of art, politics and history to gain employment as a governess. 

She discovers that Julian, Lord Falconbridge, requires a governess for his ten-year-old daughter Blyth at Falconbridge Hall, a huge rambling mansion in the countryside outside London. Lord Falconbridge is a scientist and dedicated lepidopterist who is about to embark on an extended expedition to the Amazon in search of exotic butterflies. An enigmatic man, he takes a keen interest in his daughter's education, but Vanessa feels that he may disapprove of her modern methods. As she prepares her young charge to enter into the modern world, Vanessa finds the girl detached and aloof. 

As Vanessa learns more about Falconbridge Hall, more questions arise. Why doesn't Blythe feel safe in her own home? Why is the death of her mother, once famed society beauty Clara, never spoken of? And why did the former governess leave so suddenly without giving notice?


Set in late Victorian times, Vanessa Ashley is the niece of Lord Gresham, but a family rift leaves her almost destitute on the death of her parents from influenza.

Vanessa takes a post as governess to ten-year-old Blythe at Lord Falconbridge’s home on the outskirts of London.  Her new employer’s wife died in a carriage accident in Paris and as an Amazon explorer who takes frequent trips to South America, he needs someone who will be a permanent force in his daughter’s life.

Vanessa soon discover that the previous governess, Miss Lillicrop left under a cloud and not only is Blythe  insecure and fearful, stories about a young woman having hanged herself in the Falconbridge woods doesn’t help an atmosphere of mystery surrounding the house.

Vanessa herself is, however, practical and not easily ruffled and she tries to ignore her attraction to her handsome if distant employer, who plans another expedition into the Amazon rain forest to search for butterflies. Vanessa soon forms a bond with young Blythe, a quiet but intelligent child who believes fairies inhabit the folly in the garden. However when Julian Falconbridge asks Vanessa to become his wife, for Blythe’s protection before he leaves, Vanessa is torn. Will she spend her life yearning for the love of a man who sees their marriage as a practical solution to his daughter’s need for a parent, or is there a chance he has feelings for her?

Ms Andersen’s story contains all the elements for a perfect Victorian romance with an intriguing sensual element which is very well written and not at all cheesy. The handsome, but distant widower who carries a secret pain about his first marriage but who would do anything for his beloved child; the mysterious country house with a secret; a disappearing woman, and an antagonist who lurks in the shadows.

A satisfying and heartwarming story to take on holiday and read in a lounger with a margarita, or one to cuddle up with in a wing chair by the fire with a mug of hot chocolate.

Anita Davison is a Historical Fiction Author whose latest release, ‘Royalist Rebel’ a biographical novel set in 17th Century England released by Claymore Press under the name Anita Seymour

  Anita Davison is a Historical Fiction Author whose latest release, ‘Royalist Rebel’ a biographical novel set in 17th Century England, is being released by Claymore Press in early 2013 under the name Anita Seymour ============================================= BLOG: FACEBOOK: GOODREADS: =============================================

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