Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Gods and Monsters by V.R. Christensen

""Will he come tonight, do you think?" Laynie asked of her sister's reflection in the mirror. Beth's gaze shifted to meet hers momentarily before returning to her own. "Who?" she asked, though Laynie knew she understood her." Opening sentences

Synopsis:  As a widower, Nathanial Durham has the monumental responsibility of finding suitable husbands for his two daughters. Flirtatious and changeable Bethany might have nearly anyone, but she seems determined to toss her suitors away almost the moment they arrive. Laynie, on the other hand, far behind her sister in looks and charm, is of especial concern to her father. And so, when Harold Vaughn returns home to inherit, it seems the problem, at least for one of his daughters, is solved. Only which daughter will it be? Even his girls cannot quite decide, and so, to cool the rivalry, the sisters are sent to an aunt’s, where they are thrown into the path of other young and eligible gentlemen—and a new rivalry begins.

Meanwhile, Mr. Durham, lonely for intelligent companionship, hires a gentleman to read to him several nights a week, but Mr. Holbrook is off limits to his coquettish girls. With varying degrees of reluctance, they honor the agreement. At least Beth does for herself, but if its possible Mr. Holbrook might provide a distraction for her sister while she decides which gentleman she prefers for herself, well...what harm can there be? Some, it seems. When Laynie, accident prone and determined to get herself into any fix that comes her way, falls from a horse, it sets in motion a series of events that expose Mr. Holbrook as a man of questionable integrity. Is it possible Mr. Durham’s hired companion is capable of the wrongs laid at his door? Is it possible Laynie has been mistaken in esteeming him as a man of character? Is it possible to know anyone truly? 

Between the manufactured innocence of a young woman and the championed exploits of every man, what happens when the two opposing doctrines collide?

Review by Mirella Patzer 
History and Women

V.R. Christensen writes masterful novels and/or family sagas set during the height of the Victorian and Edwardian periods. Gods and Monsters is her third stand alone novel that follows the success of her first two books - Of Moths and Butterfiles and Cry of the Peacock. I have read all three books and am a big fan of this author. I especially am drawn to the stunning covers.

What I love about all her novels, and Gods and Monsters is no exception, is that the characters keep me always guessing. They are never truly what they appear to be and are constantly evolving throughout the story. It keeps me on edge, always guessing as to whether I trust or like them or not. Full of surprises, they are very well developed and as real as life.

What makes this novel stand apart is there are two marriageble heiresses and three possible suitors. Interest and flirting and envy and scheming begin between the sexes and I was kept on my toes as to who would end up with who. Hidden motives, secrets, and little intrigues really kept me flipping the pages.

The author is a detailed, meticulous writer, always giving the reader full details of scenery, inner thoughts, and plot. Her prose has a lovely, flowing pace that allowed me to fall into the story and shut out the world as I enjoyed it. A wonderful novel with plenty to keep me interested from start to finish. I recommend these books to everyone. They can be read in any order and are sure to please. And you'll get your money's worth too - they are nice thick volumes with plenty of pages to hold your interest.

Thank you to the author and publisher. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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