Monday, August 8, 2011

The Companion of Lady Holmeshire by Debra Brown: A Book Review

The Companion of Lady Holmeshire

By Debra Brown

ISBN: 1937085376

Publisher: World Castle Publishing

Source: Author Supplied PDF

Back Cover Summary: A baby girl was found in a basket on Squire Carrington's doorstep. She was raised and sent to work as a servant girl for The Countess of Holmeshire. The widowed and unconventional Countess chose Miss Emma Carrington as a companion and sent her off for finishing with the goal of dragging her along into genteel Victorian society. What sort of reception would she have at tea and dinners? The young Earl of Holmeshire was engaged by arrangement to a lovely London lady, but their relationship was difficult. Could they work it out? Even the tribulations and banned romances of the servants downstairs play into the story as we follow Emma from a stone fortress to a Victorian village and then into fabulous London mansions. Great surprises unfold at a Midsummer Night's Dream Ball which helps to solve mysteries that have gradually developed. You are invited to predict the great revelation of the last few pages!

The Victorian Age was a time of immense change. New inventions and questions of social norms were arising and it set the established upper crust on edge. Change is not something welcome as it means a reconfiguring of what was. In Debra Brown’s debut novel The Companion of Lady Holmeshire we see all the turbulence of Victorian change dashed with romance and mystery.

The novel was a refreshing change from my usual fare, as I found myself whisked away into the elite society of Victorian living much in the vein of Jane Austen and yet I was also given to the crass and harsh realities of the less fortunate much in the way of Charles Dickens. For all the sweetness and subtle romance I was forced to envision the realities of the less affluent class. It was blunt and could not be ignored.

The intricate weaving of Victorian history with the plot of the story was fabulous. I found myself enthralled by the story and yet learning at the same time. It is not always an easy thing to do and Miss Brown hit it spot on.

The main character of Emma was strong and mysterious and throughout her parentage is veiled in mystery. Lord Holmeshire is the son of Lady Holmeshire and he is a bit of an eccentric, a lovable hero for the novel who is devoted to the plight of the poor.

There is a cast of many interesting characters. I have to say, as well, that this read a lot like a variation of Upstairs, Downstairs. We are given a view of both the elite and servant classes through the cast of characters. It was fascinating.

Yet, what I enjoyed most was the surprises Brown managed to throw at me. None were what I expected and I appreciate that in an author. It was not till the end that all is revealed and I have a hunch Brown took a cue from Shakespeare’s Puck in a Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Debra Brown’s debut novel was a valiant and intriguing effort. Her writing style is sophisticated and on point and her ability to weave a story is unique and of a style I have not encountered before. I really enjoyed The Companion of Lady Holmeshire and wait for Brown’s next novel with anticipation.

Final Recommendation: If you want the treat of Victorian mystery and suspense, with a spice of romance.

To learn more about author Debra Brown, please visit her website.

1 comment:

Jessica said...

Great review Kaydee! This is on my list to read, and I am so excited to get to it :D