Thursday, July 4, 2013

Maid of Oaklands Manor by Terri Nixon

Book Blurb

Winner of the historical romance category of the Piatkus Entice competition who granted her an e-book contract Little Brown Book Group

It's 1912. And a chance meeting between scullery maid Lizzy Parker and heiress Evie Creswell leads to more than an enduring friendship and a new job for Lizzy . . .It draws her into a world of privilege and intrigue and delivers her into the loving arms of a killer.

Meeting the handsome but mysterious Jack Carlisle, Lizzie begins to fall for him despite rumours he had been involved in the death of Evie's father. And as she becomes further embroiled in the dangerous life that Carlisle lives, she must decide if he can be trusted with the life of a close friend, and, ultimately, if he is worth the risk to her own. 


This novel drew me in from the first page, the story of the na├»ve Lizzy Parker who follows her mother’s footsteps and goes into service in a Cheshire country house in 1912. She only wants to please, but from the first, everything she does is in some way misinterpreted and Lizzy finds herself caught up in a family history that goes back over a century and which she cannot possibly have had any part.

Below stairs rivalries, prejudice and plain spite contrive to work against Lizzy, who finds herself painfully in love with the mysterious dark stranger who is Jack Carlisle. A family friend of her employer, he is not only older, attractive and a hero when she needs one, Jack has secrets of his own connected to the late master of Oaklands Manor and the famous diamond that started the family fortunes.

It’s hard to believe this is Ms Nixon’s debut novel, the descriptions of the running of a large household is insightful, the emotions well written without being sentimental, and Lizzy’s love for Jack poignant in its hopelessness.  Innocent Lizzy may be but she has a tough streak too and with some interesting philosophies of her own she cannot help voicing at inappropriate times.

Then when I believed Lizzy was set on a particular path, things start going horribly wrong for her and Jack is nowhere to be found, leaving her wondering if Jack Carlisle is all she thinks he is.

This is the kind of novel that makes you look forward to bedtime so you can read some more.  A long book at over three hundred pages, but  an epic true romance story and I enjoyed reading every one of them. I look forward to more from this author.

Keep a watch for Terri’s The Lynher Mill Chronicles, her trilogy of stories set on Bodmin Moor.


TWITTER: @AnitaSDavison

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